Presently, American intellectuals and our military leaders appear to be making the same mistakes that intellectuals and military leaders made during the Cold War. There's the same economic praise and the same dire warnings of national security threats-- and the same calls to spend more money in an arms race.
We now know that during the Cold War the Russians had no intentions of starting a war with the U.S. We also now know that the economy throughout the USSR was fragile and always headed toward collapse. Underneath the hype regarding the threat from China, like in the Cold War, the facts tell a different story.
There's no indication that China is doing anything but protecting its interests. China might be going overboard in how the country is spending money, but there's no indication that China is a military threat to America. Is there any reason to beleive that China has imperialist ambitions? It's pretty clear that imperialism is pretty much a thing of the past. Even if a country like China surprised the world and started taking control of other countries, it could never succeed, and Chinese leaders know this. China certainly wants to expand its economic influence, but so does America -- most industrialized countres want to be influential players in the global economy.
American intellectuals seem to think that China has developed some kind of new Economic Machine that produces all the capital it needs to do anything it wants to do. There's nothing new about China's command and control economy, and there's, unfortunately, nothing new about how China oppresses the majority of her people either. As Russia experienced during the height of its command and control, short-term successes, economic success can be fleeting if economic growth is not accompanied by economic freedom. Europe and America are experiencing the same lesson. Command and control can create short bursts of economic growth, even for 6 or 7 decades as in the USSR, although much of that time was spent declining from a high, heading toward collapse -- in reality, the "growth" was more like a couple of decades. Japan experienced the same rise and fall, and mainly because of the command and control aspects.
We should either ignore China's bubble building or, in friendship, privately warn them of our experience (to do it publicy would be laughable since we depend on their credit), but the last thing we should do is get in an arms race. We also don't need to fear that China is going to buy and control the world -- pretty soon, I imagine, they'll be much too occupied trying to control their own country.