World Policy Journal has an interesting reterospective piece by its long standing editor James Chace and considers the accent of China and how the West should react.
This is a free access article which is why I am linking to it here.
End of an Era: The Codas of James Chace [PDF]
Searching for a usable past at the end of the twentieth century seems increasingly likely to bring us back to the nineteenth, when balance of power politics was regnant. Right now it is China, truculent, assertive, insecure, and sometimes bullying that must be balanced. That China is fast becoming a dynamic world power cannot be doubted. Foreign investment and export-led growth have given China growth rates of 9 percent in real terms over the last 15 years. Over the next decade, China expects to grow at 5 to 7 percent annually, and the size of China’s gross domestic product is likely to rival Japan’s (in purchasing power parity) over this same time span. At this point in history, China’s is the ninth largest economy in the world. Ten years from now it could easily be the second.
Militarily, China is also a rising power. Its military budget is the world’s fourth largest, and it has begun to acquire power-projection capabilities with a significant naval buildup. It contests with Vietnam ownership of islands in the South China Sea; this spring, it responded to Taiwan’s presidential election, with its undertone of Taiwanese independence, by starting “missile tests” in the waters off Taiwan....
Nonetheless, China does not seem bent on expansion as the Soviet Union appeared to be after the Second World War. Beijing has indeed asserted a sphere of influence in the north, and it has annexed Tibet in the south. Otherwise, it is most concerned with maintaining internal unity, despite the disparity of income between the coastal provinces and the hinterlands. It has signed agreements with Moscow designed to quell Russian fears about border disputes, set up a “hot line” linking Chinese and Russians leaders for direct communications, and referred to a Sino-Russian “strategic partnership” for the twenty-first century (whatever that means!).
What is the correct policy for the United States toward this rising power?