Pertaining to the South China Sea dispute, what does the US want? Obviously, claiming any part of it is out of the question, and we clearly want something out of it, so what is that? Links to articles would be greatly appreciated.
The main goal of the U.S. is to keep the South China Sea's status as international waters not subject to the exclusive sovereign jurisdiction of China in force. The New York Times explained that the U.S. cares about this because it permits the U.S. and its allies to travel freely in this area and prevents a potentially expansionist and threatening China from expanding its territory.
As the BBC notes, other countries, some of which are U.S. allies relative to China, also have claims to portions of these areas mostly for natural resources exploitation reasons.