Watching the China Watchers

Excellent, if disturbing, view of China and the lack of any real possibility of democratic reform by Rick Perlstein in The Nation, focusing particularly on the reality of US foreign policy and its inability to confront the reality of Chinese ambition:

..their strange rationales followed a logic that helps explain our determinately myopic China watchers today. The explanation is, fundamentally, materialist. Its raw materials are the secret words sent by diplomatic cable and NSC strategic assessments. As George Kennan wrote in 1948: “We have about 50% of the world’s wealth but only 6.3% of its population…. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern for relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming…. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world benefaction.”

Found via Arts & Letters Daily