Picture this: Somewhere in the South China Sea, which China claims as its own, a Chinese warship confronts a Philippine warship or, maybe it’s vice versa, and shots are exchanged. It doesn’t matter which warship fired first. The fight is on and the Philippines’ warship is soon joined by American warships that come to the aid of their treaty ally. China marshals its resources, calling more of its warships to join the fight.
China’s military, which has clandestine facilities in Cambodia, ostensibly for the “repair and maintenance of its warships and jet fighters,” is ready to perform its support functions. The Chinese have prepared for this eventuality, but so too have the Americans. Rather than bomb mainland China, which could escalate the territorial dispute into a world war, America bombs China’s military facilities in Cambodia and, while at the task, bombs Cambodia’s military facilities as well. After all, Cambodia is not merely China’s friend, it’s China’s military ally.