You all are aware of my attitude towards US "elites". I have no respect to their abilities and I have some serious reasons for that. Just take Barbara Boland's piece on Susan Rice in TAC:
“Susan Rice is right in the middle of the road, when you think about foreign policy hands in DC,” said John Glaser, director of foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute, in an interview with The American Conservative. “She has a lot of high level experience in foreign policy, but I’ve never been able to detect a way she stands out as a unique thinker, in that she had something to say about the way she’d prefer the U.S. to go. She says things that are plastic, packaged to be right in the center of the foreign policy consensus in D.C. That’s how I see her: run of the mill, not an extraordinary pick … If she were VP, our foreign policy would not be different than what we’ve seen the past 30 years.”
My issue here is with highlighted in yellow. I don't know what Mr. Glazer means when speaking about "run of the mill, not an extraordinary pick" Susan Rice, but what was observed in the last 30 years in the US is a simple pattern that "not an extraordinary pick" may be the highest grade one can get for a product of the US foreign policy cadre machine. US diplomacy has a stellar record of ultimate and even catastrophic failures and, as a huge body of an empirical evidence shows, is run by people who are "run of the mill". The mill which produces a wholesale incompetence. In the end, we have to go with the facts on the ground and I, personally, do not know nor do I want to know all intricacies of the US foreign policy and national "security" bureaucracy, but their record is dismal. It is dismal because they are incompetent, which is a reflection of a systemic rot in the US, ranging from economy, to military to foreign policy.
Now, this cadre machine which gave us all such "stellar" performers as Vikki Nuland, Mike Pompeo or, for that matter, John Bolton, among very many similar hacks, wants to do something about China. Well, the intellectual capabilities of this bureaucracy are extremely limited, which is expected from people intellectually malnourished through the narrative of American exceptionalism. One cannot expect emergence of any creative and competent approach to a diplomacy with China from this group. Not at all, primarily because those people, being badly educated, are one trick ponies and they know only one big thing (the fox and the hedgehog dichotomy comes to mind immediately)--that Cold War is good and because they convinced themselves that they "won" the first Cold War against the USSR, they may try the same recipe with China.
Never mind that such an approach is a dead-end for the United States. In the world where the United States is finest everything there ever was, sticking to cliches and fallacies is a natural modus operandi. And again, they are one trick ponies there, because they don't know anything else. Oh, I am sure many of them may drop couple of names of some obscure philosophers or artists at some important soiree in D.C. They may even learn couple-three foreign languages, but they still remain one trick ponies, because no matter how they could be identified, as foxes or hedgehogs, they still think that the US can "win" in the Cold War with China. I am positive (not really) that broadcasting pictures from Portland riots, or of homeless in the American cities, or statistics about US economy must convince Chinese that they should discard thousands of years of their culture and start a pursuit of happiness in a very American manner. But, of course, this is not how China wants to "fight" the Cold War with the US. Just one small illustration.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russia exported 396,000 tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to China in June, while US exports amounted to 340,000 tonnes during the same period, Bloomberg reported on Monday, citing data from China’s General Administration of Customs.According to the customs data released on Sunday, Russia’s LNG exports to China increased by 20.7 percent compared to May figures, while US exports were 2.4 percent higher than in May.So, one trick ponies now must rush before China reaches a level of prowess which may challenge the United States, not just economically--the United States already lost that war--but militarily. And the United States doesn't have much time, nor, for that matter, viable military tools to prevent this. The predictors are not there for the US, nor will be the Chinese market if push comes to shove. Such as market for Boeing. This is the video of Russian PD-14 engines being installed at the MC-21 aircraft.
Any conflict against China over Taiwan would result in American service men and women being killed, likely in large numbers. China’s military has been built over the past two decades specifically to deter the U.S. from attacking them–via anti-access, area denial (A2/AD)–but if deterrence fails, to build a defense force that would be able to sink our ships, knock out our satellites, and shoot down our fighters from great distances; if it ever came to a ground war, they have more than 375 million military-aged males from which to draw for their Army.
I am not sure those one trick ponies can grasp the scale of even "limited" conflict over Taiwan, forget about if they try to "engage" Russia in addition, but reality of the US, unlike it was in the Cold War 1.0, being already bankrupt, economically and militarily, should be conveyed to those one trick ponies in the, most likely futile, attempt to explain to them that hospital patient on crutches and bandages is in no position to threaten a healthy martial artist, especially one carrying a gun. But there is no hope, this generation of American "elites" is one trick pony which is incapable to learn and one can only hope that this cabal of incompetents will fade away and, maybe, some new cadres will emerge, the ones willing to learn and able to take into account the state of the United States which is so bad that it is a step away from becoming, as James Kunstler put it, a smoldering cinder.