Giving Compass' Take:

• Seth Cropsey analyzes China's efforts to expand its military and economic influence in the Pacific to regain status as the world's top superpower. 

• What would this shift mean for global philanthropy? How will the competition between the United States and China impact the economy of each country and the world? 

• Learn more about China's Belt and Road Initiative

China, especially under President Xi Jinping, seeks a return to what it regards as its rightful position, replacing the U.S. as the world’s dominant economic and military power. Previous U.S. administrations have slouched in the direction of understanding the strategic competition that grows from this ambition but did little. The current U.S. administration gets it, as evidenced by the National Defense Strategy’s identification of China as a major peer competitor.

Another proof is the Department of Defense (DOD) report, “Assessment on U.S. Defense Implications of China’s Expanding Global Access.” It examines how China is modernizing its military by reverse engineering, cyber-espionage and joint ventures that blackmail foreign companies into handing over critical military-use technology. Noted are China’s $1.024 trillion global investments and its $735 billion investment in global construction contracts from 2006 to 2017.

Prominently mentioned in the DOD report’s executive summary is China’s effort to establish military bases in Cambodia and Vanuatu.

A military base in Cambodia would facilitate Chinese naval operations round the bend of the continent, extending its influence from the South China Sea across Southeast Asia and along trade routes connecting the Middle East and China. Cambodia declined.

A Chinese base in the southwest Pacific archipelago of Vanuatu is at least as troubling. Vanuatu’s string of islands lie south of the Solomon Islands, which ring Australia to the east and include Guadalcanal — site of the half-year Allied campaign in 1942-43 to dislodge Japanese forces and preserve lines of communication between the U.S. and Australia. China’s effort to build a military base on Vanuatu broadcasts Beijing’s interest in Oceania, the southwest quadrant of the Pacific that includes Australia and New Zealand.

Read the full article about China's influence by Seth Cropsey at Hudson Institute.