Regarding Michèle Flournoy and Ely Ratner’s July 6 Sunday Opinion commentary, “Checking a more assertive China”:

Allowing China to participate in the Rim of the Pacific naval exercise, the world’s largest, puts our navy in the cross hairs of Chinese intelligence — and may one day soon put our seamen in harm’s way. China’s continued territorial aggression in the East and South China seas may well lead to armed conflict. So why are we giving it a firsthand look at our naval capabilities and tactics?

It is past time that we realize China’s Communist leaders have been playing us for fools. The country’s accession to the World Trade Organization and other international bodies did not mean that it would evolve into a “responsible stakeholder” in the U.S.-dominated world order, only that it was committed to advancing its interests. China does not share our democratic values and institutions. It remains a totalitarian-minded dictatorship bent on relentlessly pursuing its hegemonic ambitions. Its smaller, weaker neighbors — many of whom have been bullied by Beijing of late — recognize this. It is past time that the United States does, too, and starts seriously countering Beijing’s power play before it is too late.

Steven W. Mosher, White Post, Va.