A common theme in the international media and academic papers emphasizes China’s rise vs. America’s decline and presents China as the coming superpower. However, the question is how China can lead the globe if it is not trusted in its own turf. So far, Beijing has failed to lead in Asia, making it unlikely that it will be able to do so internationally without major changes in policy. China’s closest neighbors have asked its main challenger, the United States, to maintain its military presence in the region to balance that of the rising Middle Kingdom. They regard China as incapable of adjusting to internationally accepted norms, setting multilaterally respectable standards, improving its relationship with the west, and compromising on border issues, the environment, regional cooperation and principally hegemony over the South China Sea, which China regards as its lake.