In other words, regardless of intentions, capabilities are a threat.
No one doubts China’s increasing economic might, and bar some major crisis, it is expected to become the world’s largest economy over the next couple of decades. It is also a nuclear weapons state, and allocating huge budgets for its military.
A candid discussion I had with a young Chinese scholar and journalist at an editor’s conference in Jakarta a couple of years ago, however, was informative.
After stating that China would consider a war only if its core interests were threatened, he went to argue that the United States was, and would continue to remain, the dominant military power for a long time. He also said conventional warfare, where you captured, secured and eventually administered "enemy territory" was becoming increasingly redundant. After a brief discourse on asymmetrical warfare, he asked: Have you seen Die Hard 4?
This is a movie where a criminal group hacks into the American power and electronic systems, cutting off power and disrupting everything from traffic signals to the stock market’s network.
Image: International poster of the Die Hard 4.