Monday, June 27, 2005

Clash of the Titans?

I'm getting increasingly bored of the questions of war between the US and China. However, when Zbigniew Brzezinski and John Mearsheimer go in to the international relations equivalent of Thunderdome, it gets interesting. In this corner, The Man Behind The Taliban, ZBig!
More broadly, China is determined to sustain its economic growth. A confrontational foreign policy could disrupt that growth, harm hundreds of millions of Chinese, and threaten the Communist Party’s hold on power. China’s leadership appears rational, calculating, and conscious not only of China’s rise but also of its continued weakness.
And in this corner, John "No Snappy Nickname" Mearsheimer:
China cannot rise peacefully, and if it continues its dramatic economic growth over the next few decades, the United States and China are likely to engage in an intense security competition with considerable potential for war. Most of China’s neighbors, including India, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Russia, and Vietnam, will likely join with the United States to contain China’s power.
I'm not sure I agree with Mearsheimer in this case, however. More directly, I'm not sure the US can rely on the goodwill of some of those powers - umm, Vietnam? - to keep China down. In the case of Vietnam and Russia, maybe even Singapore, I wouldn't be surprised if they opted for China, rather than the US. If South Korean relations continue to deteriorate, the US might even find Seoul giving Washington the cold shoulder.

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