A ship (top) of Chinese Coast Guard is seen near a ship of Vietnam Marine Guard in the South China Sea, about 210 km (130 miles) off shore of Vietnam May 14, 2014.
Nguyen Minh / Reuters

On January 30, 2016, the United States sent a navy destroyer within 12 nautical miles of one of China’s outposts in the South China Sea. Days later, satellite images revealed that China had installed surface-to-air missiles on an outpost around the same time that United States President Barack Obama met with the ten leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to discuss the South China Sea. The clash of interests between China and the United States in the South China Sea has become more direct, and the situation is only going to get worse.

For years, the United States has

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