Pat Buchanan explains to readers that Hanoi’s and Manila’s quarrels with China are not America’s quarrels:
What vital interest of ours is imperiled by who owns, or occupies, or militarizes Scarborough Shoal? If U.S. rights of passage in the South China Sea are not impeded by Chinese planes or ships, why make Hanoi’s quarrels and Manila’s quarrels with China our quarrels?
Vietnam and the Philippines are inviting us back to our old Cold War bases for a simple reason. If the Chinese use force to back up their claims, Hanoi and Manila want us to fight China for them.
Have we not enough war guarantees outstanding?
Should Beijing insanely decide to disrupt commercial traffic in that sea, the response is not to send a U.S. carrier strike group to blast their artificial islands off the map.
Better that we impose a 10 percent tariff on Chinese-made goods, and threaten an embargo of all Chinese goods if they do not stand down.