President Barack Obama has an opportunity to take several steps toward his oft-anticipated and oft-postponed Asia pivot later this month. A visit to Vietnam before attending the G7 summit in Japan puts Asia squarely on the agenda.
And when Asia is on the agenda, China is at the center. From an economic engine to a military superpower, China impacts nearly everything that happens in Asia.
As for how that interests the U.S., Defense Secretary Ash Carter told graduating cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy that managing historic change the Asia-Pacific “will be in your lifetimes the single region of the world of most consequence for America. It’s where more than half of humankind lives, half the global economy, ad that’s only increasing.”
Last month, Carter gave witness to the importance of the U.S. in the Asia-Pacific when he toured the USS John C. Stennis, operating in the South China Sea.
It all has experts reading the Chinese tea leaves.
Obama’s South China Sea Strategy Is Working
Hunter Marston – The National Interest
Fortunately for Washington, its allies and partners in the region have come together to confront Beijing’s deeper, more assertive expansion in the South China Sea. Washington’s hub-and-spokes security architecture in Asia now appears to be coalescing at the eleventh hour, as Pacific nations warily await a ruling from the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), widely expected to rule against Beijing’s claims.
To wit, smaller countries are coming together based on common self-interest, in the absence of coordinated U.S. leadership. This new Asian multilateralism may be more durable in the long run because it is not simply part and parcel of the U.S. rebalance, but rather an organic reaction deeply rooted in middle powers’ strategic interests.
The Pentagon Is Endangering our Economic Ties with China
Patrick Smith – The Fiscal Times
America’s economic ties with China have been out of whack with national security policy since Deng Xiaoping’s reforms began opening China in the early 1980s. Business booms, while military and geopolitical competition intensifies….
Whether we like it or not, China has a place in maintaining security in its neighborhood. The sooner Washington accepts that seven decades of unchallenged primacy are over, the easier it will be to continue exercising a very considerable degree of influence, as others in the region clearly welcome.
China’s Twilight Years
Howard W. French – The Atlantic
The frightening scope of this decline is best expressed in numbers. China today boasts roughly five workers for every retiree. By 2040, this highly desirable ratio will have collapsed to about 1.6 to 1. From the start of this century to its midway point, the median age in China will go from under 30 to about 46, making China one of the older societies in the world. At the same time, the number of Chinese older than 65 is expected to rise from roughly 100 million in 2005 to more than 329 million in 2050—more than the combined populations of Germany, Japan, France, and Britain.
The consequences for China’s finances are profound. With more people now exiting the workforce than entering it, many Chinese economists say that demographics are already becoming a drag on growth.
How Far Is China from Another Cultural Revolution?
Yang Hengjun – The Diplomat
China is in a much better place now than in 1966, but a grass-roots nostalgia for Mao has been growing. Many young people are saying if Mao returned, they would start another Cultural Revolution. They would bring down the corrupted officials one by one and stamp on their bodies….
For most Chinese, when they think about the Cultural Revolution, their mind conjures up images of political slogans and scenes of public humiliation. The president of China died a wretched death. His wife was forced to wear a necklace made up of ping-pong balls. The provincial secretary’s home was raided. The governor had a board stuck on his back with his crime written on it. The details of their corrupted life were disclosed to the public….
Is this what the Cultural Revolution is about? If you asked an average Chinese in the street now if they are prepared to have another Cultural Revolution. I can tell you this: not only are they prepared to have another revolution, this time they will line up all the corrupted officials and have them executed.