What may help America in countering Chinese ambitions, at least temporarily, is the current diplomatic conflict between China and India. David Blair, covering Chinese affairs for London's Daily Telegraph, recently wrote, "India, revitalized and self-confident, sees itself as a barrier to the vaulting ambition of its age-old rival [China]" (The Sunday Telegraph, Sept. 14, 2008).
Advantageous for New Delhi is that " India sits like an ancient aircraft carrier across Chinese shipping lanes." According to The Telegraph, "The two giant powers are long-standing rivals who share a disputed 2,100-mile border and are waging a diplomatic struggle for influence in Asia . They fought a border war in 1962, which ended in victory for China and left Beijing in control of 16,500 square miles of territory claimed by India" (Sept. 16, 2008).
China has a potential Achilles' heel in the Strait of Malacca, the shipping lanes that may be the site for a future military conflict between India and the Chinese republic. In contrast, India worries that Chinese courting of Pakistan and Myanmar will lead to the encirclement of the subcontinent nation. The United States is cooperating with and supporting India, as the two countries have obvious mutual interests in countering and containing Chinese ambitions.
David Blair concluded in another of his Telegraph articles that "China and India, which together comprise almost 40% of the world's population, harbour a longstanding rivalry which could shake the world in future decades" (Sept. 16, 2008). (Sources: The Sunday Telegraph [London], Telegraph.co.uk.)