One part of the world wants to behead us individually, while the other part...
...hopes to enslave us.
The method forms a logical sequence:
Stage One: start by conceding all that must be conceded to the superior power including tribute, in order to avoid damage and obtain whatever forbearance is offered. But this in itself entangles the ruling class of the still-superior power in webs of material dependence that reduce its independent vitality and strength.
Stage Two: offer equality in a privileged bipolarity that excludes all lesser powers, or “G-2” in current parlance. That neutralizes the still powerful Other party, and isolates the manipulated soon-to-be former equal from all its potential allies, preventing from balancing China with a coalition.
Stage Three: finally, when the formerly superior power has been weakened enough, withdraw all tokens of equality and impose subordination.
Until the Chinese government decided—very prematurely I believe—to awaken the world to its classically imperial territorial ambitions by demanding the cession of lands, reefs, rocks, and sea waters from India, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam (demands that disturb and damage the concurrent Tianxia narrative of an alternative and more harmonious state system, disseminated even within the confines of Stanford University 5), it was making much progress towards Stage Two, the stage of equality preparatory to the final stage of subordination.
Of this progress—now interrupted, one may hope—one example suffices, though Zbigniew Brzezinski and Robert Zoellick among many others have expressed similar notions: at the end Dr. Henry Kissinger’s very widely read On China, after 526 pages of historical retrospectives and personal reminiscences, definite prescriptions are offered, summarized in the heading “Toward a Pacific Community,” i.e. a harmonious US-Chinese “G-2” that logically proceed from his relentlessly benign assessment of Chinese intentions. Dr. Kissinger’s G-2 is identical to that relationship very persistently advocated by Chinese officials high and low, and by senior advisors such as Zhen Bijian (郑必坚) of “Peaceful Rise” fame.
That Stage Two could be achieved only by persuading the still-powerful Other party to accept equality and its limitations, most notably the isolation of the soon-to-be former equal from all its potential allies, preventing it from balancing China with a coalition. Indeed, Dr. Kissinger calls for the creation of a Chinese-American “commonwealth”: one “which would enable [sic] other major countries such as Japan, Indonesia, Vietnam, India and Australia to participate in the construction of a system perceived as joint rather than polarized between ‘Chinese’ and ‘American’ blocs.” But Japan, Indonesia, Vietnam, India, and Australia are hardly likely to share Dr. Kissinger's optimism. Deprived of American support in facing Chinese demands, forced to become the objects of a Chinese-American entente, today’s actual and potential allies would have to make their own accommodations, eliminating the one and only potential long-term counterweight to China, the coalescence of all lesser powers menaced by its expansionism. As the man said, history need not be remembered but must still be lived.//