To curb Beijing's expansionist impulses, the U.S. and its Pacific allies will need to raise the economic costs to China.
China, along with five other nations, have overlapping claims to the South China Sea, where $5 trillion of trade passes every year.
Ultimately, it may take a crisis for the U.S.-China relationship to reach a stable equilibrium. But in the current context, I believe the doom-laden scenario of a U.S.-China naval clash in the South China Sea to be remote. The greater risk is that China will use U.S. FoN operations to justify an overtly military phase to the island construction project.
The move would signal it does not recognize Chinese territorial claims over the area.