The United States is moving to reassure its Asian allies that America will stand against any Chinese aggressions in South East Asia. This move comes as President Barack Obama visits South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Japan. These latter three countries are all engaged in territorial disputes with China.

China United States

Russia’s seizure of the Crimea has unsettled nerves across the world. That Russia could so openly and blatantly invade a sovereign nation and seize a major piece of its territory forces one to wonder if other countries could pull off a similar move given the lack of a world response. Many countries across Asia have already been feeling pressure from Chinese expansion and military power.

More military assets being brought to the table

The United States will apparently expand its portfolio of military options and has promised a stronger show of force, should China provoke anything. The range of potential actions include displays of B-2 bombers near China and sending aircraft carriers to conduct exercises near China’s coastal waters. China has long been sensitive to American shows-of-force in the region.

The military regularly plans various courses of events in the face of provocation and now is apparently in the process of beefing these plans up. Besides China, the United States must now worry about an increasingly belligerent North Korea.

America’s rather tepid moves to contain Russian aggression, however, already have many analysts wondering if the United States would actually back its strong words up with strong actions. Asian allies have been expressing concerns that China could be emboldened by Russia’s actions.

Will strong words result in strong actions?

Given how quickly the world rolled over in the face of Russian aggression, it’s fair to wonder if the United States really has the stomach or resources for a major confrontation. While the United States has been working hard to reassure its Asian allies, these actions might mean little should China decide to seize the South China Seas and other assets around Asia.

Even if China moved to seize the South China Seas, it is unlikely that the United States would engage in a direct conflict over them. The South China Seas are relatively unimportant, at least for the United States, though the potential rich resources there make them important to other Asian countries.

The United States and China are also locked in a complex trade network with one another. With the American economy already on weak footing, policy makers would be unlikely to risk damaging the economy in a confrontation with China.