If You're Thinking About a Looming Naval-Warfare Showdown in the South China Sea ...

U.S. commander of the Pacific Fleet, Adm. Scott Swift, discussing freedom of navigation earlier this month, in Australia. (David Gray / Reuters)


… here are a few things to read:

1) “China Announces the U.S.’s Spratly Patrols to the Masses,” by Andrew Chubb in SouthSeaConversations. This is an informative view on the domestic-Chinese politics of this episode of standing up to the bullying American forces. Sample:

The high-handed [Chinese] demand that the American side “correct its mistakes” leaves the CCP [Chinese govt] well positioned to claim that its stern response forced an aggressive hegemon to back down.

At least one US official has described the patrols are “routine“, suggesting there will be more to come. Even if the US patrols happen, say, once a month from now on, it will be up to the CCP to decide how often Chinese mass audiences hear about this. Having established a high level of domestic publicity on this occasion, the CCP might well be able to (implicitly or explicitly) encourage the perception that it forced the US to back down, simply by not affording the publicity to future FoN [Freedom of Navigation] patrols.