South China Sea Drama

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What is China up to now? Why risk armed conflict with America by militarizing the South China Sea?
It seems surprisingly counter-productive.
For decades the Chinese have stealthily bought up the globe. They have acquired  significant real estate assets in the US and Canada – even attempting to purchase entire communities.
They have economically colonized extensive territories in Asia, Africa and Latin America They even invaded the Jamaican tourist industry.
China’s strategy seems designed to consolidate a massive economic power base as a prelude to subtly exporting its political ideology.
You would  think the last thing they want is war. Why would they want to blow up the world when they own so much of it?