The central question is how directly the U.S. wants to challenge China, which is clearly determined to take over the region by force of arms, threatening an accidental conflict that could escalate quickly, even catastrophically. Earlier in his presidency, Trump declared his ability to negotiate even the worst international problem. But today, fighting for its political life in an election where most polls show it is going badly, there seems to be no interest in negotiating any peace agreement with China in the region or guaranteed free passage of ships of all nationalities through and within the South China Sea. A concept that the heir has nothing more to prove may be ready to explore.
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