Though I think you make several good points and interesting observations, I respectfully disagree chem. China's foreign policy has been far more aggressive within the last 5 years--and it's been done with the active approval and cheerleading from many within the Chinese population. Are they spoiling for a war? Some, maybe--and I'd even be willing to concede that it's far from a majority of the population. But far more than were spoiling for a fight 5 years ago or 10. The numbers are growing as nationalism is resurgent among the young and urban citizens of China. And that is why every single one of China's neighbors have been scrambling to try and make friends with the US over the last few years, hoping a regional alliance will be a bulwark against a more aggressive Chinese foreign policy.