... Trump believes that if present trends are not reversed, China couldThought-provoking and, in my humble view, spot on.
in theory catch and surpass the US. And as an authoritarian, anti-democratic superpower, China's global dominance would not be analogous to the American-led postwar order, but would be one in which China follows one set of rules and imposes a quite different set on everyone else—perhaps one day similar to the system imposed on its own people within China.
China does not honor patents and copyright laws. It still exports knock-off and counterfeit products. It steals research and development investment through a vast array of espionage rings. It manipulates its currency.
Its government companies export goods at below the cost of production to grab market share. It requires foreign companies to hand over technology as a price of doing business in China. And, most importantly, it assumes, even demands, that Western nations do not emulate its own international roguery—or else.
The result is a strange paradox in which the United States and Europe assume that China is an international commercial outlaw, but the remedy is deemed worse than the disease. So, many Western firms make enormous profits in China through joint projects, and so many academic institutions depend on China students, and so many financial institutions are invested in China, that to question its mercantilism is to be derided as a quaint nationalist, or a dangerous protectionist, or a veritable racist. China is an astute student of the Western science of victimology and always poses as a target of Western vindictiveness, racism, or puerile jealousy.
Global naval dominance is not in the Chinese near future. Its naval strategy is more reminiscent of the German Kriegsmarine of 1939 to 1941, which sought to deny the vastly superior Royal Navy access at strategic points without matching its global reach. China is carving out areas where shore batteries and coastal fleets can send showers of missiles to take out a multibillion-dollar American carrier. And its leasing of 50 and more strategically located ports might serve in times of global tensions as transit foci for armed merchant ships. But for now they do not have the capabilities of the American carrier or submarine fleet or expeditionary Marine forces—so the point is to deny America reach, not to emulate its extent.
An outlaw nation that seeks to revive the idea that it is the "center" of civilization and that all other nations owe some sort of obeisance to it needs to get a better grip on how cooperative engagement works to make the world better for all of us.
Sadly, with Europe's apparent lack of interest in becoming anything more than an administrative, politically correct gaggle, once again the key player in calling out China's outrageous contact is the U.S.
UPDATE: Well, at least one article in Foreign Affairs says Europe is going to resist China in some way Why Europe Is Getting Tough on China:
. . .an effective coalition to manage China’s rise can no longer center on Asian security partnerships alone but must now include the world’s principal concentrations of economic power, technological progress, and liberal democratic values. Among these are many of the United States’ partners in the Indo-Pacific, such as Australia, India, and Japan. But the European Union and its major member states are also becoming increasingly critical U.S. counterparts in dealing with China.It's always about the money and it always seems to come very late.
As next week’s EU-China summit approaches, Europe has begun to fundamentally rethink its China policies. The shift is so substantial than even seasoned Asia hands have described it as a “revolution.” Despite differences among the EU member states, the overall thrust of the change is in convergence with the new U.S. approach. As recently as three years ago, member states resisted even modest changes to strengthen EU trade defense instruments, despite the flood of Chinese steel imports. The notion of an EU-level mechanism to scrutinize Chinese investments was still anathema to most European leaders. If the United States in early 2016 had suggested closer coordination in restricting Chinese access to Western technologies, a common public front on China’s non-market practices, or cooperation on infrastructure financing as a counterbalance to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), European allies would have responded with a bemused rebuff.
The same logic that has driven the U.S. policy shift, however, has led Europe to change its stance. In March, European heads of state debated a new European Commission strategy paper that describes China as an “economic competitor in the pursuit of technological leadership, and a systemic rival promoting alternative models of governance.” The proposals in the paper would change policies in areas ranging from procurement to data, antitrust rules to telecommunications, industrial strategy to artificial intelligence.
What accounts for the shift in European thinking? No doubt political and security developments have played a role—from China’s deepening authoritarianism under President Xi Jinping to its efforts to extend political influence in Europe. The strongest drivers of the change, however, are economic. Europe has lost hope that China will reform its economy or allow greater access to its markets, and at the same time, China’s state-backed and state-subsidized actors have advanced in sectors that Europe considers critical to its economic future.