Ultimately, China's attempts to manipulate the private sector will be only one of a number of factors determining the success and transformative power of the Internet in the Middle Kingdom. Domestic and foreign entrepreneurship might very well eventually play their hand in helping to open up the country's economic and political system.
During the years of isolation from the West, China’s posture rhetorically favored nuclear weapons proliferation, particularly in the Third World, as a rallying point for anti-imperialism. Through the 1970s, China’s policy was not to oppose nuclear proliferation, which it still saw as limiting U.S. and Soviet power.
Beijing's proliferation record may stall efforts to grant China permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) with the U.S. At issue are allegations that China continues to provide missile components and technical advice to other states. While China is not technically a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), it has pledged to abide by MTCR guidelines.
President Clinton is correct that the decision to grant China permanent most-favored-nation trading status will have a historic significance equal to Richard Nixon's opening to China and Jimmy Carter's normalization of relations. But if that's true, why is the president rushing Congress to make a hasty decision, with almost no time to consider the merits and consequences of this momentous step?
The present danger is that the United States will shrink from its responsibilities as the world's dominant power and--in a fit of absentmindedness, or parsimony or indifference--will allow the international order that it sustains to collapse. The present danger is one of declining strength, flagging will and confusion about our role in the world.