There is a blind spot in the US State Department and academia regarding China. They think China equals the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), but it does not ("Extracts on the US-China rivalry," Sept. 1, page 8).
US "hegemony," as frequently cited in CCP propaganda and now apparently accepted by US academia, is very different from Chinese hegemony. The US is an established economic and military global presence. It only has to maintain the present "order" to ensure its interests, while China needs to break into this order to expand its reach.
The US is an established democracy with domestic order, while the CCP struggles to ensure domestic control, maintain its autocratic power and suppress its opposition.
Taiwan is a good example of this flashpoint. Taiwan is already in the US democratic alliance and the commercial sphere. The US only needs to maintain the "status quo" to ensure its presence and interests, while the CCP needs to break that alliance if it is to annex Taiwan and expand its reach into the Pacific, thus gaining control of territory with commercial and military value.
US hegemony at least professes democracy and self-determination and lets host nations decide the course of their own interests, while CCP hegemony amounts to total control, as in Tibet, Hong Kong and a future Taiwan. It cannot afford to do otherwise because of its lack of popular and ideological appeal. Any small loss of control, is like a hole in the dike and will lead to collapse of the system.
Regimes such as the CCP have appeared and disappeared throughout Chinese history. It has only been in power since 1949. The greatest power in China -- as with any other nation -- is the people. US policy needs to focus on countering the CCP and its attitude and foster its destruction if necessary. In other words, war or no war, the CCP must be opposed.
It's up to the CCP to wage war, but it's up to the US to win it.
Regimes such as the CCP surface and survive on the appeasement, hesitation and cowardice of its neighbors who do not stand up to it. The US' enemy -- or "rival," if you will -- is the CCP, not China. China will always be there, the CCP will not.