The smart brains across the Potomac understand that this is inevitable and possibly something to be highly desired. The U.S. needs a hegemonic successor — our own structural issues, just like those of the British in the 19th century, will not allow us to provide stability indefinitely.
1. China vs. India: the two will need dramatic rapprochement on a number of issues.
2. Human rights. They’re not going to adhere to US norms. China’s government, like Mexico’s PRI of the mid-20c, exists to keep a single party in power. However, an arrangement allowing the issue to be finessed would allow a modus operandi we can live with (without compromising our own values, if we accept the argument that China’s gradual expansion of the middle class will eventually result in increased gov’t transparency, etc.)
3. Taiwan and regional competitors. Japan vs. China is serious. Taiwan vs. China is a strategic inevitability = the Taiwanese balk at spending on their own defense. China vs. Russia? My take is, let the Chinese win. They’re no worse to ethnic minorities than the Russians (both are awful), but the Chinese at least appear to actually be governing, as opposed to Russia, whose strategy for the 21c appears to be recycling Soviet mythology while the life-expectancy continues to plummet.
4. Africa: Chinese dealings with Africa are clearly neo-colonial. That raises issues, one of which is, “do we care?”
5. Opportunity: if China and Japan engage in serious re-armament issues, both will have the muscle to provide international security, easing our responsibilities in that respect. Our responsibilities, otoh, are predicated upon having an economy that can meet them (shades of the 1970s). The ability to say “this isn’t our problem,” just as we did for a while on the piracy issue, could prompt more responsible behavior from our supposed partners, such as the more feckless members in NATO. (The European powers are treated “with contempt” because, by and large, the major European powers are contemptible, contributing little except for moral posturing meant to conceal their utter lack of power.) That in turn may increase our respectability in places that generally like us, but hate seeing us throw our weight around, such as Latin America.