When I was working as a reporter in DC I used to call the Heritage Foundation whenever I needed to balance my story with a quote from the conservative side. Extremely well heeled and to the right, the Heritage Foundation may be one of my least favorite think tanks. Yet its new position paper on the various rosy myths that have sprung up about the “new China” is certainly worth looking at. As the best funded and most vocal think tank in the country, you can bet a lot of Republicans in and around the beltway will be reading this.
It’s a long piece, summed up in a single paragraph toward the end:
A dispassionate examination of how China has approached key foreign policy, trade, and national security issues over the past two years suggests that, far more often than not, China has opposed U.S. interests or, at the very least, has remained neutral or aloof. China has provided little support in the war on terrorism, did not simply “stand by” during the Iraq War, has hampered efforts to ease the reconstruction of Iraq, and has not helped to bring North Korea around to dismantling its nuclear weapons programs.
I always take the HF’s reports with a big grain of sea salt, but the arguments here are pretty rational and well backed up. It is especially outspoken on Bush’s recent betrayal of Taiwan and China’s continuing to export WMDs to the DPRK, Iran, Pakistan, etc. It’s definitely worth scanning whether you agree with its conclusions or not.
Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.