: Reading Hu Jintao's mind

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Jean-Louis Kayitenkore <kayisa@gmail.com>
Date: 2009/9/23
Subject: Reading Hu Jintao's mind
To: blog jean-Louis Kayitenkore <kayisa1.jlk78930@blogger.com>

 Hu Jintao is simultaneously President of China, General Secretary
of the Chinese Communist Party, and chairman of
China's Central Military Commission.
Last year
Newsweek labeled him the "second most powerful
man in the world," and he has undoubtedly watched the events
of the past few years with keen interest and
no small amount of satisfaction.
Here's what I imagine he's thinking these days...

"We are realists here in the People's Republic, and

in a sense we have been for centuries.

Even during the most radical phases of

our history -- such as the Great Leap Forward

or the Cultural Revolution -- our foreign policy

was prudent and keenly attuned to the balance of power.
The United States has had the world's largest economy

for more than a century, and despite

some self-inflicted wounds, it is still the world's most

powerful country.

We recognize this fact, and our current strategy

of "peaceful rise" reflects what we have learned

by studying the U.S. experience.

America became a great world power by

remaining aloof from the quarrels of the other

major powers and letting them destroy each other

in ruinous wars, while it built its own economic

strength and gradually established itself as

the dominant power in its own region.

When it did fight wars, it picked weak and easily

defeated opponents or it waited until the last minute

to get involved in wars with other great powers.

The United States was the last major power to enter

both World War I and World War II, and it made

sure that other states bore the heaviest burdens

during the fighting.

As a result, both wars ended with the United States

in the strongest position.
Our strategy of "peaceful rise" reflects a similar set

of calculations.

We want to stay out of pointless quarrels with

others and avoid costly military commitments,

at least until our economic strength equals

that of America. 

For this reason, we are happy to let the United States

take the lead in troubled regions like

the Middle East or Central Asia.

Why shouldn't we want them to squander

their strength trying to fix intractable global problems,

while we retain good relations with all parties?

It just makes sense.

I do miss President George W. Bush, of course.

We had good relations with the United States

while he was president, and he even came

to visit us during our Olympics.

I probably should have thanked him personally

for all the foolish things he did, like letting

Bin Laden and the Taliban slip through his fingers

in Afghanistan and then invading Iraq in 2003. 

He did cultivate closer ties with India and

that development didn't make me happy,

but on the whole, his threats and bluster frightened

many U.S. allies and made U.S. relations with states

like Iran even worse than they were before.

Needless to say, these policies created

valuable opportunities for China, and we've

been quick to take advantage of them.

While America was distracted and wasting

hundreds of billions occupying

hostile countries -- we were establishing profitable

commercial ties in the oil-rich Persian Gulf and

quietly expanding our influence in our

own Asian backyard.
President Bush also helped us by presiding over

scandals such as Abu Ghraib, Hurricane Katrina,

and the treatment of terrorist suspects at Guantanamo.

To be frank, I never understood why some Americans

are so obsessed with protecting "rights."

In fact, I was pleased to discover that

former Vice President Cheney agrees

with me; he understands how a strong executive

deals with potential troublemakers!

I sometimes think he'd make

a good Vice President here. 

Anyway, the good news for us is that these events

made the United States look both incompetent

and hypocritical and made it harder

for Washington to criticize my own domestic policies.

I owe former president Bush a real debt

of gratitude; I should probably call him

and say thanks.
I confess that I wanted John McCain to win

the 2008 election, because I thought he would

keep America on the same failed course.

And having someone like Governor Palin

as Vice President was almost too much

to hope for.

So naturally I was worried when Barack Obama

got elected; he seemed smart and level-headed

and is obviously a gifted politician.

He's much more charismatic than Bush and

to be frank, he's a lot more charismatic than I am.

So I asked myself: Would he be able reverse

America's recent missteps and restore

its international reputation?

And at first, it seemed like he might do just that.

But now I'm not so concerned.

President Obama may have good instincts

and intentions, but his aides don't seem to

be giving him very good advice.

He is going to get most U.S. troops out

of Iraq (a smart move for him, but not so good

for me) but he's getting a lot of pressure to put

more troops and money into Afghanistan.

I hope he does, because that will leave

the United States with fewer resources

to devote to containing China. 

Moreover, President Obama doesn't seem

to be making any headway with Iran

or the Middle East peace process,

and failure there will make that big speech in Cairo

look rather silly.

Obama also wants China and India and

other developing countries to make

big concessions on greenhouse gas emissions,

but he's having trouble getting his own Congress

to adopt a serious program and I doubt we'll face

much genuine pressure at the upcoming

summit in Copenhagen.

That's a relief.
And I can't help smiling to myself whenever I think

about America's domestic political system.

Americans like to lecture China about

the importance of "free speech" and other

quaint Western concepts, but at least I don't have

to deal with madmen spouting nonsense

on television and radio and special interest groups

making it impossible to enact reforms that

the nation as a whole badly needs.

I may have some minor problems in Xinjiang,

but I hear states like California are rapidly

becoming ungovernable and that the universities

we used to envy are losing their edge.

I even hear that Harvard isn't so rich anymore.

This makes me smile too, because a well-educated

population is the key to future power and a society

that is content to be ignorant cannot remain

a world power for long.

Meanwhile, my economy is beginning

to grow rapidly again, while the United States

piles up debt and lots of people there

are looking for work.

I do like that

nice young Treasury Secretary; he understands

that he needs my help to keep the world economy

afloat and he isn't going to try to browbeat

us very much. 

The silly new tariff on imported tires is annoying

and we will of course issue a loud protest, but even

that reactionary magazine The Economist said

it was "bad politics, bad economics,

bad diplomacy, and hurts America."

So from where I sit, the view looks pretty good.

America likes to say that it is the "leader of

the free world" and I'm happy to let them

have that title -- for now -- provided they stay

focused on other issues and let China's peaceful

rise continue.

The more "global leadership" they insist upon taking,

the more resources they will expend, the faster

they will decline, and the sooner

we will be in a position to supplant them.

I do have one lingering concern, however.

America's leaders may come to their senses,

and go back to the unsentimental realism

that guided their rise to greatness

in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

They might discover what

Sun Tzu taught -- "There is no instance of a nation

benefitting from prolonged warfare" -- and stop

insisting on bearing all the world's burdens themselves.

But then I remember what their foreign policy "debate"

is like, and I recall that both Democrats and

Republicans seem equally eager to interfere

all over the world, and suddenly that danger

doesn't seem very great. In fact,

the future looks bright."


Stephen M. Walt

Link here

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