China Makes Its Latest Power Play in the East China Sea

Our weak, vacillating policy in the South China Sea has been more than matched by our reluctance to do more to support Japan in the East China Sea beyond vague verbal assurances. China knows it can get away with geopolitical grand larceny as long as Obama remains in the White House and John Kerry in Foggy Bottom. That’s one reason why its actions in both seas have been so blatant. Whoever occupies the Oval Office come next January is bound to be less accommodating, and more assertive of U.S. interests, than its current occupant. So China is looking to grab while the grabbing is good, with one eye on the calendar and the other on a U.S.–Japan alliance they hope gets steadily frayed as a result of our relative inaction in the face of China’s outrages.

The Japanese are learning the hard way: When Obama says he has your back, watch out.

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