“If an arms race is an attempt to equal or surpass one’s competitor, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam are not playing catch-up with China, nor with one another. These three major Southeast Asian claimants in the South China Sea have little intention of achieving military parity or superiority. Instead, their long-term ambition is what can be called “minimal deterrence.” They want to build just enough capability to make potential aggressors think twice before attacking them. And this goal of minimal deterrence is clearly a long-term objective, as all three countries have a long way to go before they achieve it.”