From USNI West 2010:
There is a very interesting article in the Washington Post this morning, regarding our sometimes partner, full-time economic rival and competitor, and potential military adversary, the People’s Republic of China.
Just in time for AFCEA/USNI West 2010, which examines the QDR and “smart power”, China plays a major card in her hand. She obviously is flexing her new muscles as a recognized world power, feeling comfortable enough in her position to do so, and to openly challenge the United States over several major issues in recent weeks. China has been a topic of discussion before at USNI West, we shall see if the topic is again at center stage.
What will be interesting is, with the 2010 QDR more than a year in the making, if this seemingly sudden shift in China’s posture is within the abilities of the US to counter, or to defeat, if necessary. The “smartest” power, for all the political pontification regarding the term, is that which can bring sufficient force to deter an enemy and maintain US influence in key regions, and to defeat that enemy should deterrence prove ineffective.
It will be interesting to see if the QDR holds to this maxim: that the US should build its military force to counter the capabilities of its current and potential enemies, and should develop its operational plans (OPLANS) to counter those enemies’ intentions.
China’s seemingly sudden “change in attitude” is neither. It is a product of her tradition of taking a decades- and even centuries-long view of international affairs, and her long-held view of her rightful place in Asia and the world. Perceptions otherwise are due entirely to our own set of lenses.