A few weeks ago on The Skeptics, Justin Logan authored a post that highlighted a major dilemma in the U.S.-China relationship: how can America contain China’s rise as a military power, particularly in East Asia, if it simultaneously provides the largest market for Chinese exports? China’s rise as a military power is only possible because of its economic growth and the U.S. is in inextricably linked to this. U.S.-China trade is absolutely vital to both countries economies, but it is also what will allow China allocate more wealth toward their military.
Chinese President Hu Jintao’s recent visit to Washington and Secretary of Defense Gates’s visit to China the prior week, highlights this dilemma well. While Secretary Gates had mixed results attempting to forge stronger ties with China's militarily, President Obama proudly announced new economic deals with China. Secretary Gates’s trip was mired by the apparently out-of-left-field flight test of a Chinese stealth fighter. And this of course riled up anti-China hawks who feel this is enough evidence for the Pentagon to continue weapons procurement aimed at preparing for conflict with Beijing.