Softly, Softly: Beijing Turns Other Cheek — For Now
Published on: November 19, 2011
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  • Walter Sobchak

    I think they are trying very hard to not laugh at the US. They know that the US cannot do anything without their money, so they do not have to worry.

    It reminds me of when I was in High School in a previous millennium. I was kind of an assistant manager and water boy for the track team. One year, I was at the first spring practice holding the clipboard for Coach Mechling, a crusty old guy. McCarty was the teams most talented and least disciplined athlete, he smoked and never worked out on his own. Coach lined up the boys for the first practice 440, and fired his starter’s pistol to start the race. He put the pistol away, pointed to a light pole on the other side of the track and said “McCarty is going to drop about there.” And sure enough, when McCarty, who had been far ahead of the other boys, got to the pole, he slowed to a jog.

  • WigWag

    “This reality constrains China’s response in many ways, but China cannot remain passive. China must now think carefully about its choices and to work to use all the factors of its power to inflict some kind of counterblow against the United States.” (Walter Russell Mead)

    Professor Mead has written a couple of interesting posts recently where he explains to the Europeans that the China is “not their daddy.”

    What I wonder about is whether there is any creative way that the Chinese could use the current European implosion to their strategic advantage. Europe’s problems are so severe, European nations are so desperate and Chinese currency reserves are so large that one would think that there is something China could do to help the Europeans that would give the Americans a black eye.

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    I’m surprised you think this is all some brilliant foreign policy maneuver by the incompetent Obama administration, when they have never even shown competence before, not to speak of brilliance. What is clear is that Australia, India, Japan, Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, and Indonesia all decided that China was becoming a problem and an impotent Obama administration wasn’t going to help them unless they could be bought off. And thus the little guys play the big guys off against each other, which of course is the standard tactic throughout history.

  • Kenny

    “The US has won the first round,” but can throw it all away with the Democratic Party’s urge to hollow out the U.S. Navy with severe budget cuts.

    After all, all those so-called allies we have in the Pacific are allies just for the protection we can afford them. But with a diminished ability to do so, look for those countries to accommodate the Chicoms.

  • Mark Michael

    Boy! I never realized what a tremendous thing this Obama trip to SE Asia was. Wow!

    My tangential thought: WRM loves to think about how the tiny highly influential elite of each country plays the power game: Chinese elite military, diplomats, political leaders vs. the same set of characters in its SE Asia neighbors: Japan, India, Vietnam, Philippines, etc. What the world really needs is to strip away as much brute force power from these tiny (in number) elite as possible by whatever peaceful means we can muster!

    Example: WRM discusses how the fiat currencies could in theory be used to punish or reward adversaries, and then says it’s unlikely to help the Chinese rulers. It might backfire. My thought concerning reigning in the elite: when much of the globe was on a gold standard (in the 19th century), it was off the table. Currency was just a neutral means of exchanging goods and services, not a sword with which to assault your enemies. A dollar was exchanged for /20.67 of a Troy ounce of gold. A pound was exchanged for its fixed # of Troy ounces of gold. Ditto a Deutschmark, French franc, etc.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if central banks also neutral commercial institutions that simply did banking functions and weren’t a means to implement nationalistic trade policies? You know, making exports cheap and imports dear so that the politically powerful get what they want – rather than the ordinary citizen getting the best deal on average for his goods and services? Mercantilism rewards the industries and their workers that export and punishes consumers/purchasers in general who would like the least expensive consumer and industrial products from whatever source. The elite get those huge bank reserves they can use to influence economic decisions in various ways. It’s at heart power stuff: us vs. them. Force instead of free, peaceful exchange.

    Of course, privatizing central banking would induce a global fainting spell among elites around the world. The world would collapse, no doubt. (Money center banks were nationalized starting in the late 19th century. Our Fed was set up in 1913. It was only a matter of time before we abandoned the gold standard. Well, Nixon closed the gold window for good in 1971, I think it was.)

  • Anthony

    As an interested American, I am awaiting the eventual response and its frame of references. Nevertheless, concept of “peaceful rise: eschewing all conflict with the U.S. and its neighbors” infers logical context framing future engagement given China’s natural resource and population integration problems.

