Paul Krugman's NY Times op-ed "Dealing with the Dragon:"
On both Wednesday and Thursday, the price of oil briefly hit $100 a barrel. The new record made headlines, as well it should have. But what does it mean, aside from the obvious point that the economy is under extra pressure?
Well, one thing it means is that we’re having the wrong discussion about foreign policy.
Almost all the foreign policy talk in this presidential campaign has been motivated, one way or another, by 9/11 and the war in Iraq. Yet it’s a very good bet that the biggest foreign policy issues for the next president will involve the Far East rather than the Middle East. In particular, the crucial questions are likely to involve the consequences of China’s economic growth.
Turn to any of several major concerns now facing America, and in each case it’s startling how large a role China plays.....
..... The truth is that China is too big to be bullied, and the Chinese are too cynical to be charmed. But while they are our competitors in important respects, they’re not our enemies, and they can be dealt with.
A lot of Americans, when they think about the next president’s foreign-policy qualifications, seem to be looking for a hero — someone who will stand tall against terrorists, or transform the world with his optimism.
But what they should be looking for is something more prosaic — a good negotiator, someone who can bargain effectively with some very tough customers and get the deals we need on energy, currency policy and carbon credits.