Tensions in the South China Sea have accelerated in recent months, as China makes assertive moves to protect its claims in the area. Kenneth Lieberthal, director of the John L. Thornton China Center, explains that the Asian nations in the region have strong interests in the possible sub-sea energy wealth and navigation and fishing rights above. Given China’s actions and those of other claimants in the area, the U.S. must chart a careful diplomatic path to help assure a peaceful resolution of the issues and to protect America’s own strong interest in freedom of navigation.
On the one hand, it's a drop in the ocean, because it won't change what's happening on the ground. On the other hand, it would represent a shift to a more realistic approach toward what's happening in Venezuela. By sanctioning the vice president, the U.S. government is acknowledging that the Venezuelan government has drug dealers at the highest ranks of government.