    Yet, most significant insight in essay speaks to U.S. military elites becoming less responsible (independent of political authorities) to constitutional civilian authority – very significant given the experience-broadening complex technology it now commands.

  • Kris

    What?! The US playing balance-of-power politics? How could China possibly have seen this coming?

    (Yes, I’m aware that this post was about the recent tactical moves, not strategy.)

  • Anthony

    WRM, “China warns U.S. on territory disputes (FT Asia-Pacific): “South China Sea disputes should be settled through friendly consultation and negotiation between the sovereign states directly concerned.” Response made to Asean leaders in Bali (response and frame of references).

  • MarkE

    Could this be part of a historical process? First Britain, or lately, the US provides some benefit, e.g., colonialism, free-trade, foreign aid, industrial jobs. The on-the-ball guys make it work and build-up their country. Then they get mercantile, but that requires militarism after awhile. Then they figure out that they actually have a better system and a better military and take us on. Then they lose. Then we help build them up. Then they get some kind of participatory democracy and a kind of capitalism that blends with ours fairly well. I guess it could be different this time. I don’t know.

  • Luke Lea

    Good moves, everyone.

  • Luke Lea

    @- “The effect of this passive and low key response . . . is to reinforce the sense in Asia that the US has reasserted its primacy in a convincing way.”

    I wouldn’t say “in Asia” but, rather, in the southeast periphery of Asia and in the oceans offshore. Asia is a much bigger place.

  • Luke Lea

    @ “China must now think carefully about its choices and to work to use all the factors of its power to inflict some kind of counter blow against the United States.”

    Let’s not beat the war drums. They don’t need to be egged on.

  • Luke Lea

    @ -“Look for China to reach out much more intensively to Russia to find ways . . .” If Russia reaches back I will eat my hat. They’re just as afraid of Chinese expansion as all China’s other neighbors, and with better reason I would say, especially in light of these latest diplomatic developments.

    China has better claims, and better opportunities, looking north. With troops on the ground, not ships at sea, is where her comparative advantage lies. Just like Germany a hundred years ago.

  • Luke Lea

    @ “China will be looking to weaponize its dollar hoard”

    By buying weapons maybe, or perhaps capital goods from the West. Remember, the only thing China can do with her dollars is spend them, ie, sell her Treasuries and use the money to buy things, which should lead to more US exports and a rebuilding of our manufacturing sector. And if the Fed buys those treasuries — who else can afford to? — that would lead to inflation here, which might not be such a bad thing considering the alternatives.

    I probably don’t know what I’m talking about.

  • This question is on-topic in that it pertains to China’s reactions to foreign diplomacy.

    About a year ago, in September 2010 maybe, George Soros either visited or addressed a series of commentary to leaders in the People’s Republic of China. His comments were very well-received in the Chinese press. I read some in translation, some in the original, as best my knowledge allowed. Mr. Soros was described as wise, humorous, respectful, even humble. I haven’t seen a reaction to anyone, before or since, in state-controlled or popular Chinese media (which could be considered state controlled too, but let’s not get into that).

    Insofar as the sentiments were genuine, why do you think there was such a positive reaction? Why would George Soros elicit such an outpouring of laudatory sentiment in China?

  • Marisa70394

    Even though the US does not quite say, “We are working to contain China,”, I and others can clearly see, that is exactly what we are doing. Actually, what I really hope we contain is the spread of China’s brand of government. Like most people, I really hate to see a few unelected people be in charge of millions of their citizens. Like most people, I believe the Chinese government is nearly completely corrupt. Yes, I’d like to see the Chinese people get rid of their one party authoritarian regime. Yes, I’d like to see Tibet and East Turkmenistan be free again. Yes, I’d like to see China become more like Taiwan. I have no problem with reducing China to what Russia is today – essentially a less dangerous government. Let’s face it: China and all its’ “friends” such as Iran, North Korea, Syria, Zimbabwe and now and then Russia, are all basket cases, and less we have of such countries in the world, the better off we will all be.

