Last year, when China broke off military-to-military talks following the Obama administration's long-expected sale of defensive arms to Taiwan, a high American official asked his Chinese counterpart why China reacted so strongly to something it had accepted in the past. The answer: "Because we were weak then and now we are strong." On a recent visit to Beijing, I asked a Chinese expert what was behind the new assertiveness in China's foreign policy. His answer: "After the financial crisis, many Chinese believe we are rising and the U.S. is declining."
Nye, Jr., Joseph S. "U.S.-China Relationship: A Shift in Perceptions of Power." Los Angeles Times, April 6, 2011.