By Joel Sonkin
Algemeiner - August 7, 2018
The Trump administration’s National Security Strategy, released in December 2017, identified China and Russia as America’s greatest global competitors. The document asserted that it is these two “revisionist powers” who seek to “challenge American power” and “shape a world antithetical to US values.” In its discussion of China, the strategy document zeroed in on Beijing’s ultimate goal of displacing the United States in the Indo-Pacific region and declaring East Asia its own sphere of influence. The key flashpoint for this competition has been the South China Sea, where Beijing has taken what were once small “maritime features” known as the Spratly Islands and created over 2,000 acres of land — or artificial islands — just off the coasts of the Philippines, Malaysia, and southern Vietnam.