Outside of the market madness, the biggest global news this week might be China sending its first aircraft carrier to sea.
The launch was not unexpected and China sought to downplay its significance, saying "it will not pose a threat to other countries."
Still, "it is the most potent symbol yet of China's desire to develop the power both to deny U.S. naval access to Asian waters and to protect its global economic interests, including shipping lanes," The WSJ reports.
Like many others, Stephen Glain, author of State vs. Defense, believes the U.S. and China are, indeed, on a collision course. "Absent a good faith attempt to negotiate this thicket of disputes between China and Taiwan and the Philippines and Brunei and others, I think it's inevitable," he says. "The Chinese are not going to back down."
Just as America adopted the Monroe Doctrine to project power in the Western Hemisphere, the Chinese believe they have a right to their own sphere of influence in the Asia-Pacific region. "China is after all a 3000-year old country; Asia has been throughout most of that history Sino-centric," he says.
But to those who believe the U.S. and its allies must "bottle up" China, Glain says "there's nothing in those 3000 years of Chinese history" to suggest China's intentions are to militarily dominate the region. "On the contrary, they've always remained close to their own territory," he notes. "They have always been the Middle Kingdom between heaven and earth."
However, Glain fears the U.S. and its allies might provoke China into a war that might otherwise be avoidable. "Arms races tend to develop their own immutable momentum," he says, noting the Pentagon is embarking on an "enormous military buildup" in the region.
In his new book, Glain laments the rise of the "military industrial complex" President Eisenhower warned about 50 years ago, suggesting defense contractors and their patrons in Congress and the Pentagon have an undue influence on U.S. foreign policy. American hubris is also playing a role in the march to war, he says.
"Without an admission by the U.S. of its limitations, both fiscal and militarily…I think some kind of conflict between the U.S. and China is inevitable, probably in our lifetime," he says.
For more on this topic, see:
- sphere of influence
- military industrial complex
- defense contractors
- On the contrary
- undue influence
- the Monroe Doctrine
- aircraft carrier
- the Pentagon
- U.S. foreign policy