Wall Street Journal Asia, March 9-11, 2007
Promoting democratization under authoritarianism is hard work. Americans often behave as if democracy will blossom at the snap of our fingers. As the daily violence in Iraq reminds us, though, reality is often much more grim and complicated than our most fervent wishes.
Away from the birth pangs of democracy in Iraq, democracy has not blossomed in another country where Americans said it would: China. For more than a decade, Washington has declared that political liberalization leading ultimately to democratization in China would be decidedly in America’s–and the world’s–interests. From President Bill Clinton’s policy of “constructive engagement” to President George W. Bush’s call for China to become a “responsible stakeholder,” the United States has maintained that a China headed down a democratic path–even as it amasses military, political and economic might–would offer the best hope for peace, prosperity and cooperation.
China, however, appears immune to U.S. wishes.
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Reprinted from The Wall Street Journal Asia © 2011 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.