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Commentary of the Day

J.E. Dyer, on Gordon G. Chang:

Wow, an awful lot of NOT remembering Bill Clinton here. I can’t agree that either Bush has been worse than Clinton in terms of giving away the store to China. One would like to think GOP presidents would perform better in that regard, but China has always been a special case, handled with equal lack of integrity or strategic vision by presidents of both parties.

Nixon at least left East Asia with a sustainable way forward that did not exist when he entered office. We’re basically still operating on the Nixon plan there. In not updating our strategic vision, and resting on decades-old laurels, we are treating China, and all of East Asia, as cavalierly as Western Europe treats the Caucasus and the Levant today.

Obama shows no signs of changing that pattern. Many conservatives are taking comfort from the centrist nature of his cabinet and advisory picks, but of course, it was foreign policy centrists who made all the West’s decisions prior to the world wars of the last century, and centrists who made most of the decisions that prolonged the Cold War for decades. Centrists procrastinate, concede, and make the defensive decisions that draw us into conflicts on the opponent’s terms. The prospect of more foreign policy by centrists should not comfort us at all, least of all regarding China.



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