I see your point but I think we (the USA) need to engage in a more Bismarkian discussion with the Chinese that doesn’t require us to support Wilsonian ideals in the Pacific, necessarily. We need to encourage China to take a greater role in policing the world and let them define that. The objectives of security and peace can be made primary and democracy can be deemphasized. This is happening anyway. It is not a great time to be promoting democracy at the cost of stability and if we keep up that line, we are going to lose even more credibility.
I think there is some legitimacy to the view that we have been provocative in Eastern Europe and this has been foolish. Support for democracy should not be the goal. Rather the goal is peace and stability in an ever more volative world. If this means we need to engage with the Chinese over the South China Sea, so be it.
We view the Chinese through a strange lens that was crafted in the cold war era to view the Russians. I think we need a new lens. Have the Chinese been anywhere near as adventurist or aggressive as the Soviet Union was? Russian tanks rolling into Hungary – do we have an analogue in China? Russian intervention in Cuba or Angola? Do we have a Chinese analogue? I don’t think one can make the case that the Chinese have intentions to get militarily involved around the world. Quite the contrary.
So how does one engage with the Chinese regarding a greater role in the world without acknowledging that it is logical for them them play a more prominent role in water that surrounds them?
Accurate Security Engineering