If you haven't been following the news about the United States' and China's quickly devolving relationship, here's a primer: China has been militarizing small islands in the South China Sea and claiming sovereignty over those waters. The United States, however, has disputed those claims and is actively trying to disrupt the Chinese by sailing through the waters, calling out the Chinese in public discourse, and doing all it can to interrupt the rise of this global superpower.

It's probably not going to be enough.

Recently, President Obama visited Vietnam and lifted a decades-old "lethal arms embargo" that had prohibited the sale of weapons to the Communist country. China, of course, was furious.

They accused the United States of lighting a "regional tinderbox," and said that the United States needs to keep out of the South China Sea business altogether.

That's because Vietnam contests China's hold over many of the small islands it has turned into military bases. By lifting the arms embargo on Vietnam, China is afraid that the United States will let the Vietnamese have some power over those small islands that it has seized.

Chinese newspapers called Obama's actions a move that would increase "strategic antagonism between Washington and Beijing."

That antagonism, though, is purely reactionary. You see, the United States is trying to make sure that China doesn't gain control of an international waterway that it sees as part of its country--because the South China Sea isn't Chinese, it's international.

The tiny islands are owned by dozens of countries, but China has taken to expanding the islands and installing radar and missile defenses on these small islands, cordoning off the area. If this is allowed to continue, who knows what other land the Chinese will claim as theirs?

Obama was right to lift the arms ban in Vietnam, if only because it gives the Vietnamese a little more bargaining power against the big bully in the region, China. Let's hope things don't destabilize, though, because a war with China would be a nasty thing.

h/t: MSN



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