World cannot ignore Chinese aggression in South China Sea



Admiral James Stavridis was 16th Supreme Allied Commander of NATO and 12th Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He spent the bulk of his operational career in the Pacific, including multiple command assignments.

For the past two decades, China’s strategy in the South China Sea has been reminiscent of ancient general and strategist Sun Tzu, who said: “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” In this turbulent time, that patience is beginning to change as China, emboldened by the U.S.’s abdication of leadership and by a distracted world, gains in aggression.

Most recently, China has been using its naval forces to pressure the littoral nations, especially Vietnam and the Philippines. A month ago, China sank a Vietnamese fishing vessel, a maneuver that was roundly condemned by the international community.

China is increasing its push against U.S. warships, using aggressive signaling; dangerously close maneuvering; illuminating U.S. ships with fire-control radar, which suggests the imminent launch of weapons; and overflying at very close range.