Huntsman on China, or why pragmatism doesn't sell headlines. Also why possibility of cyber-war with China is overblown.

I’ve been saying before that all the furore over Chinese academics’, senior military, etc. comments in Chinese newspapers are usually for internal, rather than external consumption. Of course this doesn’t go down well with those that tend to simplify China to be a large, well-oiled and fantastically operated government machine. I’m sure the Chinese leadership would love nothing less. Truth, of course, is much different.

Mr Huntsman highlighted the unprecedented leadership change that China is about to undergo, with by his count around 70% of the top 200 jobs in the Chinese government likely to change hands over the next couple of years. He thinks those currently in charge in China are increasingly preoccupied with the threat of domestic unrest rather than engaging in aggression abroad. The fact that the Chinese government now spends more on domestic security than on its military “tells you who they most fear”.

Nonetheless, the “biggest hole” in current relations between China and America is that their senior military leadership seldom meet; something he would clearly wish to change. He also wants China and America to agree to “rules of the road” for cyber spying, to define what is acceptable and what is not—a tacit admission that both sides engage in this sort of digital espionage.

From The Economist’s Democracy in America blog.

I know cyber-war is all the rage, but the world and the reality does not neatly fall into the boxes that cyber-war fanatics so desire.