Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Hu Jintao jets into DC; China too Big to Bully

China's too big to be bullied by the US (hat tip Van)

In Tuesday's summit with Hu Jintao, Obama must recognise new realities – however unpalatable

Tim Geithner, the treasury secretary, Robert Gates at defence and Obama himself have all joined Clinton in setting out what the US expects from China.

The problem with America's exhortatory approach to human rights and other issues is that it rarely works.

This unpalatable reality reflects a bigger truth: the US must stop trying to tell China what to do. The time for that has passed. China is too big to be bullied, too canny to be conned, too complicated to be changed from without. And it cannot sensibly be blamed for America's declining global clout. Some self-awareness, a focus on practical, mutually beneficial measures, and a little circumspection would ultimately work better to stop a war of words turning into something worse. That's not to say human rights abuses can be ignored. But grandstanding will not help.

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