Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Big and Cuddly

Strategypage writes that China may overstate their own military, but they do not underestimate American power as we tend to.

Further, despite out massive power, the world just isn't acting according to classic balance of power theory that holds that the dominant power will see a coalition arise to balance it:

[It's] American, not Chinese, culture that still dominates the world. The Americans invented the Internet, and although Chinese are the largest group of users, the net is still very much an American place. This "hegemony" bothers China a great deal because America also has lots of friends as a result. America allows people from all over the planet to come and become Americans. Most other nations don't even try this sort of thing, and no one does it as well as the Americans. Many Chinese have availed themselves of the opportunity to become Americans. The few who have returned home to make their fortune, largely speak fondly of their lives in America. Few people do that with China. Even the "overseas Chinese" communities throughout the region are wary of the current government in China, while still embracing Chinese culture. So do the math. China has few friends and allies, America has many. China would like to play the traditional diplomatic strategy, by assembling a coalition of like-minded allies to oppose the big guy (America). That doesn't work, as too many nations are more inclined to distrust China, than America.

Indeed, Europe itself is mostly disarming rather than seeking to balance us. And the countries that are arming up include a large number of countries that look to threats other than America--and may want American help. Face it, people just don't fear us despite the venom directed at us. This may cause us some problems with small rogue states that feel free to defy us, but on the bright side it means that nobody with power is determined to erase our military edge with an all-out arms race. And no coalition that can threaten us has arisen.

So when people speak of "repairing" our tattered foreign relations, just what damage do they see?