Overall, China is by no means militarily superior to the United States and will not be for a long time. However, the United States has invested in vulnerable aircraft carrier battle groups for global power projection, which waste many naval resources defending themselves from possible attacks from the air, sea, and undersea at the expense of projecting offensive power.
President Barack Obama sent the Navy in harm's way this week and it turned out fine. Having gotten what it's going to get, at least for now, from China, the Obama administration at last challenged China's absurd claim of sovereignty over far distant artificial islands it's built in the South China Sea.
There were only a few things wrong with the massive parade today in Beijing celebrating the 70th anniversary of V-J Day, Victory over Japan Day. The folks doing the celebrating only tangentially represent the Chinese who most actively resisted the Japanese invaders. And the celebration itself, meant to signify China's emerging superpower status, fell a little flat.
Recent events and lingering ambiguities surrounding the extent of China's military power, intentions and preparedness for conflict should implore the United States to devise a long-term strategy in the Pacific that synthesizes arms buildups with expanded economic investment and alliance consolidation.
This year's RIMPAC (Rim of the Pacific) maritime military exercises have ended, and any attention we've given the biennial war games will quickly turn elsewhere. But before we let RIMPAC drop from view, it's worth pausing to consider what we've just witnessed (or not witnessed, since most of the RIMPAC takes place out of sight).
With the California legislature off on a month's vacation beginning with the 4th of July weekend, it's a period in California politics in which several matters are poised awaiting resolution; namely, policy on water, high-speed rail, and space, the state controller's race, and Governor Jerry Brown's future.