On the heels of the President calling on Congress during the State of the Union to grant him trade promotion authority "to protect American workers, with strong new trade deals from Asia to Europe that aren't just free, but fair," it is worth noting a fascinating study released recently on global connectedness.
The U.S. government believes that, as the inheritor of tsarist Russia and Soviet Union, Russia has expansionist and hegemonic traditions that China doesn't have. It believes Russia always has policies that challenge and attempt to supplant the existing international order while China doesn't. In many circumstances, China sees itself as a beneficiary of the current international order.
The Asia-Pacific region has achieved tremendous growth in the span of a single generation. Regrettably, a large and relatively disproportionate share of the fruits of that growth is going toward military expansion. The sources of instability include not only the threat of weapons of mass destruction, but also -- and more immediately -- efforts to alter the territorial status quo through force or coercion. And those efforts are taking place largely at sea. We do not welcome dangerous encounters by fighter aircraft and vessels at sea. What Japan and China must exchange are words. Should we not meet at the negotiating table, exchange smiles and handshakes, and get down to talking?