China's rise has transformed geopolitics. The simplest articulation of this new reality is found in the United States' National Security Strategy, which argues that the world has entered "a new era of great power competition." Significantly, that outlook drives thinking around the world, not just in Washington. The European Commission has declared China a "negotiating partner ...economic competitor ... and a systemic rival." Japan has long struggled to find balance in its relations with Beijing; that effort continues.

As China has amassed economic wealth, it has embraced an activist agenda that maximizes its power and influence in the world. That should come as no surprise. China has acquired global interests and a responsible power would use all means — diplomatic and even military — to secure them.

China's "Belt and Road" initiative, underwriting new multilateral institutions like the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank or the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the establishment of a military base in Djibouti and even the acquisition and development of aircraft carriers are all to be expected of a rising power.