U.S. allies and partners have a problem in the East and South China Seas. On one hand, the post–Cold War, rules-based order yielded enormous improvements in the prosperity of Indo-Pacific nations. On the other, China has leveraged its identity as a major power to redefine norms to its own—and often exclusive—benefit. The Chinese engage in frequent provocative actions, such as seizing territory or recklessly maneuvering ships and planes to pressure foreign craft out of contentious areas. This behavior has been belligerent enough to be described by some as a maritime insurgency.
1. Department of Defense, Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China (Washington, D.C.: Office of the Secretary of Defense, 2020), V-X.
2. Michael R. Auslin, Asia’s New Geopolitics (Hoover Institution; Stanford, 2020), 140–41.
3. Auslin, Asia’s New Geopolitics, 132–33.