The China Choice: Why America Should Share Power

Here is a radical idea from Down Under: the United States should share power on an equal basis with China as part of a “Concert of Asia,” which would also include India and Japan. White, a former Australian defense official, sees an era of “sea-denial” coming, when the technology for striking major warships will be so far ahead of their defensive capabilities that even small powers will be able to prevent the largest navies from projecting power at low risk. Along with other factors, this will make it impossible for the United States to dominate the region as it once did and for China to dominate it as some believe it intends to do. White fears that the current U.S. posture of pushing back against Chinese assertiveness will lead to escalation. His arguments have been controversial in Australia, where some have interpreted them as counseling that Australia tilt preemptively toward China. Even if his proposed solution to the problem of how to create a stable balance of power in Asia is a bit too neat, the book is worth reading for its plainspoken analysis of how China’s rise is undermining the confidence of U.S. allies in the region. As China grows, White argues, no one can be sure that the Chinese “will settle for as little as an equal share in the leadership of Asia.”

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