Can the U.S. Coast Guard Take on the South China Sea?
“Earlier this week, David Barno and Nora Bensahel laid out the ways the United States can step up its efforts to counter assertive Chinese actions in the South China Sea. We agree with their assessment that China is in large part responsible for an escalation of tensions in the region and that the actions the U.S. government has taken in response have thus far had little effect. And we believe that a number of their policy proposals — such as a focus on U.S. military ties with the Philippines and Vietnam, which we are already seeing — would be helpful in countering China’s aggressive actions in the South China Sea. However, their argument that the U.S. Coast Guard should have a more visible presence in the region highlights a misunderstanding of coast guard roles, overestimates U.S. Coast Guard capacity, and risks increasing the chance of conflict with China in the South China Sea.”