Daniel W. Drezner: Does China contradict the liberal paradigm?
The constant in U.S. policy towards a rising China for the past three administrations is encapsulated in the current National Security Strategy (PDF):
“China has begun to take the road to political openness, permitting many personal freedoms and conducting village-level elections, yet remains strongly committed to national one-party rule by the Communist Party. To make that nation truly accountable to its citizen’s needs and aspirations, however, much work remains to be done. Only by allowing the Chinese people to think, assemble, and worship freely can China reach its full potential….
The power of market principles and the WTO’s requirements for transparency and accountability will advance openness and the rule of law in China to help establish basic protections for commerce and for citizens.”
In other words, by trading with China, and by encouraging them to embrace the information revolution, the Chinese will inevitably morph into an ever-more-open society that will therefore become more benign in world politics.
There are valid reasons to doubt the second part of that logic, but I’m more concerned about the first part for now: is U.S. trade with China making the country more free?