The Delicate Interplay
Honestly, I don’t see how China’s extension of its air defense zone is going to be much of a real threat. The US basically asserted that such boundaries can, and will, be broken if necessary while ceding to China something that is, ultimately, inconsequential to American interests. Japan may not be happy, but I don’t see Japan as being motivated enough to come to blows with China.
My prescription for China stands: continue to compete in the intelligence world, improve our cyber and electronic defenses (actual defenses, not just new gadgets) while letting them know that we have no intention of attacking, even if we do bring manufacturing back.
What gain could we have from war with China?
And what gain could they have from extending their interests beyond that which can help them?
Remember kids, the same natural laws of international human social relations stand. The Chinese cannot hope to exploit or oppress another group of people without providing us the ability to undermine their authority. It would help if we weren’t so economically dependent upon them (a failing of our trade policies to recognize that neither free trade nor all exchanges benefit our society in question). That would give us some more leverage when and if disputes would come into being.
In spite of all this posturing and detaching oneself from the immediate economic consequences of war between China and the US, the fact of the matter is that the laws of social interactions remain, and that neither we nor the Chinese would benefit from having a war at any point in our foreseeable histories.
Therefore, I think the best that we can do is let them rise while we gather other players to our side (another failing of our international policies, attitudes and perspectives), thus creating another unstable equilibrium in international relations where China becomes a significant regional and potential global power and a compatriot and ally of the United States. If China wants to assume the US’s old role of global superpower, than we should welcome it and side with the other societies who will be feeling the exploitative and meddling grip of China. Thus we will always be keeping the Chinese in check, while we are keep ourselves in check.
Let them play the reactionary while we control the situation subtly.
Sadly, that’s not something the current set of American leaders do well.
And it’s all thanks to their brains that they are unable and/or unwilling to be the leaders that the world needs, rather than the leaders that they want.
Think about it.