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Where Is China Going?

During a discussion on the Special Report with Brit Hume roundtable last night, Mort Kondracke said the path of China is one of the big unknowns of the future of the world. Will China continue to open up, becoming more liberal economically and politically, or will it remain a corporatist, repressive police state with (perhaps) imperial ambitions? Fred Barnes responded:

We know where China is going. They're not going to be a bitter adversary, a country that is conspiring to overtake the United States and conquer the United States and so on.

But we know they're not going to help us. They're not helping with Iran. They should be the people -- they could get the North Koreans, they could snap their fingers and the North Koreans would get rid of their nuclear weapons but they don't do that. They're just not going to help us anywhere and meanwhile the Indians, the Japanese, the Australians and many others in Asia want the U.S. to be there to help check Chinese power and we're doing it.

I'm not quite as confident about China's future relationship with the U.S. The issue of Taiwan strikes me as one that can and probably will blossom into a crisis that could poison U.S.-China relations, moving them from the realm of being an unhelpful "strategic" adversary into being a full blown "bitter" one. Whether that happens in five years or fifty years, it's impossible to say.