The Dispute About the South China Sea Is Also a Dispute About History and America’s Role

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A lookout watches on the bridge of the U.S.S. John C. Stennis aircraft carrier in the South China Sea on April 25, 2016
After patrolling Asia-Pacific waters for 160 years, the U.S. feels a historic interest in the region’s security. Beijing couldn’t see things more differently

The U.S.S. John C. Stennis, a Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, plowed through the azure waters of the South China Sea in late April, as implacable as one of the world’s largest warships ought to be. Escorting the supercarrier, which was carrying more than 3,000 military personnel on a route some 125 nautical miles east of Malaysia, were a trio of guided-missile destroyers and an Aegis cruiser. Overhead, F-18 strike fighters, Seahawk helicopters and Hawkeye early-warning radar aircraft swooped through the sky. “We’re committed to security at sea,” said Rear Admiral Marcus Hitchcock, who commands the Stennis Strike Group. “We are very invested in the economic development and building of commerce in the region.”

The Dispute About the South China Sea Is Also a Dispute About History and America’s Role

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