In late October, the USS Lassen sailed within 12 nautical miles of Subi (Zhubi) Reef, a man-made feature in the Spratly archipelago, apparently challenging China's sovereignty claims over this area of the hotly contested South China Sea. The operation was not authorized by Beijing.
"We will resolutely respond to deliberate provocation from any country," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said during a press briefing on Tuesday, referring to the October 26 incident.
Despite warnings from China, the United States is intent on carrying out similar operations in the future.
The Chinese want to "defend themselves against this mad threat of war being carried out by Obama on a global scale," Billington noted. "This provocation in Asia has to be recognized as grounds for impeachment of this president," he claimed.
The analyst maintains that the USS Lassen's patrol mission is part of Washington's growing belligerence.
"There is a growing sense not only in the United States, but worldwide, that the United State has gone over the brink, is threatening world peace in the very near term," he observed.