The Guardian - Thursday 28 May 2015
To avoid a violent militaristic clash with China, or another cold war rivalry, the United States should pursue a simple solution: give up its empire.
Americans fear that China’s rapid economic growth will slowly
translate into a more expansive and assertive foreign policy that will
inevitably result in a war with the US. Harvard Professor Graham Allison
“in 12 of 16 cases in the past 500 years when a rising power challenged
a ruling power, the outcome was war.” Chicago University scholar John
Mearsheimer has bluntly argued: “China cannot rise peacefully.”
But the apparently looming conflict between the US and China is not
because of China’s rise per se, but rather because the US insists on
maintaining military and economic dominance among China’s neighbors.
Although Americans like to think of their massive overseas military
presence as a benign force that’s inherently stabilizing, Beijing
certainly doesn’t see it that way.
According to political scientists Andrew Nathan and Andrew Scobell,
Beijing sees America as “the most intrusive outside actor in China’s
internal affairs, the guarantor of the status quo in Taiwan, the largest
naval presence in the East China and South China seas, [and] the formal
or informal military ally of many of China’s neighbors.” (All of which
is true.) They think that the US “seeks to curtail China’s political
influence and harm China’s interests” with a “militaristic,
offense-minded, expansionist, and selfish” foreign policy.