"The typhoon, described as the most devastating natural calamity to hit the Philippines in recent history, is emerging as a showcase for the soft-power contest in Asia. The geopolitical tensions have been stoked by China's territorial claims in the South China Sea, and heightened by American efforts to reassert its influence in the region."
The American aircraft carrier George Washington has arrived, its 5,000 sailors and 80 aircraft already busy ferrying relief supplies to storm-battered survivors, and the United States has committed an initial $20 million in humanitarian assistance. Japan is dispatching a naval force of 1,000 troops, in what officials say is that country's largest ever disaster-relief deployment. Also on the way: the Illustrious, a British aircraft carrier stocked with transport planes, medical experts and $32 million worth of aid.
The outpouring of foreign assistance for the hundreds of thousands left homeless and hungry by Typhoon Haiyan is shaping up to be a monumental show of international largess — and a not-so-subtle dose of one-upmanship directed at the region's fastest-rising power, China.