Is China Top Dog in The Great Game?
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  • Anthony

    WRM, H.L. Mencken said: “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins….” No more Soviet threat (cold war) so now we must dread growing China and focus attention/resources on her probable threat while perhaps diverting attention from our systemic failures. Contemporary China and U.S may be global rivals (whatever that means) but exaggerating future power politics disagreements can both divert resources and mislead an engaged citizenry.

    WRM, you are right “the health and dynamism of American society is the foundation of our economic success” (our political and economic social order). We don’t need to focus on an endless series of international hobgoblins (Iraq, North Korea, China, etc.) while still remaining able to make our “choices” if we must.

  • Jim.

    India isn’t rising very fast, and Japan is falling. The rest of the players in the region are bit players, plain and simple — like the small countries of Europe between the two World Wars. Tasty treats for a determined expansionist.

    The encirclement strategy we’re using today meant that Germany lost that war way back when, it’s true. But had they avoided closing the trap by tangling with Russia, it might well have gone the other way. China might find a way to keep that trap from being sprung, even now.

    If the Lefties have their way and boost our Butter spending while they gut our Guns budget — or even if they resist significant reductions and reforms in our Entitlement state — things will get worse.

    At that point, our only hope is that China gets old before we get weak. Bad strategy, that.

  • Walter Sobchak

    If China wants central Asia, let them have it. The US needs to drop the obsession with the Middle East as a foreign policy issue. The only possible interests we have are Saudi oil and suppressing Jihadism. As for the former, fracking is about to render it irrelevant. As for the other, we have done enough.

    We have much more important interests in our own neighborhood. If we want to do nation building we need to work on Mexico and Cuba.

  • Owen J

    A blog comment cannot even begin to address this topic. Suffice it to say, here, that for over 10 years (ending in 2002) China was my particular province and I studied in detail every facet of China that impacting Aaron Friedberg’s views. There is both more and less — considerably less — to the question than his comments indicate.

    China has been misunderstood throughout our history and I see no signs this is improving.

    I will be happy to share my professional opinions with you privately.

  • Marty

    Of course, what you describe (the US as a balancing power) only works if the US is a credible long-term partner, which we were from 1945 until about 1972, then again 1981 until Obama. But at this point, not only has the current ADministration trashed that but they have done so to a degree that even a new Administration in 2013, committed to restoring those ties and that credibility, may not be able to.

    In which case, the peripheral states will eventually cut their deals with China and the US will be frozen out.

    No comment on whether the game is worth the cost—but I note that once we’re out there is no reversing it if we find we don’t like the outcome.

  • bob sykes

    China’s great weakness is demographic. It is about to experience a sharp decline in its population (thanks to the one baby policy still in force) combined with a rapidly aging, unproductive residual population. China is right now near its peak of power and influence, and it will soon begin a decline similar to that of Japan, and Taiwan and South Korea.

  • Jim.

    @bob sykes:

    China’s vaunted “one-child policy” isn’t as effective at limiting births as secular Eurosocialism. China’s fertility rate is about 1.7, and Europe’s is about 1.3. So add “Europe” to that list of declining powers.

    A recent xkcd online comic pointed out that violent self-destruction isn’t necessarily the inevitable end of an intelligent species. The comic’s author asserts that all we have to do is find an activity that’s more fun that surviving.

    I’d assert that we already have. That activity is non-reproductive sex, freely practiced without social stigma, by Europeans and Leftists in America.

    Of course, there’s too much diversity in this world for everyone to be having that kind of fun, so the species won’t die off. But Eurosocialists will.

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