mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
China Pushes Back

President Obama’s strategic “pivot” towards Asia and the Pacific Rim has led to perhaps the greatest foreign policy success of his administration to date. Over the course of one week, Obama solidified relationships with nations around China’s periphery while China, outmaneuvered, was forced to turn the other cheek. Since November China has remained generally courteous in the face of American criticism, despite continued jockeying for power in the Pacific. Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping’s recent trip to America has followed this mold. At a recent lunch with Vice President Biden, the American VP loudly aired his differences with China; Xi simply stood and smiled.

Behind the smiles, however, China has been fighting back, though few have noticed. World Bank appointments may not command much attention, but China is now pushing back against the tradition that the presidency should be reserved for an American. More consequentially, China has been frustrating American goals in the Middle East, defying Western sanctions by inking an oil deal with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, while lending support to Syria’s embattled Assad regime at the UN and sending an envoy to Damascus.

Obama’s diplomatic coup last November was a bold first move toward reshaping U.S.-China relations, but it will not be the last. China has had some time to digest America’s actions and is slowly beginning to respond. The Great Game continues.

Features Icon
show comments
  • Silverfiddle

    The great difference here is that we are partnering with forward-looking, freedom-loving people, and China is throwing in with tyrants and rotten regimes. We are still winning.

    But, if we are pushed to the wall, I heartily recommend ceding Afghanistan to them…

  • Anthony

    “Behind the smiles, however, China has been fighting back.” Pretty much sums it up…as The Great Game continues and both China and U.S experience scheduled governance rearrangements in fall (October/November).

  • Mrs. Davis

    China is not so much fighting back as preparing for the future. They play the long game. And the game is for the World Bank and IMF. The United States will be a supplicant to them in due course and China wants to be in control when that happens.

  • Some Sock Puppet

    At least the daggers are finally coming out. I’m tired of the nationalists claiming victimization. Now we see evidence of their stunning amount of BS all along.

  • Eric

    The problem actually is all the countries to the south and east of China, except PRK, are worried about China and the PLA. They don’t like what has been going on in the Paracels and Spratlys. Or the recent sabre-rattling over Assam, Ryukyu and Taiwan. And the widespread blatant IT espionage. Even Burma is edging away from China.

    If the Chinese are annoyed at feeling straightjacketed then they can blame themselves more than the US.

    Ambrose Evans Pritchard has a piece on Thucydides today in the UK Telegraph in which he is addressing recent German behaviour. A lesson of history. But Mr Li Keqiang might wish to read and consider it too.

  • J R Yankovic

    The Evans-Pritchard post was magnificent. The only thing it left me asking (and quite mournfully too) was: Where are our AMERICAN business editors with a like command of literature and history, and a comparable sensitivity to historical parallel? I suppose it must be a rare gift to be like us Yanks: So fiercely practical, so smartly up-to-date, so give-me-the-facts businesslike that we, of all chosen peoples, can safely dispense with culture, with continuity, even with memory. (As an old girlfriend of mine used to scoff [she’s since wised up considerably, BTW] “I don’t need to know that s***!”)

    Now as always I’m open to correction, but I can’t remember in my lifetime a political class more proudly philistine than our main gallery of leaders of the past two decades. Gingrich and Clinton MAY be the exceptions that prove the rule. Meanwhile, simpleton that I am, I keep waiting for one of our distinguished ex-presidents or senators to write a world-class biography of Hamilton, Madison, Franklin, etc. Ah, but what am I thinking? We’re AMERICANS, by god! – and so much too BUSY for that sort of effete, impractical nonsense.

    Not that I’m anyone to talk (am I ever?). My classical background is weak to nonexistent. But it seems to me, too, that old Thucydides’ warnings about the wages of arrogance are at least as applicable to the Anti-People’s Republic (APR) as to les Boches.

  • Gary L

    6.J R Yankovic is like: Meanwhile, simpleton that I am, I keep waiting for one of our distinguished ex-presidents or senators to write a world-class biography of Hamilton, Madison, Franklin, etc.

    Now, you have to have admit, they are all totally dedicated to providing full employment for America’s ghost writers.

  • J R Yankovic

    @ #7: Thank God at least THEY’RE improving our employment numbers.

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