The Guardian published an article by Martin Jacques, currently at the University of Singapore, that echoes what I’ve been saying for the last three years: that Iraq signals the beginning of the decline of the US, and the rise of China. This will only make Taiwan’s situation more precarious.

The world is in the midst of a monumental process of change that, within the next 10 years or so, could leave the US as only the second largest economy in the world after China and commanding, with the rise of China and India, a steadily contracting share of global output. It will no longer be able to boss the world around in the fashion of the neoconservative dream: its power to do so will be constrained by the power of others, notably China, while it will also find it increasingly difficult to fund the military and diplomatic costs of being the world’s sole superpower. If the US is already under financial pressure from its twin deficits and the ballooning costs of Iraq, then imagine the difficulties it will find itself in within two decades in a very different kind of world.

The criminal, and criminally stupid, invasion of Iraq has meant the end of many dreams, from those who watched their loved ones die in Iraq, to those of us here in Asia who knows what a region run by China will mean for human freedom in the East.

UPDATE: On this note, Pacific Island nations are in distress as the US and other western powers vacate and in come the Chinese…news from the latest summit of Pacific island nations…

Sponsored by the Universal Peace Federation, the conference explored the viability of a closer alliance between island nations to protect their natural resources and cultural heritage while promoting sustainable development.

High on the list of concerns was the withdrawal from the islands of interest and investment from their traditional powerful allies — the United States, Australia and New Zealand — while China is rushing in to fill the void with offers of aid and trade.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will arrive in Fiji next week, where the first China-Pacific Island Countries Economic Development and Cooperation Forum will open on April 5. Heads of state of six island nations will travel to Fiji to meet Wen, who is bringing along more than 200 Chinese businessmen whose interests include fishing, agriculture and tourism.

South America, the Pacific, North Asia….Iraq is reverberating everywhere.