mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
The Asian Surge Continues

Bases in Australia, opening to Myanmar, uranium deals between Australia and India: the hurricane of China-balancing activity in Asia last week was one of the rare sets of events that can truly be called historic.

And now, as it turns out, it isn’t over.  Not only did all but two of the Asian nations present at the latest summit join the US in calling on China to negotiate its South China Sea claims in a multilateral forum, but Singapore is apparently about to agree to host the US Navy as well.

Rarely has diplomacy moved so fast and so far.  The world will now wait for China’s response.

Features Icon
show comments
  • Jim.

    Wow… so someone up there really *does* know how to play this game.

    (Just don’t neglect the shoreward defenses, even if you think it would be “bad for morale”.)

    A few questions, though — would any of this be sustainable if we had to make significant cuts to our defense budget?

    Further, the Chinese are going to be building up their blue-water fleet in the next while… are we going to be willing to build up right along with them, to prevent a repeat of the Repulse / Prince of Wales debacle?

    Bottom line — we need to shore up our national finances so that the Chinese can’t simply outmaneuver us by waiting for us to drive ourselves into bankruptcy.

    All of these moves are useless unless we can reform and reduce our Entitlement spending by hundreds of billions of dollars per year, so that we can afford to spend on effective strategies like this.

  • J R Yankovic

    I can only – and sincerely – HOPE such maneuvers will dispose the mainland Chinese to see reason, rather than their usual opportunities for outrage and wounded pride. And I suppose it can’t hurt to show them we don’t mean to be pushed around. And that we’ve ceased to be mesmerized by their rather sordid – and frankly often dubious, if not disgusting – economic glories. But for all my verbal bluster I’m basically pretty chickens*** when it comes to confronting the Anti-people’s Republic. And mostly because, to be honest, I don’t believe any of us has more than a clue concerning what the Chinese elite are actually capable of.

    Firmness and “brinksmanship” worked with the Soviets, of course, but that was largely because they were largely Russian. And Russians, so far as I can tell, have tended to suffer from a malady exactly the opposite of what presently afflicts the post-Red Chinese: namely, an INFeriority complex. Even at their most defiant and provocative they’ve always felt the need to PROVE to the West their equal or greater worth. OTOH, as I read them, the present Chinese elite pretty much hold the truth of their superiority to be self-evident (who said America was the only propositional nation?), and feel no need to prove their worth to anybody. Indeed I should be surprised if in their eyes we weren’t all just so many different degrees and levels of Tibet. Albeit in many cases more richly worth exploiting.

    As I see it, when you’re not sure of the truth of your proposition, when you’re hopefully awaiting its confirmation by subsequent events and developments – as were the Soviets, however ashamedly and unavowedly – you more easily back down, you more readily lose heart and hope. But when you’re convinced of who you are and what you DESERVE, when you’re sure of how much better you are than everybody else, and of how much the bastards ought to be grateful to have you dictating to them (and LIKE it too, by God), you don’t take any too kindly to lines being drawn in the sand. And that regardless of how necessary those lines may be to those on the other side of them (as I DO think they are in this instance).

    Neither does it much help either our case or our prospects, it seems to me, that not so very long ago – in fact, at the very height of our national self-infatuation (c. 2000?) – many of us were also celebrating Beijing as the very model, acme and litmus test of competitiveness. Feting those high-tech, high-efficiency slavers – as Kissinger continues to do – who EVEN NOW make Taiwan, South Korea and Singapore look like Scandinavian social democrats. Then again, who are even we know-how Yanks to question that birthplace of civilization, the Middle Kingdom? Esp. regarding those measures it deems most SADLY necessary to its continued growth and progress? I mean, in any age, efficiency means nothing if not the ruthless preparedness to DO WHAT’S NECESSARY in order to compete, right? So who could have predicted our present Age’s resurgence of human trafficking? (And here Steven Pinker had me all but convinced that human violence and coercion were on the historical downswing. Or are they merely becoming “smarter” and more subtle?)

    Anyhow, I get the feeling we Americans may need to take a long hard look at ourselves (not to mention the part we played in creating this monster) if we don’t want to come across as rank hypocrites. Our task is somehow – by example? – to persuade the post-Maoists that it’s in their rational self-interest to see themselves as one nation among many, and NOT as a civilizational empire limitless in extent and ambition. And you know, the more I think of “by example,” the more it makes sense. If anyone can convince them of the foolishness of the latter way, it ought to be us Yanks. We ought to know. We’ve been there.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service