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America, an Irresistible Force Confronts China, an Immovable Object

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U.S., China and the world by

A tale of two countries: some years ago China and the U.S. were traveling down the same road, with America in the lead, when they came to a fork in the road. The U.S., saw the sign marked "military dominance", and rushed down the left branch. China, after studying both options, traveled down the right branch marked "Economic supremacy."

This tale accurately describes how China and America are rapidly heading in totally opposite directions, with two different objectives and two distinctly different strategies. China is using its resources to become the world's #1 economic power while those of the U.S. remain largely concentrated on remaining the world's military superpower.

What we have here is a growing confrontation between these two world powers and their opposite philosophies in critically important regions of the world, specifically, Eurasia and Central and South Asia. Now while this would appear to be a struggle for supremacy between China and the U.S. recent events are making it very clear that far more is involved.

There is another player in this geopolitical chess game. Russia has now joined with China, thus forming a very powerful alliance to resist the U.S.'s intentions in this resource rich region of the world. Either one of these countries would present the U.S. with a formidable challenge to achieving its objectives but, together, they could be considered an immovable obstacle.

If we think more deeply about what is going on and how this situation has reached this tenuous point, the reasons become quite clear. For some time now the U.S. has been attempting, with its NATO partners, to encircle Russia with its military power. And more recently it has also decided to follow that same strategy relative to China when President Obama initiated his Asian Pivot to begin the process of encircling China with military power. Good luck with that.

Just recently, reacting to the mounting influence of the U.S. in Ukraine affairs, Russia's President Putin, without causing any military confrontation, greatly strengthened his country's alliance with Crimea and, thereby, assured Russia's continuing control over its strategic naval base at Sebastopol, as well as its access to the Black Sea and beyond. While this clever chess move was being made the U.S. and NATO could only stand by and watch.

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So while the U.S. pursues its objective of encircling China and Russia with military power those two adversaries are reacting to these moves with their own counter-strategy, that is, encircling the U.S. interests across Eurasia and Central Asia with their growing economic power. They have no intention of challenging America with military power because they are not about to ignite a world war but they are doing it with the force of their economic power that they strongly believe is a far better strategy.

What we have here could be accurately described as: America, the irresistible force confronts China and Russia, two immovable objects. Now let's take a look at how these two distinctly opposite geopolitical strategies are working and the probability of success for each.

Everything the U.S. does in these increasingly important regions of the world revolves around military power; from Afghanistan to Pakistan in the southern Asian region, to the alliance with NATO countries to the West and those in between. China, on the other hand, is concentrating on positive and constructive development projects in various countries, making friends, not enemies.

China is following a concrete plan to build, construct, and expand its economic presence all over the world and especially in these regions; some might refer to what they doing as building an economic empire. As a recent article in the Asian Times article states, "It's building not one, but myriad Silk Roads, far-reaching webs of hi-speed railways, highways, pipelines, ports, and fiber-optic networks across huge parts of Eurasia. These include a Southeast Asian road, a Central Asian road, an Indian Ocean 'maritime highway' and even a high-speed rail line through Iran and Turkey reaching all the way to Germany."

For those who are not familiar with the term Silk Road here's a definition from "An ancient trade route between China and the Mediterranean Sea extending some 6,440 km (4,000 mi) and linking China with the Roman Empire. Marco Polo followed the route on his journey to Cathay."

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What China is doing, its relentless march to world economic supremacy, is reminiscent of a quote from an old horror movie when the really scary main character makes this statement, "Step by step, inch by inch." That's China, low key but relentless in advancing its economic agenda. Meanwhile the U.S. government goes around the world acting like a bull in a china shop, from one military confrontation to another, seemingly obsessed with spreading its military presence.

Here's an article that indicates that China is now in the process of implementing its 12th Five Year Plan. Talk about planning ahead, China seems to be following a technique that has been commonly used in the corporate world called Management by Objectives, which is self-explanatory. Does America have a Five Year Plan? Well, based on this government's reactive rather than proactive way of doing things, I would venture to say that such planning is non-existent.

Trying to encircle China and Russia with military power is most certainly a totally misguided plan and strategy which might be called biting off far more than you can chew. Or it might be like trying to wrestle a crocodile and an alligator at the same time. When in American history have we seen a foreign policy that is, by its very actions, not only helping to creating a close alliance between two adversaries but seems to be greatly strengthening it at every turn?

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Michael Payne is an independent progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues; and especially with the great dangers involved with the proliferation of perpetual war, the associated defense (more...)

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You can draw more flies with honey than you can wi... by Silverpegasus on Thursday, May 29, 2014 at 1:47:51 PM
Short, insightful and to the point. ... by michael payne on Thursday, May 29, 2014 at 4:29:27 PM
So what is the lesson to be learned in this confro... by michael payne on Thursday, May 29, 2014 at 1:50:28 PM
Interesting article ___ When the non-aligned or BR... by urb musak on Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 9:25:06 PM
Hi Michael,As always, I look forward to your artic... by George C on Thursday, May 29, 2014 at 5:51:23 PM
George C: I am a great admirer of Andrew Bacevich ... by michael payne on Thursday, May 29, 2014 at 6:52:12 PM
I always look forward to your articles. You have e... by K V Ramani on Friday, May 30, 2014 at 8:36:39 AM
Thanks for your comments. This, unfortunately, is ... by michael payne on Friday, May 30, 2014 at 10:17:48 AM
America is the great contradiction of our times. I... by K V Ramani on Friday, May 30, 2014 at 8:53:55 PM
K V: I'm sorry to have to contradict this presiden... by michael payne on Friday, May 30, 2014 at 9:19:16 PM
Liked your earlier article comparing the US with S... by K V Ramani on Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 9:42:30 AM
China is, unquestionably, on the rise; it has a cl... by Michael Dewey on Friday, May 30, 2014 at 9:52:42 AM
How long before the American people understand we ... by Michael Dewey on Friday, May 30, 2014 at 10:18:24 AM
Sometimes I wonder how the American government cou... by Paul Easton on Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 1:18:30 AM
Michael's analysis on this is accurate. What Chin... by Doc McCoy on Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 1:48:57 AM