China and Obama

There has been a lot of talk lately about Obama and how little he got from the Chinese government.  (If you didn’t know, this past week, Obama was in Asia, specifically Japan, Singapore, China and South Korea.)

Much of the talk about China seems to be acknowledging the changing roles of China and the US on the world stage, but more importantly, how they relate to each other.  I don’t know that we have really gotten a lot of concessions from China even when we were ostensibly more powerful or less dependent on the Chinese.  But perception creates reality, so now because the Chinese are simply ignoring our requests for them to stop the human rights abuses or allow the Chinese more internet access it is because the Chinese are in a better position.

While it is hard to argue that China is not in a better position, I think that there hasn’t been much change in the real-world, on-the-ground realities for the Chinese people.  The US gives lip service to human rights while continuing our economic “partnership” with China.  And China continues to sell us cheap plastic crap and buy our debt (which is literally astronomical, they might as well be talking about the debt in light-years…) while ignoring our calls to democratize.

China seems to be taking the worst of Western society (capitalism) and leaving the best parts (democracy, political freedom) alone.  As long as the US continues to do nothing but pay lip service to China and its horrible human rights record, China will continue do to whatever it wants.  Unfortunately, the US is really in no position to push China too hard, but we haven’t been in a good position vis a vis China for quite some time.

Of course, the US is really good at doing nothing but paying lip service.

Does Israel come to mind for you too?


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