Do Chinese warships go to the Gulf of Mexico?” That’s an interesting rhetorical question and it was one asked by an angry foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian. It was in response to the USS John S. McCain having sailed through the Taiwan Strait this week. There is, of course, a simple and politically neutral answer. The United States is a global power and China is at most a regional power. That’s why. China blames ‘aggressive US’ for humanitarian disasters around globe Undiplomatically, Zhao said the US had seen only 16 years of peace in its 250-year history and had frequently fought wars under false pretences. “Back then, the United States fought over a bottle of washing powder and a fake video as evidence,” he said. “In wars against the sovereign states of Iraq and Syria, they caused countless civilian casualties and the break-up of countless families.” Being the world’s hegemon means it can trample through your front yard and backyard and walk into your home wreaking havoc, all done with impunity. Not only that; it’s done for your own good, to liberate you from tyranny and offer you the precious gift of freedom and democracy. It takes work and commitment to make the world safe for democracy; you need to fight, literally, for it around the world, across decades, even a century or two. It’s to uphold the rules-based international system. US lawmakers prepare a sweeping effort to counter China Russia knows it, China knows it. If Russia tried to expand a military presence to Canada or Mexico, you can be sure Washington wouldn’t think twice about taking over large chunks of territory from its neighbours. But the US and Nato have extended their alliance’s forces close to the Russian borders, despite a previous American guarantee not to do so. Sure enough, the Russians invaded Ukraine, and took over Crimea. And the Americans got indignant. What did they expect? China’s infamous nine-dash line is no more or less rational or moral than the American Monroe Doctrine, demarcating their respective spheres of influence in their own regions. The Americans have had it for almost two centuries. The Chinese, by comparison, are making a recent claim, despite its historical justifications, and are being contested by neighbouring states. China can’t take a walk in its own backyard (South China Sea) or in its own house (Hong Kong) without being jumped on by everyone because it has yet to win recognition as the big alpha in its own neighbourhood, let alone the world.