A nice and very diverse range of views in China at the US China Economic and Security Review Commission
The problem with the testimony is that there were two words that I thought should have had more prominence but didn’t. Those two words are
Wars change things greatly, and one thing that the Iraq war has changed is the willingness of the United States to undertake vast and expensive projects to promote democracy, and the willingness of the world to trust the United States at those sorts of projects. The other thing that is pretty obvious to me, but which I found curious that no one mentioned is the degree to which funding from China has become absolutely essential to the war in Iraq.
The other thing that I found interesting was the lack of any broad strategic vision. Strategic vision is one thing that the United States is not very good at, since the US finds it very difficult to think ahead three or four years, much less the decades or even centuries, that is required for long term political planning. One could place the blame at “national character” but I don’t think this may be accurate. One thing that I realized in reading some of the papers involved in the decision to establish diplomatic relations with the PRC, one quote by Richard Nixon still haunts me.
But the reason why it has to be done — aside from Southeast Asia on which I won’t speculate — is that they are one-fourth of the world’s population. They’re not a military power now but 25 years from now they will be decisive. For us not to do now what we can do to end this isolation would leave things very dangerous. Even a total detente with the Soviets would mean nothing if the third power was isolated.
What does our moving do? It doesn’t at all mean that we’re with them; it means a dialogue, that’s all. Looking to the future the world will not be worth living in if we can’t get the great potential explosive forces under control.
So it’s not because we have illusions or are euphoric. It’s ironic that I am the President who is the least euphoric about relations with Communist countries. This isn’t from hardline prejudice but from experience; I know that pleasant smiles and small talk about our grandchiildren won’t solve problems. Where vital interests are involves, great powers consult their vital interests — or else they’re played for suckers by those powers that do. But interests may coincide.
It’s traumatic for both sides. We’re taking this step not for the next year or the next four years, but for the next twenty. It may make the world a little safer.
I’m wondering who in Washington today is thinking past the next year, or the next four years, but for the next twenty or the next hundred.