The goal of global partnership between the United States and China, the cornerstone of my strategic vision for the past half-decade, has taken a beating lately. The Great Recession has led too many Americans to doubt in our own economic system and political institutions, while encouraging undue appreciation of China's. Similar trends can be seen on the Chinese side, with our system unduly discredited and theirs fantastically exalted. Is the world better-served by this growing Chinese hubris than it was by America's recent bout of the same vice? Hardly. Zero-sum calculations have no place in this age of globalization's rapid expansion.
But what "lithium" can we apply to this manic-depressive relationship lest it collapse into full-blown bipolar meltdown?
First, we can remember that we sought this outcome -- a world of numerous great powers rising peacefully in their growing prosperity. This is why we created an international liberal trade order following World War II and defended it throughout the Cold War. No superpower before us had ever shaped and sustained a world order capable of such integration, and we should be proud of the vast peace dividend we've generated for the planet. Globalization may cause great frictions between civilizations, but it has begotten unprecedented peace among nation-states.