Onward to Beijing

Oh, good. Word on the street is that back in the CPA days they said "real men go to Teheran." Obviously, though, the really real hawks of the world are the China hawks. Like, it seems, Christopher Hitchens:

China also maintains territorial claims against India and Vietnam (and, of course, Taiwan) and is building a vast army, as well as a huge oceangoing navy, to back up these ambitions. It seems an eon ago, because it was before Sept. 11, 2001, but we should not forget what happened when an American aircraft was involved in a midair collision over Hainan island in the early days of this administration. The Chinese acted as if the accident was deliberate, impounded the plane and the crew for several days, and mounted mass demonstrations of hysterical chauvinism. Events in the Middle East have since obscured this menacing picture, but actually it is in that region that China's cynical statecraft is most obviously on display. If Beijing had had its way, Saddam Hussein would still be in power. Iran is being supplied with Chinese Silkworm missiles. Most horribly of all, China buys most of the oil of Sudan and in return provides the weaponry—and the diplomatic cover at the United Nations—for the cleansing of Darfur.

Robert Farley notes that Hitchens seems to have decided that now would be a good time to adopt full-on crazy neoconservative opinions. He also note spoints out that China has no real territorial claims against India (if anything, it's India who's making claims about China) and this business about a "huge oceangoing navy" is just made up. Obviously, in the scheme of things the Chinese Communist Party is not the most admirable crew on the planet. But on the other hand, the humanitarian benefits to locking the US and the PRC into a cycle of mutual paranoia and hostility are really nowhere to be seen.

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Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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