Strategic argumnents on the high frontier have been smothered by the decade of war that exposed the underbelly of the West. Hunkered down in the Muslim world left the United States distracted whilst China built up its confidence and began to dominate its periphery, through the development of "core interests". These have now expanded to the South China Sea and the Senkaku (Diaoyu) islands: an aggressive approach designed to create facts on the ground: a Chinese presence that counteracts the rhetoric of Obama's pivot to the Pacific (described by its security critics in South East Asia as more of a useless pirouette).
China, as yet, is unable to challenge US military dominance in a straight fight. Therefore, they rely on asymmetric skills to leverage their power. The use of hacking, aggression against poorer neighbours and a desire to dominate space. To this end, they have set their sites on establishing a new space race with the United States and developing satellite weapons that could seriously damage America's capability to make war.
More worrying are the cultural differences between China and the West in regards to deterrence. China defines deterrent actions as a form of coercion: designed to compel an opponent to submit through a an escalating strategy of force stopping short of war. The West's traditional vision of deterrence is a chess game: an open strategy designed to avoid compulsion or any form of action: reinforcing the status quo. The potential misunderstanding between a revisionist and a stationary power are clear.
There is no doubt that Chinese dominance of the high frontier would radically alter the international system and undermine the rules based liberal order promoted by the West. Such actions need to be deterred as pre-emption will not be viewed as an order to submit by the United States.