Got an email the other day from blogger Dave Porter, saying, “I know you tend not to like big picture stuff about China, but check out the last half of Berkeley economics professor Brad DeLong’s post on Free Trade Fair Trade, the last half of which says”:
Think of it this way: Consider a world that contains one country that is a true superpower. It is preeminent–economically, technologically, politically, culturally, and militarily. But it lies at the east edge of a vast ocean. And across the ocean is another country–a country with more resources in the long-run, a country that looks likely to in the end supplant the current superpower. What should the superpower’s long-run national security strategy be?
I think the answer is clear: if possible, the current superpower should embrace its possible successor. It should bind it as closely as possible with ties of blood, commerce, and culture–so that should the emerging superpower come to its full strength, it will to as great an extent possible share the world view of and regard itself as part of the same civilization as its predecessor: Romans to their Greeks.
In 1877, the rising superpower to the west across the ocean was the United States. The preeminent superpower was Britain. Today the preeminent superpower is the United States. The rising superpower to the west across the ocean is China. that was the rising superpower across the ocean to the west of the world’s industrial and military leader. Today it is China.
Throughout the twentieth century it has been greatly to Britain’s economic benefit that America has regarded it as a trading partner–a source of opportunities–rather than a politico-military-industrial competitor to be isolated and squashed. And in 1917 and again in 1941 it was to Britain’s immeasurable benefit–its veruy soul was on the line–that America regarded it as a friend and an ally rather than as a competitor and an enemy. A world run by those whom de Gaulle called les Anglo-Saxons is a much more comfortable world for Britain than the other possibility–the world in which Europe were run by Adolf Hitler’s Saxon-Saxons.
There is a good chance China is now on the same path to world preeminence that America walked 130 years ago. Come 2047 and again in 2071 and in the years after 2075, America is going to need China. There is nothing more dangerous for America’s future national security, nothing more destructive to America’s future prosperity, than for Chinese schoolchildren to be taught in 2047 and 2071 and in the years after 2075 that America tried to keep the Chinese as poor as possible for as long as possible.
I generally agree, but does this analysis call for trade with every nation, no matter how rogue? Where is the line? Who is to say China won’t go rogue?