Kishore Mahbubani’s discussion of the percolating power struggle between the United States and China (March 5) was interesting but left out probably the biggest “ingredient” that explains why China continues to swallow “bitter pills” in its “lack of response” to U.S. actions.

Among all foreign holders of Treasury debt — according to the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve Board — China’s share rose from 6 percent in 2000 to 27 percent in 2010. Our arrogance in the United States would suggest an attitude of “of course it would — we are the only viable option,” while the reality is that China is stockpiling obligations in order to handcuff us at any future sessions at the bargaining table.

Why we do not seem to realize that we are backing ourselves into a corner with every treasury bond and note issued and every increase in the debt ceiling is a mystery to me. And while Japan’s share was reduced (to 20 percent, from 30 percent) over the same period, the fact that two countries alone hold debt roughly equal to all the other countries combined should give us great pause.

Dennis Williams, Stillwater