Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Joyce Gibson, PhD


Strategic impact, Offensive threat, Defensive threat, Global security, Militarization, International waters, Current events, China, Leadership and Organizational Studies


This is an integrative literature review of various perspectives of different authors of previous scholarly articles discussing the impact of China’s artificial Islands in the South China Sea and how it affects U.S. China relations in the region. This research covers a range of parameters surrounding how the artificial islands were made and how they affect the overall security of naval operations and will also discuss international waterway rights within the South China Sea, one of the World’s biggest trading routes. A review of current events in the region is discussed highlighting the potential powder keg that could explode and how it can provide a starting point to summarize and identify the seriousness of the current fluid situation that is changing daily and how it potentially impacts the region. By conducting this integrative literature review the author aims to present a wholesome picture to educate the public about events that are shaping the region in the South China Sea. The results of this study will add clarity and awareness to the events in the region and how they impact the United States and China relations. The hope is that this research creates a dialogue that addresses the strategic impact these artificial islands are having on the United States and China relations in the region of the South China Sea.