  • oldsalt

    The most inflammatory move by obama was to place American strike force across China’s shipping lanes. This move is a provocation the Chinese must counter. Chinese base in Cuba or Venezuela anyone?

  • Koblog

    Obama, Clinton, Panetta: “brilliant!”

    Riiiiiiight….

    Remember, we’re broke. As in a $4 trillion deficit and a $15 trillion debt. Not the definition of “brilliant” or “powerful.”

  • Person of Choler

    I’m sure the Chinese have duly noted how our brilliant geopolitical maneuvers in Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, and Libya have achieved US domination of an entire region and now fear our imminent hegemonic encroachment of Asia.

  • Luke Lea

    @ –
    My tangential thought: WRM loves to think about how the tiny highly influential elite of each country plays the power game:”

    That’s the nerd in him peeking out I suspect. It’s The-World-of-Warcraft syndrome for armchair strategists. 😉 He is good on this topic, though, I have to admit. I especially enjoy his discussions of history. But as Yogi Berra said, “Predictions are hard, especially about the future.”

  • John Stephens

    Was this some brilliant scheme by the Obama administration, or just “events, dear boy. Events.”? I don’t know, and the Chinese probably aren’t sure either. But it’s a good thing for those who rely too much on central planning to take a kick in the pants every so often, to remind them that no plan ever survives contact with reality.

  • Yahzooman

    Who is the strategic thinker in the White House or State?

    Certainly not Obama. He’s got one thing on his mind: re-election. Nifty three-corner bankshots in foreign policy do not get him votes in Peoria and Pewaukee. Not Hillary. She’s winding down her time in government. She’s never shown a strategic side going back to HillaryCare in 1993. Is it Petraeus at CIA? Probably not. He’s occupied with Pakistan and Afghanistan. Panetta? He’s concerned about budget cuts and winding down two wars.

    Who is behind our China policy? Who is Obama’s Kissinger?

    I think a previous poster is correct. It’s the Asian little guys who banded together to play the bigger guys off against each other.

    Obama just went with the flow, eager to return to Washington to blame Republicans for the super committee’s failure.

  • steve

    The biggest threat for western civilization is still Islamic extremist. The conflict between US and China is mostly commercial and a solution for win-win is possible and will be mutual beneficial.

    The western and Islamic conflict is spiritual. Jeruslem symolized this conflict. Iseral has no intention to stop building settlement. While Arab is down, but not out. Al-qaeda is gradually expanding its influence one by one. Lybia is already in the bag, Egypt is coming, and even Turkey is turning more Islamic.

    Keep this in mind. China may envy or resent US power, but by no means they harbor any hatred. In Arab world, the hatred to US is just rampant. Beating the drum for US/china conflict is simply silly.

  • Allan Blackwell

    Bearing in mind Thucydides’s observations that nations go to war when the witch’s brew of “fear, honor, interest” get stirred (and a hat tip to Colin S. Gray), this must be played very carefully by the US and its allies.

  • Ronald McDougal

    …our aim is to overthrow the Communist government, replace it with something weak and ineffective — as in Yeltsin’s Russia — and then break up its territory the way the Soviet Union broke up. Taiwan, Tibet, Xinjiang, perhaps more will be split off until China is left as a weak and helpless member of an ever more ruthless American order. …

    Yes, that sounds like a reasonable outcome. maybe with gun boats on the Yellow river to make sure toys get to Macys on time for Christmas.

  • Person of Choler

    “On the one hand, the sweep, the scope and the success of the American moves….”

    Can somebody succinctly explain what, exactly, it is that we get from these successful moves?

  • Walter Sobchak

    Luke Lea: “Remember, the only thing China can do with her dollars is spend them”

    All China has to do is stop buying Treasuries. They could insist on payment in Yuan. At that point the US government is out of cash and SoL.

  • I’m not so sure that Myanmar is coming around.

  • Clark E Myers

    “…American decline and disinterest in Asia, aimed also at nipping the myth of “China’s inexorable rise” in the bud….”
    America has seldom if ever been disinterested but often uninterested. Reserving the term disinterested to mean something like not having a stake in the game might be handy on the off chance such behavior is ever to be observed.

