Air-Sea Battle and the pivot seem an overreaction to China’s rise, given the number of challenges Beijing already faces.

Westerners are nothing if not breathless about China. Books describing its rise often have titles like When China Rules the WorldContest for SupremacyEclipse(of the U.S. by China), and so on. China is such a preoccupation that the U.S. has now “pivoted” to Asia. And the U.S. Department of Defense, eager to cash-in on the China hype in an era of sequestration and domestic exhaustion with the “Global War on Terror,” tells us now that the U.S. must shift to anAir-Sea Battle concept (ASB).

In a not-so-amazing coincidence, ASB is chock of full of the sorts of costly, high-profile, air and maritime mega-platforms the military-industrial complex adores. China’s single, barely functional aircraft carrier—the second one is not due for awhile—is a god-send to hawks and neo-cons everywhere. Even as the U.S. scales back in the Middle East, defense can seemingly never be cut. Indeed, the terrible irony of the pivot to Asia from the Middle East is that ASB platforms like satellites, drones, up-armored aircraft carriers, stealth jets and littoral ships will cost so much that staying focused on the Middle East may well be less expensive. (For a running debate on ASB, start here.)

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This is my last entry as editor of The Diplomat. As many readers will have spotted from the notice on our website a few weeks ago, I will be leaving to take up a broadcast media role in New York, and so I’ll be handing over the reins at the end of today to Joel Whitney. I wish Joel the best of luck and hope he finds working with The Diplomat as exciting as I have done.

I’ve been involved with The Diplomat for a few years now, first as a freelance contributor when The Diplomat was a print publication based in Sydney, then as part-time web editor, and since September 2009 as full-time editor when the magazine relaunched and moved completely online.

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