China must choose between kowtowing to domestic nationalism and submitting to a peaceful rise. Lately, nationalist belligerence has ruled the day. Washington is overreacting, encircling China. A latent rivalry ratchets up to dangerous levels.
At its core, ideology fuels the epic struggle between Washington and Beijing. Deeply insecure about its own legitimacy, the Communist Party seeks the subordination of its regional neighbors to appease the nationalist wing of its body politic.