By the time you read this column, China's economy will have jumped by 20 percent, or $300 billion. Based on a new nationwide economic census, the National Bureau of Statistics is making an upward revision of gross domestic product, which means that China is now the world's fourth largest economy, bigger than Italy, France and Britain.
Sometimes the most important stories in the world don't get much attention because they're powerful but slow trends that can't be easily covered. They provide no single great event for cameras to focus on, nor a powerful image everyone can easily grasp. (How do you televise globalization?) Last week, however, something happened that gives us a rare opportunity to look at one such trend.
One week is a lifetime in the world of journalism these days. We've now been through two cycles of commentary on the French riots. The first saw the troubles as part of the broader clash of civilizations between Islam and the West. "Falluja-Sur-Seine?" asked the neoconservative Weekly Standard.
If you look at two recent events, you might well conclude that the Chinese are a lot smarter at handling the United States than we are at handling them. This week China National Offshore Oil Corp. (Cnooc) ended its bid for the American energy firm Unocal, scared off by rising opposition to the deal from Congress.
Given the rate at which China's economic and military might continue to grow, it's no surprise its role on the global political stage is expanding, too. While North Korea hinted last week that it might return to six-party talks on its nuclear program--and in Washington U.S. President George W.
It doesn't surprise me that China has just slapped tariffs on its own textile producers so that they don't flood the U.S. and European markets. (In all, it will increase tariffs by up to 400 percent on 74 goods.) When I was in China last week I was struck by how determined its officials are not to pick a fight with the United States while they focus single-mindedly on economic growth.
Does the United States government really care if North Korea becomes a nuclear power? Oh, it tells us all the terrible consequences that could flow from such a development: a nuclear Japan and South Korea; an arms race in East Asia; loose nukes easily available to Al Qaeda or any other high bidder.
In the debate over John Bolton's nomination as ambassador to the United Nations, his defenders have repeatedly delighted at the prospect of a real discussion on the issues. "Senator Frist should schedule a floor debate without time limits," William Kristol argued in The Weekly Standard.