Relax: China's not taking over the world

This underscores America’s deeper and more diversified engagement not only with Africa, but many other parts of the world, via international institutions as well as humanitarian aid and military assistance. Despite high-profile ties with Zimbabwe and Sudan, China has little military presence in Africa and almost none in Latin America, and is still overshadowed by the U.S. even within its own backyard. Last month in Hanoi, for instance, the U.S. was a welcome presence at the ASEAN Regional Forum, Asia’s largest security meeting, amid growing concerns about China’s military buildup and its claims to the disputed Paracel and Spratly islands, which are also claimed in part by Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Obama plans to invite ASEAN leaders to a second U.S. ASEAN meeting in the fall, and ASEAN foreign ministers have invited the U.S. to a regional dialogue, known as the East Asia Summit, which diplomats reportedly said would help counter Chinese influence in the region. Washington recently boosted humanitarian and military aid to Laos and Cambodia and removed them from a trade blacklist, which should attract more U.S. investment. And in July Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister Pham Gia Khiem said America and Vietnam are “leaving the past behind” as they strengthen commercial and military ties. Their two-way trade leapt from $2.91 billion in 2002 to $15.4 billion last year. The U.S. has made similar progress with Indonesia, signing an agreement in April that will allow greater American capital flows into Southeast Asia’s largest economy…

What’s more, the U.S. still tends to be the country to call when there is trouble. Consider the terrorist bombings in Kampala, Uganda, that left more than 85 people dead this summer. President Yoweri Museveni had been trading barbs with Washington prior to the incident about the pace of democratic reforms in his country. Museveni had also been tightening relations with China. But after the bombings, he swiftly turned not to Beijing but to Washington for assistance, and received $24 million in manpower and technical resources.