Wednesday, September 14, 2005

US begins rethink on China

Amity Shlaes: US begins rethink on China
By Amity Shlaes
Published: June 26 2005 20:09

US concern about China is not going to go away. Haier may buy Maytag and China National Offshore Oil Corporation may manage to snatch up Unocal. But such bids have lawmakers and the nation as a whole reconsidering China. Observers tend to explain this by saying “America is becoming protectionist”.

But what is actually going on is subtler. Many years ago, the US made a bet about China. The bet was that what mattered was trade. Trade concessions negotiated by Washington were therefore important. But the bet was also a bet by average citizens, made alone in their living rooms after dinner. Americans chose to overlook the Chinese form of government, the limits China placed on commerce, Chinese arms sales, China’s Taiwan policies – nearly anything – in the faith that trade in the end would pull China forward. Trade would make China democratic and entrepreneurial. Trade would set China free.

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