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China bashing: Not just for Republicans

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COMMENTS

11 January 2012 10:26

Andrew Sullivan points to a Jacob Heilbrunn blog post at The National Interest arguing that the Republican presidential field is being dangerously bellicose toward China:

No doubt China will often be a competitor of America; at other times, it may well have interests that are congruent with ours. But the one thing it doesn't have to be is an adversary. The truth is that there has been an unseemly search for a new enemy among conservatives ever since the end of the Cold War. In the 1990s, China was touted by some as America's enemy. Then came the 9/11 attacks. China was put on the back burner. But is it purely concidental that now that the war on terror is winding down, or at least being conducted in a more prudent fashion, that bellicosity about China has become fashionable among Republicans?

But it's not just Republicans prone to confrontationalism against China these days, as the new Pentagon strategy attests. And it's not just the GOP which sees 'communist' China as an anachronism that will wind up on the ash heap of history. Here's President Obama speaking in Canberra last November:

Every nation will chart its own course. Yet it is also true that certain rights are universal, among them freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, and the freedom of citizens to choose their own leaders.

These are not American rights, or Australian rights, or Western rights. These are human rights. They stir in every soul, as we've seen in the democracies that have succeeded here in Asia. Other models have been tried and they have failed-fascism and communism, rule by one man and rule by committee. And they have failed for the same simple reason. They ignore the ultimate source of power and legitimacy - the will of the people.

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