Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Bush in China

There are three words you won't likely be seeing as the title to an opera any time soon. But there are few more significant events in recent world politics than Bush's trip to China. And how did the Bush team do? The Washington Post summed it up perfectly in yesterday's headline, "Bush's Asia Trip Meets Low Expectations." (Link requires login.) In that article, Steven J. Hadley told reporters that the trip would not make any big headlines. He was so right. Still, it's to Bush's credit that he went, and at least said the things that needed to be said. Namely, he said that China should start promoting freedom and take it easier on its dissidents. The irony of those words were not lost on me, but I won't go into that here, since this is a post about China. ;) You see, our relationships in Asia, and China specifically, are vitally important to the future of the United States. There is a confluence of events occurring, and we should hope that history is no guide as to the outcome. But unfortunately, history is usually an excellent guide. When a new nation rises to the status of primary world power, war ensues, or a war has just ended. You can trace the historical consistency of this back to ... say ... the Indus Valley. As long as those nations are close enough to hit each other with vigorously thrown rocks, the theory applies. (Exceptions will be welcomed.) Does this mean that war with China is inevitable? Hell no. I'd like to think that we're smarter than that. But currently our foreign policy on China, Bush's trip notwithstanding, can be summed up with a confident "huh?" We need a policy on China that will result in a peaceful outcome, it needs to be foolproof, and we need it fast. That plan should include how our trade policies can help or hinder the outcome. Max Boot has written a very good article called "Why China should Worry Us" here. I don't agree with everything he says, but it's a very informed article, and everyone should read it to understand why China's sudden and recent rise will change the world's landscape.


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