The Philippines and China were at loggerheads last week when a Philippine warship confronted two Chinese fishing boats near the disputed Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea. China dispatched two vessels to block the Filipino officers from boarding the fishing boats. Both countries later tried to diffuse the situation by rescinding formal diplomatic protests, but the ships are still out there in the middle of the ocean, staring each other down.Now the Philippines is likely to provoke further anger in China by going ahead with joint war games exercises with the U.S. Navy. For the next ten days, a combined American-Filipino force of 6,000 troops will conduct mock beach invasions, live-fire exercises, and “community service operations” on Filipino territory. Some of the beach invasions will be undertaken along coastlines facing China. Filipino officials quickly dismissed suggestions that these actions were intended to antagonize China, saying the exercises were planned long ago. Nevertheless, the chief of staff of the Philippine armed forces said regional disputes and security issues in the South China Sea would be dealt with by strengthening military ties with the United States.Just as Via Meadia has argued in the past, China is finding that antagonizing its neighbors drives them deeper into Washington’s embrace.