Rather than fret about an extraregional China, I say bring it on.

The more burdens Beijing shoulders outside the Far East, the more it must disperse finite physical power—diluting the military assets it can apply to any given contingency without leaving commitments elsewhere uncovered. It will have less military might to spare for adventures like grabbing parts of Southeast Asian states’ exclusive economic zones or mounting a challenge to the forward American presence in the Western Pacific.

China, it seems, may soon discover the joys of juggling competing demands on scarce resources and policy energy. Asia is a far less permissive setting than the Americas. Consequently, Beijing may also discover that multitasking is even harder for a global power that inhabits a tough neighborhood, has abundant unfinished business close to home, and has courted few partners and allies to help advance its interests.