Kien Choong writes:

I wonder if Crispin Rovere speaks authoritatively as an expert in Chinese history or is simply pontificating.

My modest understanding of Chinese history is that China has rarely been militarily dominant outside its borders, with much of its history trying to keep the 'barbarians' out including by bribing them rather than trying to dominate. Indeed, China was twice ruled by non-Han dynasties. Where China's superiority lay was its culture or 'soft power' which saw the 'barbarians' adopting Chinese culture.

I really think the Chinese government has no desire to dominate the world militarily. This is not to say there will be no military conflict. Communist China has intervened twice — in Korea and in Vietnam — in response to threats from the US and Soviet Union respectively. Similarly, Israel has initiated military action preemptively numerous times.

Perhaps Crispin speaks authoritatively, in which case I bow to his expertise. But if this is pontification from prejudice, I respectfully suggest that the Editor makes more effort to ensure that The Interpreter is a venue for expressing informed opinion rather than pontification.

It will be interesting to see how far Chinese soft power goes this time. Unlike previous occasions, China today faces other civilisations that are as advanced as its own, if not more so. For some reason, the West has a fascination with China that seems unique. The West can't seem to leave China alone. I trust the two great civilisations will just get along.

Enough of my own pontification!