South China Sea: Make the Chinese Guess

Walter Lohman /

The U.S. has long held that the U.S.–Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty does not extend to Philippine claims in the South China Sea. There may have been a time when that position was prudent. After all, what interest could the U.S. have had getting involved in a spat among six relatively weak claimants?

That time has past. Chinese “fishing patrol boats” and its rapid military modernization have chased it away.

There is now one claimant stronger than the others, growing stronger by the day, and feeling it. We need to introduce some uncertainty into Chinese calculations. (more…)