The Trouble with China

In the summer of 2020, otherwise a time of maximum disunity in the United States amid intersectional upris-ings, rioting, and widespread institutional deliquescence, a rock-like national consensus emerged from the political waves: Americans from Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden to Donald Trump, who vehemently disagreed on everything else, fully agreed that it was urgent to confront the People’s Republic of China, technologically as well as politically, within the United States, in Europe, and strategically across Asia and beyond. Within that consensus there were only stylistic differences, from Pelosi’s quiet assertion of the incompatibility of the regime with human rights anywhere on the planet to Trump’s truculent trade demands.  The break with the past is very sharp: from Nixon in 1972 to quite late in Obama’s presidency, the United States did much that accelerated China’s rise to wealth and power from the miserable poverty I saw everywhere in that country in

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