Earlier this week, the US sent a guided missile destroyer on a “let’s see if we can get shot” mission in the South Pacific. The idea, as regular readers are no doubt aware, was to use “freedom of navigation” as an excuse to sail within 12 nautical miles of China’s man-made islands in the Spratlys.
Those islands represent the construction of some 3,000 acres of new sovereign territory on which Beijing has built everything from airstrips to cement factories to lighthouses. Washington’s regional allies all but swear that the PLA is planning an imminent invasion and Beijing swears the islands are a largely innocent construction project. These competing accounts underscore the extent to which no one is telling the whole truth.
Caught in the middle, Big Brother decided it was time to show the world that despite being kicked out of the Mid-East and being bullied by Beijing, no one really wants to go to war with Washington and so, America’s Nobel Peace Prize winning President sent a warship to Subi Reef.
And then, nothing happened.