The ongoing South China Sea dispute demands swift U.S. action to avoid becoming a 21st century Munich ("ASEAN seeks China talks on sea dispute," Web, Sunday).
Despite its contiguity to the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia, and with a fifth of the world's shipping lanes, China demands virtually the entirety of the sea as redress for its own tragic 19th and 20th century experiences.
In addition to threatening and harassing its smaller neighbors, most notably the Philippines, China significantly upped the ante over the summer by unilaterally planting its flag in the Paracel Islands. Coupled with its unprecedented and unnecessary military buildup, China's warlike aggression is undeniable.
If China is not checked, we will wake up one day with a communist dictatorship in control of the world's vital shipping lanes and our economy hostage to its whims. The United States must immediately renounce China's claims over the Paracels and station a larger part of its Navy throughout the sea in support of allied nations and in defiance of China's actions. Having made a large down payment in blood and treasure to further peace and freedom in Asia over the past 70 years, the United States has not only the absolute right to do this, but the obligation as well. Failure to do so will only encourage a dictatorship, something history warns against.
West Jefferson, Ohio
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