John Cornyn said that we need the F-22 to fight our ally India, which is, you know, fucking crackers. According to Eric Kleefeld, he’s now clarified that to mean we need the plane in the event that we’d fight China. It’s kind of amazing that such a clarification is considered less insane.
There’s some kind of odd impulse among some in Washington — really, not just conservatives — to consider China a potential enemy. China, with its economic might and nuclear weapons and inferior-for-the-next-several-decades military. The constellation of forces surrounding the rise of China favor two possibilities: cooperation within a series of overlapping architectures of power; or conflicts around the global periphery of U.S. and Chinese interests. (Like over oil. China’s launching an Arabic-language state TV channel, a reflection of China’s expanded Middle Eastern presence.) Now, what will contribute to a negative-sum bellicose outcome? Stuff like cavalier statements from prominent U.S. officials that we need to keep a jettisoned plane just to fight the Chinese. How would the U.S. react to a similarly bellicose remark from a Chinese official?
Now, the Chinese are probably savvy enough to realize that Cornyn’s a buffoon, but the point still stands. U.S. policymakers are doing the world a disservice by blithely assuming that the Chinese are a looming enemy, rather than doing whatever they can to ensure that such a disastrous outcome never materializes. Would the British in the 1930s have been intelligent and farsighted to antagonize the U.S. in public?
Simply put, few global problems can be solved by the U.S. or China alone. And few can be solved without the U.S. and China together. The strength of the global economy, the health of the global environment, the stability of fragile states and the solution to nonproliferation challenges turn in large measure on cooperation between the U.S. and China.
I like that a whole lot. That’s a mature recognition that the U.S. and the Chinese are and can be the sources of beneficent global action. Togetherness and all that. Also see Mike Mullen’s "Thousand-Ship Navy" speech from a couple of years ago, the most farsighted statement of positive-sum liberal internationalism that no one ever paid any attention to outside of Naval circles.