If China’s attempt to buy an American oil company does nothing else, it should force the US to decide how it plans to protect its economy in a world where it is no lon-ger the only powerhouse. With China on a buying binge for raw materials to feed its ever-expanding economy, it was inevitable that it would eventually go beyond the more modest corporate purchases it has already begun and make a grab for something the US really cares about. Last week China made the ultimate capitalist play: an $18.5 billion all-cash takeover bid by the state-controlled China National Offshore Oil Corporation for the American oil company Unocal. The bid landed with the impact of an unexploded missile in Washington, where anti-China sentiment has been running high. From both sides of the aisle, members of Congress sou-nded the alarm that China was threatening to gobble up world energy resources. There is politics in that: Congress has an election next year and gasoline prices are already high. But Americans should be glad China reminded them that it is time to examine country’s economic strategy. The real problem has less to do with China’s current strength than America’s weakness. A far more rational approach to China’s economic ascendancy would be to consider what steps the US should be taking to protect itself. — The New York Times