  • Bob

    China is not a superpower right now and will not be till she proves it decisively on the battlefields. China is currently like Nazi Germany, a potential superpower, one to be concerned about, but not someone to whom we should FedEx the superpower diploma. China is a huge but disorganized, corrupt, struggling entity, which desparately wants to be treated as a superpower. China better learn that size means nothing till that size can be translated into projectable power. On any theater other than land, China lacks the resources for even a second rate power, it has old noisy submarines, no carrier groups, a struggling warplane engine program, it still has to buy anything advanced from Russia. Left in this country will like China to be treated as superpower, but if China fails to live up to it on the battlefield, it will be a short but very steep slide to a non-entity status.

  • Jeff Weimer

    Anthony on November 19, 2011 at 4:01 pm – “Yet, most significant insight in essay speaks to U.S. military elites becoming less responsible (independent of political authorities) to constitutional civilian authority – very significant given the experience-broadening complex technology it now commands.”

    I think you are misreading the paragraph; it’s the Chinese military he’s discussing. He goes on to state that their military may do things the civilian political class may not be able to do anything about.

    From the essay, which is what I think you’re misreading:

    “Longer term, the conviction in the military and among hard liners in the civilian establishment that the US is China’s enemy and seeks to block China’s natural rise will not only become more entrenched and more powerful; it will have consequences. Very experienced and well informed foreign diplomats and observers already warn that the military is in many respects becoming independent of political authorities and some believe that like the Japanese military in the 1930s, China’s military or factions within it could begin to take steps on critical issues that the political authorities could not reverse. Islands could be occupied, flags raised and shots fired.”

  • Ben Thompson

    The author hypes up the recent actions a bit too much.
    The US already has had military in Japan, South Korea, etc, etc, etc since WWII.
    The US troops going to Australia are as much a signal to other countries in the region as China…whatever those signals shall be.
    The Chinese see that Obama is a “cut and runner”; not a long term strategist, so they have nothing to worry from him.

  • thibaud

    Superb piece, esp. the last line. Deficit hawks, beware: the debt commission’s obligation to slash spending will almost certainly fall heaviest on the Defense budget.

    Is it really wise to mortgage our freedom of maneuver in foreign policy in this way?

    If huge defense cuts are coming, then we’ll need an alternate strategy of building up Asian friends – primarily India – into reliable military allies.

    I don’t hear anyone talking about a US-India alliance (probably for fear of alienating our “friends” in Pakistan), but it’s about time we began thinking seriously about it. The Indian Navy esp could take up much of the slack when Congress whacks the budget for the US Navy.

  • When Ron Paul wins Iowa and New Hampshire and wants to cut one trillion dollars the first year and bring our troops home – then we will see what the Meadester has to say.

    • Walter Russell Mead

      @Craig Purcell: He will probably say that many people win the New Hampshire primary without winning the Republican nomination or the White House, and that Congressman Paul seems eminently fitted to join that distinguished company.

  • Chinese plundering of U.S. web sites is a de facto act of war.

  • gs

    For the sake of argument, let’s grant that it’s a significant US accomplishment to assemble this coalition. Two cheers. It would be far more impressive to coordinate a successful coalition countermove when China acts in a place, time and manner of its own choosing.

    Unfortunately, we have a way of engaging situations without thinking them through first–and then becoming irresolute. We look impressive as the dickens while we’re barging in. Later…

  • M. Report

    A few decades ago, when the Russians and the
    Chinese were standing ‘Belly-to-Belly, and
    Toe-to-Toe’
    The Soviet side said:
    “We will fight to the last man.”
    The Chinese side replied:
    “Yes, and when the last Russian is dead,
    there will still be ten Chinese living.”

    The Chinese are willing to take civilian
    casualties during a war; Is the US ?

