Henry Kissinger, who negotiated America's opening to China for Richard Nixon (back when competent people ran US foreign policy, sigh), has spent the intervening decades periodically carrying messages back and forth between the top leaders of America and China. He is back on the public stage at age 88 with a book On China. In an interview with Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal Kissinger admits to a lack of optimism on the ability of the two countries to avoid war.
The second is more prophetic. "Is it possible," he asks, "to achieve enough of a cooperative pattern [with China] to avoid sliding through a series of mutual misconceptions, of stepping on each other's toes, into a situation where an ultimate confrontation becomes inevitable? And looking at the fact that we have not known how to end our little wars, I have no great hope that either side would know how to end such a conflict. . . . Am I optimistic that it's going to be done? No."
Back during the Cold War American political leaders had to come to terms with the need for restraint. Since the fall of the Soviet Union a succession of madnesses have swept thru policy making circles that led to foolish forays into the Balkans, Iraq, and other places. While the US doesn't have big domestic ethnic lobbies pushing for war with China even that is subject to change depending on policies China might pursue in the Middle East. So we aren't safe from factional insanity even when the stakes are much higher.
Americans need to become less triumphalist and more pragmatic in dealing with the rest of the world.
Pauline Arrilliga of the Associated Press has a good piece on the scale of China's espionage in the United States. China's going to close the military and industrial gap not just because the US companies are moving technology en masse into China but also because the Chinese are very good at finding corruptible American citizens and residents.
And Shriver is just one of at least 57 defendants in federal prosecutions since 2008 charging espionage conspiracies with China or efforts to pass classified information, sensitive technology or trade secrets to intelligence operatives, state-sponsored entities, private individuals or businesses in China, according to an Associated Press review of U.S. Justice Department cases.
Of those, nine are awaiting trial, and two are considered fugitives. The other defendants have been convicted, though some are yet to be sentenced.
China will surpass the US economically and the US military edge won't last long. With many former top officials of the US government now acting as paid agents of foreign governments (and what does it mean?) Americans in important positions are easily purchased. So as China's influence buying power, technological prowess, and economy all grow the US has got to find a strategy for how to defend its real interests. That means it has to stop serving interests of assorted economic and ethnic interests. I think the prospects are bleak for such a big pivot in how our elites govern. So America's future is one of decline.