For 13 days in 1962, the whole world held its breath while the US physically confronted and prevented the Soviet Union from installing nuclear missiles in Cuba.
Realizing their obvious disadvantage in an all-out nuclear shoot-out with the US, the Soviets wisely backed-off.
While the event had a happy ending, its repercussions are still being debated to this day. Did it cause the subsequent assassination of JFK at Dallas in 1963? Did it also cause the ouster of Nikita Kruschev in 1964?
Today, China is slowly pushing the US to the same corner in 1962. She refuses to stop her military occupation of the Spratlys. And just like Cuba, it would be unthinkable for the US to give up control of the Spratlys to another major power.
So Obama's end game for this crisis is already quite obvious. Eventually, he will have to impose a naval blockade on the Spratlys. And simultaneously, he will have to put the entire US Military on red alert - just in case China decides to up the ante.
China will initially whine and cry foul. But the Chinese have always been known as a practical people. Clearly, their current capabilities vis-a-vis nuclear war against the US are even worse than the Soviets' in 1962. So cooler heads will ultimately prevail in Beijing. And China's Spratlys (mis)adventure, just like the Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba, will be relegated to the dustbin of history.
Will a Chinese debacle in the Spratlys lead to the ouster of Xi Jinping?
Will it lead to the overthrow of the Communist Party?
Will it lead to the independence of Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Tibet, Manchuria, Xinjiang and Outer Mongolia?