In a smartphone world it’s easy to see China rise, but have we forgotten our other senses? This exercise in think tank voyeurism has become a distracting mirage, from CSIS’s aerial photos of the Great Wall of Sand to the Lowy Institute’s Technicolor chart of China’s worldwide diplomatic reach. It’s all as eye-popping as Superman’s red cape: Look! China’s so high! It’s a carrier! It’s a plane! It’s Suuu-per Missile! And then RAND’s watchful eye scoops it all up, with a ringside boxing judge’s “scorecard” for all to view.
But maybe it’s our unblinking, screen-obsessed eyes that deceive us. Instead of focusing on the mano a mano with China, perhaps we should consider another Big Red Rise: Netflix. Because when we do, we’ll find the third offset is more than gadgets, and really about the intersection of our allies and technology, underpinned by deep defense diplomacy. That said, on with the show.
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