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The Times they are a-Changing

September 24, 2009


By MICHAEL S. SMITH II, Executive editor of The Ethical Standard: Official Publication of The Free Enterprise Foundation


Today this country name brings to mind more disparate perceptions among peoples the world over than any other, and some say that even most Chinese should be included among the people targeted by that generalization. Yet a common thread emerges from the thoughts of most all people when that name is invoked. Irrespective of whether their perceptions of that country are positive or negative, uncertainty is the thread that binds those thoughts. And it is the uncertainty about what China’s interests really are — not whether it will be the next superpower (it will) — that represents the basis for the uncertainty of America’s future role in the world.

More than any other great or emerging power on the planet, China’s interests — in terms of most non Chinese observers’ understandings of those interests — are increasingly the stuff of Churchill’s oft-partially-quoted 1939 remarks regarding Russia: “I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.”  >>More

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