Was it too much of a stretch talking about the Opium Wars to describe what the US wants from China today?
Sara spent several minutes describing how European gunships forced China to accept the opium trade in the middle 1800's by signing treaties giving sovereignty to Western nations. The US military buildup in the South China Sea might be seen as a similar attempt by the US to control China's trade. We are looking at a century and a half of attempts to dominate China, something our media would never remind its readers of.
Why now for renewed US imperialism in the region? "Free trade" has always meant the right to dictate terms favorable to Western powers. The right to sell opium to the Chinese in exchange for silk, spices, and precious metals was won through military force, with Western gunboats patrolling China's major rivers. The introduction of opium had already devastated large areas of China, but to the Western powers, any trade that benefited their corporations was morally justified.
So the "pivot to Asia" is really old news. China is asserting the right to trade with the rest of the world without Western intervention. Send in the gunships!
US aggression, however, is a dangerous provocation when both countries are armed with nuclear weapons.