  • Hj

    Quote:
    >>”Others will argue that the international system as it now exists, and American power in it, are weapons in the hands of a country which is deeply hostile to China and its government and that the US will not rest until China, like Russia, has been reduced to impotence. They think (they really do) that our aim is to overthrow the Communist government, replace it with something weak and ineffective — as in Yeltsin’s Russia — and then break up its territory the way the Soviet Union broke up. Taiwan, Tibet, Xinjiang, perhaps more will be split off until China is left as a weak and helpless member of an ever more ruthless American order. To act like a “responsible stakeholder” in the international system would be to tie the knot in the noose intended to hang you; China must resist now, and ally itself with everyone willing to fight this power: Iran, Russia, Syria, Venezuela, Pakistan, perhaps even Al-Qaeda. And rather than trying to prop up the international capitalist system, China should do what it can to deepen crises and aggravate tensions.”

    The western world’s true intentions behind their discourse about China can already be seen with their distinction between “panda-huggers” and “dragon-slayers”. I personally agree with the “dragon-slayers”, for their hate is genuine, pure and from their point of view, understandable. They want China dead and destroyed, and I respect that. But I absolutely detest the “panda-huggers”, because of its foul implications.

    What is a panda? A panda might be a bear, and by itself a pretty dangerous animal, but a panda is essentially an endangered, impotent lifeform reduced to the human-given attributes of “cuteness” and “harmlessnes”. Attributes, that make its observers feel fuzzy and warm inside, while it is confined behind bars in a zoo, and absolutely reliant upon the niceties, the feeding, the care and even artificial, manual assistance in the very basic matter of procreation from the human caretaker.

    This speaks volume about what even the supposedly ‘sinophile’ crowds in the west wish for China’s fate: A panda-like giant they can hug, that is impotent, confined and contained behind the metal-bars of unequal treaties and exploitative trade concessions, and only allowed a weak and american-supplied (all monkey model) “self-defense force”, just enough to join the Western ‘coalition of the willing’ in their wars of aggression against the last remaining unwilling sovereign nations but nothing more, and completely reliant upon the niceties of the western caretaker.
    Reduced to a mindless market to support the western economy, and down to a child-friendly disneyland with ‘ancient and exotic culture’ for the fuzzy liberal-arts professors, orientalists and generic tourists to visit and to laugh about the silly antics of its people with a sense of their own colonial superiority, will surely make China an internationally respected and “responsible stakeholder” in the global system named “pax americana”.

    So asking them, the choice for China are only two things: Dead or dishonour.

    So, where’s the checkbook? Al-Qaida isnt going to supply themselves.

  • mister unknown

    Mead has set the bar for “victory” rather low in the area of free trade. Apparently mere talk of a FTA that “excludes” China counts as a “victory” these days, never mind the fact that the ASEAN-PRC FTA, which includes China & excludes the US, was initially agreed upon back in 2002, & has ALREADY BEEN IMPLEMENTED for nearly 2 years now. Who knows how many years will go by before the US-ASEAN FTA actually takes effect?

  • davelnaf

    Excellent article; right on the money, and it will be very interesting to see how China responds. They may feel psychologically boxed-in by this gambit, but do they dare show it by striking out in some way? Their MO is predicated on their being far cleverer than the barbarians. So, if they decide that their previous methods for dealing with the outside world were flawed this shock might prod them into doing something foolish.

  • “Taiwan, Tibet, Xinjiang, perhaps more will be split off until China is left as a weak and helpless member of an ever more ruthless American order.”

    Taiwan already is split off, and most of the Taiwanese don’t want to join up. What we should hope is that there is not a need to really split it off in the future.

    #8:
    “WRM, “China warns U.S. on territory disputes (FT Asia-Pacific): “South China Sea disputes should be settled through friendly consultation and negotiation between the sovereign states directly concerned.””

    That isn’t how the Chinese have been behaving in the South China Sea, particularly with Vietnam.

    #13
    “With troops on the ground, not ships at sea, is where her comparative advantage lies. Just like Germany a hundred years ago.”

    This is not what China is doing. They have a two-tiered outlying islands strategy to develop hegemony in East Asia (and also reap the benefits of the natural resources therein), and they are spending a lot of money to develop a blue water navy, plus a string of ports for it in other countries.

