Comments on Nick Bisley “An assertive China rattles the region”, 24/02/2012, http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2012/02/24/an-assertive-china-rattles-the-region/
Apart from agreeing to Professor Bisley's analysis, I would add that an economic terminology here to describe the situations that I think they fundamentally reflect a behaviour of adaptive expectations as opposed to rational expectations.
By that I meant that those reactions by some of the East Asian regional players as well as the US appear to me a backward looking as opposed to forward looking in their fundamental nature.
The US behaviour is not too different from many earlier powers behaviour before they exited their past colonies.
Some regional players are reluctant to accept the rise of China as a world power with its regional implications and hope the US influence will continue. But that is hardly unsustainable, as China will replace the US as the world's largest economy with the power necessary to protect its economic interests.
Nothing has been more contrast in the fact that China has been experiencing a rapid growth in both its economy and a largely proportional increase in its military budget and the fact that the US has been struggling with both its economy and the cuts of military budget as part of its reactions to reducing its huge government debts.
Besides, the US has a wide spread in its military interests and China of course is much more focused on its surrounding areas as opposed to global reach.
So in terms of regional power strengths and weaknesses, the real differences between the US and China undoubtedly lie in the ultimate deterrence of nuclear power while the gaps between the US superiority the rise of China in Asia in conventional military is rapidly closing.
In terms of nuclear power, it is hardly imaginable that either is willing to risk, even though there is a huge gap in their strengths.
What implications of all these changes and ongoing changes between the US and China have, while with considerable uncertainties, are likely to be in favour of China's continued rise in both economic, political and military strengths relative to that of the US.
If the US continues to put obstacles on the path of China's rise, how it and China will resolve the unavoidable clashes and skirmishes is unclear.
Will that have to come to a military confrontation, or a conflict to set a score to see the changed comparison? I hope not.
There is no need to have another Korea war style battle to show they would have a draw and both have to settle for a truce.
Both the US and China will need to recognise that neither of them can resort to nuclear conflict and it is also unlikely that in any conventional conflicts that either side will have a clear victory.
But the US seems to be forcing China into a position of put up or shut up with its recent behaviours.
For China, it must take the current international order into account in shaping one for the future. For the US, it must recognise that the rise of China means it cannot defeat China in militarily and has to give some ground in accommodating China's and other world power aspirants' legitimate demands.
Only in that way, everyone can have a win-win outcome.