To THE EDITOR:
The existing world order led by the United States since the end of World War II is being challenged by China and its authoritarian system. The West is becoming fragmented, with its unity broken by a split between the right and the left which has paralyzed progress over issues such as immigration and trade, and led to lack of agreement on strategic direction.
In contrast, China is seen as dynamic and progressive while lifting millions out of poverty. Meanwhile, the West's middle class is shrinking, as many are not benefiting from globalization. Wealth is shifting from the West to the East. China's economic growth rate is in the range of 6 percent or more, while that of the United States is around 2 percent.
Freedom House reports that freedom globally has eroded for thirteen consecutive years. Democracy is imploding in the Philippines, Turkey, Hungary, and Poland.
An example of China's progress and growing influence is the dynamic Asian Infrastructure Development Bank with more than eighty members, versus the less dynamic International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. China recently demonstrated its strength and influence by establishing its 16+1 initiative--a cooperation agreement with eleven Central and Eastern European EU member states and five Balkan states--in Europe's backyard, despite objections by the European Union. Over time, Chinese investments in these countries will build influence to China's advantage when the new silk road arrives.
China continues to expand geographically not only in the East and South China Seas, but has now set its sights on the Arctic with its natural resources and potential Atlantic-to-Pacific passage.
Response by the West in general and the United States in particular to these incursions has been weak. China has increased its naval objectives not only with an extensive expansion of its vessel capabilities, but by following naval strategist Alfred Mahan's strategic principle of building forward bases which now include Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Djibouti. Indonesia has been approached by China for port facilities at two locations. China is many years away from challenging U.S. naval supremacy, but it is making substantial progress.
China recently made strategic infrastructure investment proposals in Pakistan for $55 billion and the Philippines for $25 billion. These investments will build influence over time.
The United States is trapped dealing with the Iran and North...