Monday, December 13, 2004

China, America, and the Future

There are numerous discontinuities between the foreign and military policies of the administrations of Bush the Elder and Bush the Younger. But one continuity is their apparent benign regard for the Chinese government, its intentions, and its potential long-term threat to America. That's no slam on the Bushes as this was the same attitude displayed by the Clinton Administration.

While stateless terrorist organizations at the service of radical Islam have emerged as a clear threat to the United States, American decision-makers may be neglecting the potential threats of other nation-states, particularly that of China, which appears intent on forging ties with nations hostile to America, like Iran.

That appears to be the assessment of Mark Helprin, here. In this article he offers his inventory of the potential threat to America represented by China and his prescription for what America can do about it now.

One particularly interesting element of Helprin's article: China increasingly competes with America for Middle Eastern oil, thus adding, one is led to believe, to the urgent necessity for this country to develop alternative sources of energy.

Another: Retrofitting the American military for the mission of fighting terrorists may be shortsighted. Helprin suggests that terrorism will not last forever. But China, he believes, will be a threat to America in twenty years.

The President and Congress clearly have a lot on their plates. But, if Helprin is right, America ignores the looming threat of growing Chinese economic and military power, as well as its growing stable of "allies," at the nation's peril.

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