    As for worrying about China drawing nearer to Russia, people are a few years behind the curve. It’s already happening/happened.

    Very recently, a book written by Herbert Hoover criticizing FDR for his war policies, which he worked on for decades, was finally rediscovered and published (900 pages +)

    We already know that Hoover criticized FDR on 12/8/45 because “sticking pins in the heads of snakes is what got us in this trouble”. This has the potential to be the same thing all over again.

    While the Japanese are increasingly aware of Chinese expansionism and a military threat, keep in mind China is Japan’s largest trading partner, while the US is #4. A lot of Japanese firms are doing business in China. Tokyo-Shanghai is only about a two-hour flight.

    What everyone here seems to miss, including Mr. Mead, is the intensity of Chinese ethnocentric nationalism and a belief that they deserve to regain — yes, regain — their dominant position in the world, that is rightfully theirs. Intelligence, education, and travel abroad do not vitiate that, as we see from Chinese industrial espionage in the U.S.

    A sophisticated outlook by a few in the Foreign Ministry will do little to stop a national spasm if one occurs.

  • Parallel

    Perhaps enough time has passed that even Obama no longer believes he can impel foreign leaders (like the Chinese) to do his bidding simply through his personal charisma?

    Many on the left believed that our foreign policy was in shambles because George W. Bush was poorly spoken (lacked verbal virtuosity, as Thomas Sowell would say).

    Too bad it took three years of failure for our leftists in power to realize that foreign leaders won’t compromise their own interests just because they’re competently chatted up.

  • Alex

    Through division, political disunity, and being conquered by outside barbarians, China has led the world’s GDP in 18 out of the last 20 centuries. It will likely reassume that position in this one. The Chinese leadership plays a generational game, with a political strategic mindset literally millennia in age, and cares for the outside world largely to the extent that it preserves internal harmony and autonomy. The current tool of choice for achieving its objectives is not military might nor political alliance, but trade, soft diplomacy, and capital accumulation.

  • Leo Leone

    Looks like a return to a multipolar world. And it needn’t be seen as a sign of decline but a sign of maturity. The world is growing up.

    These Asian Tigers are demanding China respect their sovereignty and be a responsible regional power and neighbor.

    The old unipolar version of the world–since the fall of the USSR–had America footing all the bills and policing the hotspots of the globe in conflict–largely on her own. Those days will not be missed. It cost a lot of blood and treasure to secure the Pax Americana of the last century.

    The most efficient way to manage China’s peaceful rise is quite likely through multilateral diplomatic efforts. We’re not alone in this. And we should stop deluding ourselves that ours are not the only interests at stake in the Western Pacific.

    By strengthening our alliances with China’s nervous neighbors we strengthen our own position. The only way for the Chinese to effectively counter such determined and concerted diplomacy is by playing nice with others in the region.

    Failing that, a NATO-style defense pact for the Pacific would likely follow any aggressive moves made by China against her immediate neighbors. Such a strategic alliance seemed to work well enough against the USSR.

    Unless China is looking to relive the Cold War all over again–their leaders would be well advised to moderate their tone and their actions in the face of such a unified bloc of her most important trading partners.

    There’s no payoff in China portraying herself as the local bully when the whole neighborhood is already gathering against her.

  • JLK

    Dr Mead

    Unfortunately this diplomatic “Victory” looks pyrrhic to me. China cannot afford to “lose face” in their response to an all fronts onslaught.

    I don’t understand the necessity of it anyway. Any realistic diplomatic approach to China must treat them as a future partner. Any attempt to isolate them in their own back yard will lead to medium or long term hostility and China can cause a lot of problems in the global chess game.

    We must remember that Russia, not China, is and will remain our most intractable enemy. And one of the obvious unintended consequences of this attempt at isolation will be to create a closer relationship between Russia and China, something that is definitely NOT in our best interests.

    China’s game outside their “back yard” is mercantilist, not military. But the closer we get to the motherland in our diplonmatic or military moves the more aggressively defensive they become. Like an unstated Asian version of the Monroe Doctrine they do not want outsiders messing with what they consider their immediate sphere of influence. So the consequences of any aggressive foreign policy moves on our part must be very carefully considered.

