News here of some interesting talk from the Chinese Premier, and some facts about China's rapacious conduct both home and abroad. China is a rising power, and many analysts predict they'll replace the US as the world's leading economic power within 30 years. A few thoughts.
First, while China is a ridiculously hyperactive economic power, it has some basic systemic problems. The population is aging at the same time it is prospering--a new sense of entitlement WILL create a demand for growth slowing social investment. Some say "China will get old before it gets rich".
Second, the selective abortion of girls throughout the years (a consequence of the "one child" policy) has resulted in a nifty little imbalance in numbers between the sexes. Restive, horny, lonely males are almost never a good thing for a stable country, and tens of millions of them will be a double plus bad thing.
Third, the competition we are in with China (or to put it more appropriately, the competition THEY are in) has the potential to someday turn into conflict--either armed, direct conflict or through surrogates as much of the Cold War was fought. THINKING about fighting the Chinese someday does not mean that we will fight the Chinese someday. Planning a fight with the Chinese does not make such a fight any more likely. We can and must seek ways to work with the Chinese around the world to try and urge them to apply their might and power to the ends of the global system from which they benefit very handsomely. But while we seek avenues of cooperation--we should not be hamstrung by a Western sense of mono-modality, one that restricts us from thinking through ways to limit their power, ways to slow their rise, ways to create problems for them around the world, on their borders and within China itself.
China is thinking through these problems every day, and they are actively engaged in exactly this competition with us. They ARE preparing to fight us. They don't say so publicly--but then again, we wouldn't have to (or want to--yet) either.
I don't see much evidence in this administration of ANY interest in really thinking through "The China Problem", mostly because they want to wish the problem away. But it isn't going away. Like the boiling frog metaphor, if we wait until China begins to act in obvious hegemonic ways, it will have been too late.
UPDATE: STOP THE PRESSES--HELL HAS FROZEN OVER!!!! I agree with Paul Krugman on something.