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Pentagon's even-handed China review

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The Cato Institute sifts through a Pentagon report on mainland China and finds little hysteria:
Perhaps the most striking aspect of the latest report is its tone. It lauds a "cooperative and constructive" relationship that has emerged between the United States and China since the 2001 EP-3 spy plane incident. At the same time, it seems to acknowledge the seriousness of China's warnings about Taiwan. It recognizes China's recent anti-secession law as "a rhetorical counter to the U.S. Taiwan Relations Act," and cites a Chinese general who worries about Taiwan for strategic reasons. In the general's view, reunifying with Taiwan is of "far reaching significance to breaking international forces' blockade against China's maritime security"

America's interest is in managing China's inevitable rise to great power status without needlessly embroiling Americans in a war. Doing so requires a dispassionate assessment of China's views on Taiwan. The DOD report is a good step in that direction. The report acknowledges that controlling Taiwan is a "core interest" for China, and for good reason: aside from the motive of national pride regarding reunification, roughly 80 percent of China's energy imports pass through the waters adjacent to Taiwan.
. . . The chest-beating at the House Armed Services Committee hearing over the Unocal deal should ring alarm bells in American security circles. Demagoguing the China issue may be useful for political purposes, but it can be incredibly damaging to the U.S.-China diplomatic and economic relationship. The fact is, China is a rising great power, and even if we wanted to, there is little we could do to stop it. But by dispassionately assessing China's intent and capabilities, we can accommodate that country's rise in a way that protects American interests and defuses the risk of a conflict. The new tone of the Defense Department's report seems to be a modest step in the right direction.