Minxin Pei in The Washington Post:
As China gains on the world’s most advanced economies, the country excites fascination as well as fear — particularly in the United States, where many worry that China will supplant America as the 21st century’s superpower. Many ask how China has grown so much so fast, whether the Communist Party can stay in power and what Beijing’s expanding global influence means for the rest of us. But to understand China’s new role on the world stage, it helps to rethink several misconceptions that dominate Western thinking.
1. China’s rise is marginalizing American influence in Asia.
Just the opposite. Certainly, China’s power in Asia is growing; its economy is now the biggest in the region, and China is the largest trading partner for every Asian nation. And its military modernization has made the People’s Liberation Army a more lethal fighting force.
But instead of marginalizing or supplanting U.S. influence, China’s expanding power is pushing most Asian countries closer to Washington — and elevating America’s status. Uncle Sam’s presence is still welcome because it prevents a regional power from dominating its neighbors and promotes strategic balance. Today, the more power China gains, the more critical the U.S. commitment to the region becomes, and the greater influence Washington exercises. More: