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America Just Got Dragged Into the Explosive South China Sea Standoff

For nearly a year now, we've been warning that the multi-country squabble in the East and South China seas was one that would easily escalate into an international incident - or even shooting war - with devastating results.

And we said that Washington needed to adopt a tougher stance as Mainland China claimed increasingly larger swaths of a region that's home to rich fishing grounds, vast energy deposits, key military bases, 50% of the world's tanker shipments and five of the Top 10 shipping ports on earth.

The Obama administration has said that its strategic "pivot" (heightened focus) toward Asia was prompted by China's growing aggressiveness here, as the Asian heavyweight lays claim to areas also claimed by Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines and others. But critics have countered by claiming that Washington's failure to respond to China's escalating acquisitiveness actually emboldened Beijing - which most recently has gone head-to-head with Japan, a key U.S. ally.

Despite the growing global importance of this area - also home to an estimated 1.5 billion people - the China Sea standoff continues to get the most minimal coverage in mainstream U.S. news media.

As of yesterday, however, America is "all-in" - whether Washington wants it that way or not.

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