Is China the threat we assume it to be?

Australian optimist Arthur Chrenkoff looks northward toward China and reads the tea leaves to see if future conflict with America is really a foregone conclusion. Chrenkoff gathers disparate threads from the news that demonstrate China’s ambition to control East and Central Asia (military buildups, diplomatic overtures, business deals), but then throws in an interesting wild card I hadn’t thought much about recently: the rise of Christianity in Chinese culture, especially among that society’s elites.
Fascinating stuff.
But I wonder … whatever happened to China’s secretive Assassin’s Mace program? It sure has dropped from sight in the news, but that doesn’t mean a doggone thing. Anybody have any news about it?
One other wild card comes to mind: capitalism (see Dinocrat’s related post). If free market economics continue to make inroads into Chinese society, can China long remain a communist nation? If it does become some sort of democracy or republic, then it would be much less likely to clash militarily with America. After all, democracies don’t attack each other.
Definitely something to ponder.

UPDATE: More China blogging from Why are all the good names gone …

From Reuters, we have “U.S. Warns Iran Over Missiles, Punishes Chinese Firms.” Since the release of Seymour Hersh’s article on Monday, MSM sources have turned an increasingly sharp eye toward anything involving Iranian friction with the U.S.
Oddly, no official announcement of the sanctions was made, leading me to wonder if this is because the United States has no desire to highlight disagreements with China over Iran. Considering U.S. efforts to highlight Iran’s intransigence, I would have otherwise expected this to receive more play from the administration:

The most indepth coverage was provided in the Times. I found the end of the article to be the most informative. China is a high-growth country with ever-expanding energy needs. Considering the fact that U.S. interest in the Middle East stems largely from a desire to meet its own energy needs, our position on the “moral high ground” regarding the spread of WMD is based primarily on the same sort of realistic calculations China has made in seeking to secure its own national interests:

The article suggests that Chinese nonproliferation efforts are taken more as an economic step (to avoid U.S. sanctions) than out of genuine concern for the spread of WMD and delivery system technology:

Talk of China and its expanding role in regions such as the Middle East reminds me of the recently waged debate within the EU regarding an end to the current arms embargo levied on China.
I’ve discussed the idea of political realism outweighing the notion of “shared values” here and here. Steps by some members of the EU (most specifically France) to court China as a strategic balancing point to U.S. influence serve as a reminder that national interests often take precedence over shared values.

Interesting Iranian/French angle. It can be maddening, trying to keep everyone’s hidden agendas straight in one’s mind.
Want to get really complex? Throw into the mix Colin Powell’s recent statements revising America’s stance on the “One China” policy, which appear to leave Taiwan twisting in the wind (presumably in exchange for an as-yet-unmentioned something from China). I wonder what Condi Rice will have to say about this (if anything)?
UPDATE 2: Finally! The shipping lane map I’ve been hoping for! Great find by Little Red Blog, along with more good analysis on the EU-China arms connection.
UPDATE 3: This post has merged at high speed into today’s Beltway Traffic Jam.

One comment

  1. Simon World

    Non-clash of the titans

    Arthur Chrenkoff points to two related reports on the same theme: China as America’s emerging rival. Amongst other things, he quotes the Washington Times:China is building up military forces and setting up bases along sea lanes from the Middle East to …