«China is No Problemo»

Friday, August 13, 2010 10:08 AM

Occasionally I write a reader's comment under the pen name Germanicus for Professor Stephen Walt's blog on Foreign Policy Magazine online. Walt recently had an entry entitled "Will Washington and Beijing be mature enough to cooperate?" Walt was responding to a guest lecture that Professor John Mearsheimer gave at the University of Sydney, Australia on August 4th, entitled "The Gathering Storm: China's Challenge to U.S. Power in Asia".

Here is Walt's entry, in which he disagrees with Mearsheimer’s outlook slightly. Here is Mearsheimer's lecture in Sydney. And my comment to Walt's entry:

No Problemo

The rise of China may not pose a genuine problem, despite John Mearsheimer's scholarly analysis. What is happening seems only natural, brought about by an abnormal set of circumstances which Washington imposed upon the Asian Pacific littoral, to wit, the destruction of the Empire of Japan and its replacement with a Japan which was designed ever-afterward to be a geopolitical midget in the same way that a truncated Germany was designed to be the same thing.  

Washington and Beijing are in a full, de facto economic alliance, which should continue far into the future. If they are economically joined at the hip, what is the incentive for conflict? They are mutually dependent, but America is clearly in decline. The strength of a nation flows from within and expands outward. The success of its foreign policy will be in close symmetry to that inner strength or lack thereof. A nation as heavily in debt as the United States--while concurrently beset by countless internal economic nightmares, which have long been neglected--cannot continue as a serious, respected power in the world. 

There is no rational reason for the U.S. to be deploying a fleet of aircraft carriers etc. in the seas between China and Japan and elsewhere in the area, from Australia to India. It is meaningless to do that now, just like it would be meaningless for England to do it, the British Empire having self-destructed decades ago. The geniuses in Whitehall realized too late that they had bankrupted the Empire in two pointless and vainglorious world wars, and could no longer maintain a presence East of Suez. Washington is still doing it out of habit and ego. Of course, there remains Japan, a near-defenseless ally of the U.S. thanks to World War II. But there is no sign China has designs on Japan that I am aware of. In any event, maybe it is time for things to reset to "normal", as it were. 

Post Vietnam, post Mao Tse-tung, and post Cold War, what remains to be done in the Far East and the Pacific is to bring about an amicable dissolution of the U.S.-Japanese defense treaty, which, as a fig leaf for the American sphere of influence in Asia, corresponds to NATO in Europe. The policy of treating Japan like a client-state has been inappropriate, insulting to Japan, counter-productive and superannuated. This is not in America’s or Japan’s best interest--anymore than President Roosevelt’s deliberate policy of forcing Japan to go to war with America was a good idea for the Far East and the world.

A potential problem might arise after America has faded from the scene, like England before it. Perhaps a rivalry will reignite between Japan and China, leading to conflicts in the Far East, similar to those of the 1920's and 30's. On the other hand, it is more likely that leaders in Japan and China have learned from the past, and will not repeat the same mistakes. Let’s hope so.

Meanwhile, Uncle Sam is being taken for a ride, big time, by the usual suspects in Washington. Zionism and the Israel-first fanatics, like the Comintern and the Soviets before them, are the real problem facing America and the world today. In the meantime, let's stay on good terms with both China and Japan. Let's avoid problems with these two economic colossi in the Far East. We really have no other choice.

Update: «Playing the China Card» in Taki’s Magazine, August 25th, 2010