A Call to Arms

Adnan Abidi / Reuters

Fighters aboard the U.S.S. Kitty Hawk during last week’s four-nation naval exercises in the Bay of Bengal

In late August, after visiting Chinese military facilities, U.S. Admiral Michael Mullen sounded an almost buoyant note about Washington's relations with Beijing. "What I have seen is actions, not just words," Mullen said, praising China's openness. "I consider that to be very positive." But that public warmth seemed to last about as long as a Lindsay Lohan rehab stint. Just days later, India, Australia, Japan and the U.S. held a comprehensive naval exercise, the first appearance of the Seventh Fleet in the Bay of Bengal since 1971, while Shinzo Abe, then Japanese Prime Minister, called for an "arc of...

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