Wednesday, July 11, 2007

China on the Horizon

Whether desirable or not, China is rising: Try to spend a day shopping without coming home with Chinese-made products. Adopt a baby and it may well be from China. Asian-American students comprise 50 percent or more of the student body at numerous American colleges. China’s GDP quadrupled in Deng Xiaoping’s two decades from 1978 to 1992. Since then it has been growing even faster at 10-11 percent per year. Foreign trade increased tenfold during Deng’s reign. China’s economic advance has led to military expansion, diplomatic sophistication, a relentless quest for markets, enormous oil consumption, an enhanced capacity to import and swelling nationalism.

What is China trying to do and to be? As a free society, America trumpets its goals. By contrast, China tends to hide its goals. Its stated aims are peace and development. Its real aims are to sustain its economic growth, have a tranquil set of borders for that purpose (China has 14 borders), eclipse the United States in East Asia and regain “lost” territory. (Taiwan is only one of the territories that, because the Chinese emperor once possessed it, the Chinese government believes should return to China.) While Beijing does enormous business with us, it regularly launches anti-American diatribes. And while it advocates a world free of arms, it has lined up 800 missiles opposite Taiwan.

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