A partnership of equals: how Washington should respond to China's economic challenge.

Author:Rogers, Joe
Position:Book review

There is a scene in "Patton" where the general is speaking to a ladies club in England. He opines that as the British and the Americans are destined to rule the world, they should get better acquainted. In "A Partnership of Equals," Dr. Fred Bergsten, former assistant secretary of the U. S. Treasury and currently director of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, takes the same approach, proposing that the United States "should seek to develop a true partnership with Beijing so as to provide joint leadership of the global economic system." Though suggesting "it would be impolitic for Washington and Beijing to use the term 'G-2' publicly," his article in the July/August 2008 Foreign Affairs advocates a strategy that would require the United States to give priority to China as its "main partner in managing the world economy."

Setting aside the elements of Bergsten's "strategy," its basic premise is astounding. Not only would China supplant the Western democracies as America's principal global partner, its totalitarian regime would move into place far ahead of India, the world's largest democracy and prime challenger to China's position as the predominant developing economy.

Beyond the error of shunting aside our democratic allies, one must question Bergsten's assumptions that China will continue on its current economic trajectory and that it "will dominate its Asian neighbor [India] for the foreseeable future." This is the only possible basis for Bergsten's G-2 plan.

Several indicators...

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