Why a forceful U.S. response to China’s artificial island-building would likely fail


Peace and Freedom

By William Johnson
Reuters
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An aerial photo taken though a glass window of a Philippine military plane shows the alleged on-going land reclamation by China on mischief reef in the Spratly Islands
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An aerial photo taken though a glass window of a Philippine military plane shows the alleged on-going land reclamation by China on mischief reef in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, west of Palawan, Philippines, May 11, 2015. REUTERS/Ritchie B. Tongo/Pool

China’s creation of artificial islands on disputed South China Sea reefs — the actual dredging and pumping of sand, ongoing since 2014 — represents Beijing’s latest attempt to extend its territory and exert pressure over the five other countries that claim parts of the Sea. In response to the island-building, members of the U.S. defense community have in recent weeks called for the United States to get tough on China.

Earlier this month, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter asked for options for sending U.S. aircraft and ships within 12 nautical miles of the construction. In a May 13 testimony before Congress…

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