Thucydides Saw It Coming . . .
The South China Sea may end up being a battle between the submarines and the "slum encampments on stilts," between China and the rest-- and American Cold War dominance, relatively simplistic national game theory, will "likely have to pass . . . a more anxious complicated world awaits us" a world where, according to Thucydides, the real cause of the Peloponnesian War was the build-up of Athenian sea power, which made Sparta very nervous . . . so read Robert Kaplan and try to sort out Asia's Cauldron: The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific . . . you're going to have to understand the Law of the Sea and how it applies to land masses and the nine-dashed line, and how we should react to the nine-dashed line and the domestic politics that the countries affected by the nine-dashed line (Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, The Philippines, China, etc) and how they will react to our reactions and so on . . . the book may make you throw your liberal ideals out the window and start thinking in Realpolitik terms like Kissinger and it will certainly make you aware of the complexity that is modern southeast Asia (plus it has a few good maps at the start of the book, which I needed to look at constantly . . . there's a lot of countries and islands packed into a small area!)