China's Liaoning aircraft carrier (C) sailing during a drill in the South China Sea, April 18, 2018. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

When the USS Ronald Reagan and USS Nimitz carrier strike groups recently engaged in “operations” in the South China Sea, it failed to escape cynics that the US Pacific Fleet was doing its best to turn the infantile Thucydides trap theory into a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

The pro forma official spin, via Rear Admiral Jim Kirk, commander of the Nimitz, is that the ops were conducted to “reinforce our commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific, a rules-based international order, and to our allies and partners.” 

Nobody pays attention to these clichés, because the real message was delivered by a CIA operative posing as diplomat, Secretary of State Mike “We Lie, We Cheat, We Steal” Pompeo. “The PRC has no legal grounds to unilaterally impose its will on the region,” he proclaimed, in a reference to the nine-dash line that lays claim to most of the disputed sea.