The Defence News website reports that “The U.S. Navy has dispatched a small armada to the South China Sea.”
I have complained, in the past, that China is getting a “free ride,” at the expense of e.g. The Philippines and Vietnam, in the South China Seas. I have, also, suggested that Canada should, inter alia, join the US Navy in conducting freedom of navigation exercises, despite the very real risk of offending China.
My assessment remains that China does not want a fight. It is out there making mischief but, unlike Russia and the various Muslim extremist groups, it is not willing to risk battle.
The Stennis battle group may be enough to deter China, but I rather doubt it. My guess is that the Chinese guess is that the US doesn’t want a fight either so they will “play bumper cars,” potentially even risking the occasional minor clash, and the Chinese will, in fact, up their ante, too, and install more sophisticated, anti-stealth radars and add another airfield or two. The prize is control of a vital sea lane and, therefore, the power that comes with being the dominant power in a region. The Chinese have the advantages of geographic proximity and a head start. The US has the advantage in absolute power.
Canada should be there to remind our friends in the region and the Chinese (and the Americans and Australians, too, for that matter) that we are a Pacific nation with interests in the region.