China often is characterized as our "strategic partner," a nation with goals and dreams similar to those of the United States. We even have embraced Beijing as a contributor to our war on terrorism. The press, academicians, and politicians cite China's insular history and assure us that, despite minor problems, China is a peaceful giant preparing to take its place among the world's great nations. Unfortunately, these assurances dissolve under scrutiny.
They ignore the nature of the communism to which China still subscribes, and their simplistic view of Chinese history omits that nation's consistent pattern of antagonism toward the United States. Those who argue China is our friend refuse to see that Beijing's acquisition of modern weapon systems will allow it to express this antagonism in a new, more confrontational manner. China is neither a strategic nor a trading partner—but a serious threat.