I'll tells ya!
Not disagreeing that China’s current strategy sucks, and the BRI approach would have been much better. However, greed and chauvinism has caused much of that to falter, too. The Chinese leverage market access pretty well and I think that they are gradually learning from their missteps- the new office for natural disasters in the South Pacific (or whatever it’s called) is an example of that.The difference is that the US and the UK have sea borders.
Seabourne contested invasions are difficult things, and in the last 1000 years the US and the Japanese are the only ones to have really pulled them off.
China really needs a different defence concept given their massive land borders. Killing their neighbours with kindness and using them as a buffer would probably work pretty well.
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it’s an interesting exercise to try and think of any empire in history that has successfully expanded in a way to support its own interests, based on mutual benefit and kindness.
I would also note that there were many colonial powers in history that have launched successful amphibious ops. The Brits in China being just one of them. Then there was D-Day, Incheon landings in Korea, etc.