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The Boston Globe

Opinion

JAMES CARROLL

A crisis of crises

Something weird happened recently when headlines swapped one grave crisis for another. No sooner did the nuclear threat from Iran recede, thanks to a breakthrough interim nuclear agreement, than American B-52 bombers were flying into restricted air space newly claimed by China.

Japan was angry at Chinese overreach in a long-simmering dispute over islands in the East China Sea, and the Chinese denounced what they called “Tokyo’s provocations.” Suddenly, America’s treaty obligations to defend Japan were in play again. In Tokyo, Vice President Joe Biden said that China’s assertion of control over a new flying zone “raised regional tensions and increased the risk of accidents and miscalculation.” A day later, in Beijing, after meeting with Biden, Chinese President Xi Jinping said, “The world as a whole is not tranquil.” No kidding.

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