Former Antiwar.com columnist Doug Bandow writes this week in The
After a rough start with the EP-3 spy plane confrontation,
the Bush administration forged a good relationship between the United States
and China. Washington realized that it needed Beijings help in dealing
with North Korea, winning UN Security Council approval for U.S. objectives,
and forging a profitable trading relationship.
The Obama administration risks getting off to an equally difficult start, though
for different reasons. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton advocates a
comprehensive dialogue with China and her visit to Beijing went smoothly,
but of necessity little of substance was decided.
With economic fears rising and international trade declining, the Peoples
Republic of China (PRC) is a convenient target for an administration inclined
toward protectionism. Moreover, Democrats have more often emphasized human rights
in American diplomacy, another point of controversy with the PRC. At the same
time, conservative concerns over Beijings rising geopolitical ambitions
remain unabated, while the business community, which typically has supported
expanded economic relations, has lost influence. The potential exists for a
perfect political storm over China.
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