Complacency is the danger in Asia’s power games | The Australian

In particular, the fact of deepening economic ties is no strong guarantee of peaceful relations in the future. As Wolfowitz alluded to in the interview with the Global Perspectives Office, trade between the major European powers before World War II was far more extensive as a proportion of GDP than contemporary trade between China, other Asian states and the US. By 1913, Britain had become the leading market for German exports. The mingling of cultures and people-to-people links between these European countries was more mature than that between China and the region today.

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Then there are the suspected flaws in any enterprise to shape and tame Chinese ambitions from the outside. After all, such an enterprise assumes an inherent passivity about a government ruling over a civilisation that has been the dominant power in Asia for all but 200 of the past 2000 years — something the Chinese Communist Party is continually repeating to its people and the world. As an authoritarian outsider in a US-led order with democratic community as one of its pillars, it is questionable whether Beijing’s forbearance of American (and allied) strategic and military dominance in the region will be permanent. Indeed, there is a strong case to be made that China already views the US as a strategic competitor.

Complacency is the danger in Asia’s power games | The Australian