How China 'woke' the United States
Almost every assumption Washington made, both by Democratic and Republican administrations, was logically flawed at best. And at worst, these calculations were a weird mix of conservative commercial greed, liberal political correctness and shared screwball naivete.
American trade and political appeasement were never interpreted by Beijing as magnanimity to be reciprocated, but always as weakness to be exploited. It was always ludicrous to think that the more concessions on trade and human rights the United States gave, the more China would Westernize and begin to resemble America or an EU nation.
Even sillier was the old shibboleth that China’s embrace of capitalist reforms — as if by some unwritten, determinist economic law — would lead to constitutional government. But the ability to buy a new cellphone never ensures the right to vote for a candidate of one’s choice.