Abandoning the Peaceful Rise: China’s risky flirtation with military adventurism

‘Unfortunately, the actual evidence so far is that we are witnessing a prolonged outbreak of feckless nationalism and militarism that evokes the sinister precedent of pre-1914 Germany.’

Soviet officers knew that to act provocatively meant career suicide. Beijing is sending a different signal.

The inescapable conclusion is that since 2008 China’s leaders have abandoned the “peaceful rise” policy that Deng Xiaoping launched in 1978 and senior strategist Zheng Bijian spelled out in 2003. To rise economically, China needed a receptive world environment in which its exports, imports and incoming investments would be unimpeded. Deng’s policy—threaten nobody, advance no claims and don’t attack Taiwan—was brilliantly successful, as the U.S. actively favored China’s economic growth and other countries followed suit, to the great benefit of the Chinese people, and us all.

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Unfortunately, the actual evidence so far is that we are witnessing a prolonged outbreak of feckless nationalism and militarism that evokes the sinister precedent of pre-1914 Germany. This was a country that had the world’s best universities, the most advanced industries and the strongest banks. It lacked only the strategic wisdom of persisting in its own “peaceful rise.”

Edward Luttwak: China’s Risky Flirtation With Military Adventurism – WSJ.com