BEIJING -- Debates are going on the two sides of the Pacific, in China and in the U.S., about the future world order. On the part of the U.S. the core issue is how to maintain its world dominance. Out of its natural fear of the traditional model of power transition, the U.S. is deeply concerned whether it can remain strong and whether the newly rising powers will compete for world dominance with the U.S.. So some suggest that the U.S. may need a new grand strategy.
America is still the world's only superpower, but China is gradually catching up. China's economy has become the second largest in the world, and the leadership is speaking with a louder voice in international affairs. And while historically China has eschewed building formal alliances with other countries, even that policy is slowly shifting: Beijing is courting new partners, including allies of Washington like President Park and others.
Ultimately, it may take a crisis for the U.S.-China relationship to reach a stable equilibrium. But in the current context, I believe the doom-laden scenario of a U.S.-China naval clash in the South China Sea to be remote. The greater risk is that China will use U.S. FoN operations to justify an overtly military phase to the island construction project.
After the devaluation of the yuan and the dive in China's stock exchanges, the blowback on American markets and the presidential candidates lining up to blame China, President Xi Jinping may be wishing he'd booked his visit for another time. But now is the perfect opportunity to set the record straight. The latest round of China bashing overestimates China's clout and distorts our discourse.
Skillful diplomacy with China can lead to substantial benefits for our two countries and the world at large. But the more we get caught up in conflict, the more we undermine our efforts to expand our economic and political influence and bring peace and stability to an increasingly important part of the world.
After six years of silent preparations, the Obama White House has recently unveiled some bold diplomatic initiatives. As these moves unfold, Obama is revealing himself as one of those rare grandmasters who appear every generation or two with an ability to go beyond mere foreign policy and play that ruthless global game called geopolitics.