President Barack Obama came into office promising a new sort of bilateral relationship with China. It was not meant to be. Washington hasn't changed any of its long list of demands regarding China, and Beijing, true to historical form, has gone out of its way to flex its muscles as a rising power. With the recent series of revelations concerning Chinese military developments, the inside-the-Beltway hyping of the Chinese threat has reached fever pitch, matching the average American's growing fears of China's economic strength.
Of course, the world's established No. 1 power always greets the challenge from a rising No. 2 with fear and trepidation. But in the case of the U.S. and China, there are other reasons why so much of Washington is eager to demonize Beijing. Here's my top 10 list:
1. Unable to curb our spendthrift ways, we demand China do it for us. America has an insatiable appetite for illegal drugs, but instead of rationally dealing with the problem of domestic demand, we push it off onto poorer nations to our south via military aid that does nothing but turn their countries into war zones. Our fight with China over its currency's value is similarly framed: Americans cannot stop spending beyond their means, so we demand China raise its currency to reduce our trade imbalance with the entire world. China has 700 million interior rural poor still awaiting economic uplift, but they're no match for our 535 legislators unable to police themselves.