Freeman's strong suit is supposed to be original, contrarian thinking on foreign affairs. Actually, it's more like a competing brand of conventional wisdom. On China, Freeman goes a bit further than others in his disdain for American human rights pressure on Beijing and in his indifference toward the regime's opponents. But, overall, his sympathetic view of that country's leadership is hardly unorthodox, much less brave. Right or wrong, Freeman's thinking is widely shared among influential U.S. businessmen, diplomats, scholars and think tanks. A more paranoid person than I might even refer to these folks as the "China Lobby." