Since 1947, China has asserted control over ninety percent of the South China Sea. One-third of all world trade passes through there. The Philippine government challenged China’s claims in the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague. In a major rebuke to China, the Court ruled in favor of the Philippines on all points. China now faces a difficult choice. Continuing their current policies will ratchet up tensions in the region and with the United States. Back down and the government risks losing face at home. You don’t have to read the tea leaves to see there’s big trouble brewing.