    While ostensibly shrewd in its conception and timing this diplomacy will come back to haunt us and I have my doubts that this admin is willing to stand firm in the face of an increase in Chinese aggression.

    This is especially true when the current POTUS seems determined to cut military spending and reduce our global reach. If you want to reduce the need for spending you are much better off with China in your corner, or at least neutral, rather than in hostile opposition.
    JLK

  • Scott Fishman

    Having majored in Chinese Language & Lit and living in Asia on and off since 1987, I’ve a couple of observations. Firstly, the author’s hawkish sentiment is more cleverly concealed in the article’s position of let’s see how the Chinese respond to our moves. Secondly, I’m living here in China after 10 year absence, and while not totally ignorant of Asian geo-politics, I’m not the political hound I was in my youth. That much being said, I have to express my surprise at how well manipulated the populace is by the central government’s propaganda machine and how COMPLETELY indoctrinated the party members are in the CP’s position that the US is out to get China and that some clash is inevitable. I myself have no position on the issues and can only report that Chinese do see their destiny as a return to global preeminence, or at least regional, and that any entity which obstructs that return is in their cross hairs. Finally on a pseudo-psychological note, the overall defining personality characteristic of the 21st century Chinese would have to be expressed, IMHO, as a petulant and narcissistic baby seated on a gold throne of self-willed entitlement. I find it rather ominous.

  • Gold Star for Robot Boy

    I’m really getting a kick out of reading the R-W commentors’ tantrums.

  • beowulf

    “All China has to do is stop buying Treasuries. They could insist on payment in Yuan. At that point the US government is out of cash and SoL.”

    Oh brother, if the Chinese think like this.. they’re doomed. The US govt can spend without borrowing (whether by Fed monetization or minting large denomination platinum coins), the only reason it borrows is to peg short-term interest rates, however it can now do so (since TARP Act) by the Fed adjusting what it pays as interest on bank reserves. If China refuses to buy Treasuries, it would simply collect 0.25% IOR on the dollar reserves accumulated from its exports to the US.

    If China refused to accept dollars in payment; first it would crush the value of its own dollar holdings, second it would throw its manufacturing sector into a tailspin and third, the rest of Asia would compete to be the new home of US-owned factories.
    http://pragcap.com/resources/understanding-modern-monetary-system

  • MZ

    China only need to resolve the South China Sea conflict peacefully with its neighbors. Otehr than that, all the perceived China threats to US a re just perceived. No better opportunity for Defense to get budget un-cut! The small Asian countries are playing for fools. They are letting US more long term into Asia, while antagonizing China in long term. A loss-loss situation. Ultimately the trade with China will far surpass in advantage for these countries than strategic protection from US.All it will take is resolution of south china sea.

  • Molon Labe

    Think of the alarm bells that would ring if the PRC announced it would station 2,500 troops in Tierra del Fuego. This is akin to the Darwin announcement. A nation with a military of 2.5 million is going to be humbled by this?

    They will look at Obama’s gutting of the US military as will our allies and ask who will win the horse race. Somehow I don’t think the US is looking like a winner.

  • tannaone

    Yep sorry to say guys but this was principally Australia’s idea. We got good military thinkers down here. For years we’ve been fostering alliances in our region and we’ve sold it to the U.S. No wonder Obama was ecstatic. Chinese subversion has been the primary worry of Australia.

    Also another thing. China’s possible ascendent military leadership can be cointained by Australia. Yep Australia. We are the only nation in the region with the [male genital equipment] to sink a chinese vessel and we don’t surrender on land. If China needs to ‘prove’ its superpower credentials through military action and victory, Australia is no helpless foe and the U.S will use us to nip in the bud the China military leaderships dreams of reaching superpower status through military glory and conquest. Remember Nazi Germany needed weak neigbours to pump up it’s confidence for a military campaign of such scope, but Australia is a Winter War for an aggressive China. (only with superpower aid, unlike Finland) So I wouldn’t worry about the Chinese military leadership ‘responding’.

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