Friedman on Globalization

“I believe my kids and your junior officers are going to grow up in a world where the biggest threats to America are the weakness of Russia, the weakness of China, and the weakness of Japan as these countries go through the wrenching adjustment to the globalization system.”   Thomas Friedman made this statement in a luncheon speech in Arlington, VA, before the 27th Institute of Foreign Policy Analysis (IFPA) – Fletcher Conference, November 15, 2000.1   The IFPA invited Friedman explain his perspective of globalization as outlined in his book The Lexus and The Olive Tree.2   The purpose of this essay is to contradict Friedman’s assertion one of the biggest threats to the United States is China’s weakness.   China is an emerging political, military, and economic power in the world today.   We are in a world where one of the biggest threats to the United States today and in the future is not a weak China, but a strong China.  
    China’s quick adaptation to the global environment since the turn of the century has strengthened its political relevance in the current international climate.   President Obama’s specifically mentions China by name eleven times in his National Security Strategy 2010.3   He mentions the importance of diplomatic engagement of other countries.   The basis of that engagement will be shared interests and values leading to further security and prosperity.   President Obama cites China as one of the “key centers of influence” the United States must work with to build a deeper relationship.  
    The guidance set forth in the National Security Strategy 2010 regarding recognizing China as a political power needing current and future political focus is evident in derivative national reports and estimates.   The Secretary of Defense specifically labels China in Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense an “emergence as a regional power having the potential to affect the U.S. economy and our security in a variety of ways”.4   He...