Successful Signaling at Scarborough Shoal?

Critics are lining up to condemn the Obama administration’s apparent delay of a third freedom of navigation operation (FONOP) in the South China Sea as yet another sign of weakness, but there is larger strategic game underway that may explain the administration’s decision. Other simultaneous U.S. actions may have deterred China from occupying and reclaiming land at Scarborough Shoal, a disputed atoll only 140 miles from Manila. If this hypothesis is correct, the administration deserves praise, not blame, for taking effective, measured steps to deter a potentially destabilizing Chinese escalation. Before explaining this hypothesis in detail, it is necessary to … Continue reading Successful Signaling at Scarborough Shoal?