Your first sentence shows that you likely don't even have the mental capacity to debate here. Who would think that China would be intent on being number 2? Better yet, what nation would ever give up a chance to be the world's strongest? There are only ambitious nations and nations that aren't ambitious because they don't have a chance.Firstly I thought china was not trying to overtake the US or take it's place but china's actions seem to speak otherwise. China seems to be saying if we don't attack first we will be attacked. But for at least a decade china has been very aggressive in it's area and other countries will testify. Like claiming water closer to another nation than your own. That is not a defensive action. Unless china takes over the whole world there will always be "someone with a machine gun" next door. Also China isn't exactly a small lightly defended country so this idea that they are scared of japan or some small US bases compared to china seems odd. Nobody was stopping the chinese from shipping lanes or from exploiting eez territorial waters. But for some reason that was not good enough for china.
You have things backwards; America has gotten more aggressive because it fears that if it doesn't attack now, China will soon become too powerful to challenge. They are trying to find a weakness but stalling because they realize they may already be too late.
You have the sequence of events backwards. America's alliance with Asian nations was formed when China was weakest and America at its peak dominance; now that China is becoming stronger, that alliance is actually fraying like in the Philippines, which has realized that to get one's way in Asia, you buddy up with China, because the US cannot get it for you if China does not allow. Each time this happens, the "alliance" frays some more until it's dissolved. You have the relationship in inverse; the stronger China is, the less America has influence in Asia, not the other way.Why do you think it's been so easy for the US to build what's turning into an asian nato? China has made that too easy. The chinese used to be biding their time but they have been like hitler invading russia lately. This adventure is turning the world against china and outing it's true intentions, I was more intimidated by china when they were more shrewd. Now it seems they are acting desperate if anything. SCS isn't the only place this sort of thing is happening but it's the most prominent. China grew accustomed to an America and world that ignored what they were doing and now that things have changed they don't seem to be coping well. Others weren't going to be stupid forever. Now that the cat is largely out of the bag china seems to be continuing on. Seems like china can back off and try to get others guard down and continue world conquest plans in a more slow gradual stealth fashion or keep getting bellicose and get bottled up. Another way to put it is china has played cold warrior for decades and the US and to a lesser extent the west has just started recently.
The plan is simple: become the strongest nation in the world. The "alliance" falls apart and comes to China's side as each of its members realize that this is the new biggest kid on the block and it always pays to be on such a person's side.All this to say or ask what is china's plan here? Do they think they can push this coalition around essentially by itself? Maybe before this coaltion formed and some years ago this plan might have made sense but things have changed a lot the last 4 years and trends if anything have reversed. And playing with major war for what? Your analogy was an unarmed civilain surrounded by heavily armed people but 2000-2010 china was not in danger from neighbors that I could recall. It's a self fulfilling prophecy.