Does America fear facing down China because a political and economic collision with Beijing would entail an admission by the United States that our vision of a world of democratic nations all engaged in peaceful free trade under a rules-based regime was a willful act of self-delusion?
What China is about is as old as the history of man. She is a rising ethno-national state doing what such powers have always done: put their own interests ahead of all others, suppress ethnic minorities like Tibetans and Uighurs, and crush religious dissenters like Christians and Falun Gong.
There is no New World Order. Never was. The old demons—chauvinism and ethno-nationalism—are not ancient history. They are not extinct. They are with us forever. And America is not going to be able to deny reality much longer or put off facing up to what China is all about.
Given her current size and disposition, one day soon we are going to have to stop feeding the tiger. And start sanctioning it.