A distracted America gives China a much freer hand as it seeks to establish dominance throughout the South China Sea. At least in theory. Bandwidth, or lack of the same on the part of the U.S., is China's ally in this situation.
What do a rusting Russian aircraft carrier, two top-ranking military officers, mounting trade deficits and half a trillion dollars in potential oil and gas in the South China Sea have to do with world peace?
As the senior leader of one Chinese state-owned enterprise said to me, "I used to think [Obama] was nice. Then I realized he was intelligent. Now I know he's shrewd, just like Hu Jintao. Your leader is a strategist."