U.S. political, business and academic experts have “fundamentally misjudged” China, writes noted economics columnist Robert Samuelson.
Samuelson observes that conflict with China has multiplied recently for the United States, and for others in the West, a development that has been quite surprising.
“Consider: the undervalued renminbi and its effect on trade; the breakdown of global warming negotiations in Copenhagen; China's weak support of efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons,” Samuelson wrote in his column in The Washington Post.
Beijing has an exceptionally poor record in attempting to persuade North Korea to relinquish its tiny atomic arsenal, despite its promises to Washington.
There are other problems too, including “Google's threat to leave China rather than condone continued censorship,” Samuelson writes.
Since the Reagan era, China's economy has increased roughly tenfold.
The conventional elite assumption since that time was that as China became wealthier, its interests and values would merge with those of the U.S.
“China would depend increasingly on a thriving global economy. Freer domestic markets would loosen the stranglehold of the Communist Party. The United States and China would not always agree, but disputes would be manageable,” Samuelson observes.
But he notes, ruefully: “It isn't turning out that way. A wealthier China has become more assertive.”
The Chinese government has devalued its currency to help create 20 million new jobs a year.
Additionally, China is searching the world to make investments in secure raw materials, particularly fuel, he says. The goal of this is not "Westernization" but "a desire to restore the Communist Party's legitimacy."
Others are observing the new attitude in Beijing, too.
The Syndney Morning Herald editorial page opines that the Communist government is promoting a “Buy China” policy that goes against agreements made with the World Trade Organization, the free trade promoting non-governmental organization (NGO).
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