Re: Missed Opportunity
The problem with 'regime change' in China is that the idea isn't actually that new, we've been meddling in China since at last 1850 and all the Chinese got out of it was exploitation, conquest and the inevitable millions of casualties, widespread poverty and so on. Attacking them in the 1990s would have been just 'more of the same' to them -- a society that's 5000 years old can afford to be patient.
China's 'threat', such as it is, is economic. They're good at what they do. We have two ways to respond to this. One is to play 'Age of Empires', a game they're probably more familiar with than we are. The other is to stop messing around and compete with them as peers, something that might involve investment in education, infrastructure and all sorts of other things that we've tended to skip because it eats into (short term) profitability.
Try thinking in terms of an international sports league rather than a clash of empires.