Robert D. Kaplan opines in yesterday’s New York Times that the "ultimate strategic effect of the Iraq war has been to hasten the arrival of the Asian Century." Whether Iraq is the cause (any of the philosopher’s four) is not really the point ("hasten" may be correct). The point is that the Pacific Ocean is already a very busy place, and it will become very interesting, and dangerous, and the cause of that danger, despite Kaplan’s attempt at indirection, is China. The good news out of all this? Kaplan’s side point that we need more multilaterialism is too opaque. We have made allies with India (one of the Bush administration’s least noticed achievements) and we have very good relations with Australia and South Korea (I would also add that our good relations with Mongolia is related to the China problem). Furthermore, we have not discouraged the Japanese from rearming; and they are. But it is likely that my children’s yet unborn children will have to deal with China’s rise, in Asia, both in water and land. Save this essay.