Re: Declining superpower, soft landing
I'll accept the sincerity of your principles.
We're about as likely to change the internal behavior of China as we were the Soviet Union. And the Samson Option- shutting down world trade and creating a sharp global recession- isn't going to further that end.
The analogy with the George Kennan policies of containment of the Soviet Union is an one with limits. China hasn't historically been expansionist and they are expanding their influence by other means. BTW, Belt and Road appears, thus far, to be a lot less successful than our foreign policy elite had led us to fear. They are also at a demographic tipping point, just as Japan was at the moment when we'd entered into full blown neoliberalism out of a panic about them taking over the world.
With deep trepidation for the heroically brave protesters in Hong Kong, I'll reasonably assert that the billion plus mainland Han Chinese whose economic circumstances have soared over a very short period will not challenge their governance for at least another generation. They could be made to be truculent if that prosperity is threatened
The best takeaway from the Kennan analogy is that the best policy is a long and patient one, even though that deeply frustrated the guys at the stockyard who were always complaining that we didn't let Patton have at 'em.
We won that one. Credit goes primarily to those wise men of yore even if Reagan does deserve credit for holding the thing together long enough for the Soviet Union to finally crumble.