FONOPs [Freedom of Navigation Operations] have grown “more regular and strident” under the Trump administration, says Alessio Patalano of King’s College London. America’s European and regional allies are not quite as confrontational. They tend to keep a greater distance from China’s bristling baselets.
— The Economist pub 6 October 2018 (link not available)
I came across the phrase "bristling baselets" in the sentence "They tend to keep a greater distance from someone's bristling baselets", but cannot find the meaning in any dictionary. Can anyone give its definition or source? Thanks!