Not just the increased speed of movement toward a different world reserve currency than the dollar, or refusal to tolerate criticism of its human rights record, or its open analysis of Alan Greenspan's mistakes in managing the American economy....
Nope. Now Bejing is sending a clear message to President Obama regarding what it sees as the appropriate US foreign policy with respect to Afghanistan.
Originally published in China Daily, this piece by Lin Qinggong is pretty clearly speaking for the old men in Bejing:
The United States should first put an end to the war. The anti-terror war, which the former US administration of George W Bush launched in 2001, has turned out to be the source of ceaseless turbulence and violence in the past years.
To promote much-needed reconciliation among the parties concerned, the US should end its military action. The war has neither brought the Islamic nation peace and security as the Bush administration originally promised, nor brought any tangible benefits to the US itself. On the contrary, the legitimacy of the US military action has been under increasing doubt.
Public opinion within the US on the war has undergone dramatic change. According to a recent poll, opinion in favor of the war has declined from 53 percent in April to 39 percent, while opinion opposed to the war has increased to 58 percent from 46 percent. The US Congress has also cast doubt over the Obama administration's Afghanistan strategy. The opposition from 74 percent Democrats and 70 percent independent votes to the war would be a big restraint on the Obama administration's larger military strides given that the new president cannot afford to bet his political fate on a unpopular war.
Since taking office as president, Obama has been under pressure from the Pentagon for military reinforcements in Afghanistan. The calls of war opponents over that of supporters will give the young US president the best chance to extricate himself from the Pentagon's pressures. If Obama resolutely decides to stop the war, that would not only meet the US public expectations and save more American lives, but also help recover the US' peaceful image and enhance the president's personal political prospects.
Despite the fact that I actually agree with the Chinese that we need to get the hell out of Afghanistan, it is a distrubing development that Bejing not only publishes such dutch uncle advice to the US, but that it has pretty instant credibility around the world.
If you want to look for the nations intent on challenging the declining geo-political dominance of the United States in world affairs, look no further than China, followed fairly closely by Russia and France.