It’s a little painful watching this video from NMA Animation since it’s how the Taiwanese and probably a lot of Chinese see the relationship between our countries. The sight of Ben Bernanke holding a beggar’s cup out for Hu Jintao’s spare change stung less than the image of Obama giving Hu a cowboy hat as a gift that happens to be “Made in China” – dang. Sure, we owe a lot of money to the Chinese government and their new stealth plane is impressive. We invented ours like decades ago so it’s not all that dazzling tho, yo.

The fact is that China needs us as much as we need them, at least for now. They need Americans to keep buying Chinese goods which is why they’ve helped keep our economy from keeling over completely. If we go down, we take a lot of the world’s economy with us, including theirs. I lived in China for a year after college and I have my own impressions of how Chinese in general view us. They admire/envy our confidence & material success. They want to be like us — which is why American cars are so popular there. The Chinese have a strong sense of competition with the U.S. and see us as a rival, yet more in an aspirational than in an antagonistic sense.

I think there’s no doubt at this point that they’re aiming to be the next superpower. The Chinese have invested heavily in wind energy — they’ve surpassed us in becoming the largest provider of wind power in the world and that happened pretty fast. They are making huge investments in education & infrastructure too — investments we’ve largely delayed in pursuit of expensive wars with uncertain outcomes or benefits to American citizens.

There’s a lot on the table here in these talks: bilateral trade, Tibet & human rights, international relations with Sudan, North Korea & Iran, etc. Despite what this video which while funny kinda chapped my hide a little, I believe that if anyone can hold talks with Hu Jintao with dignity and maybe a little success — it’s President Obama…

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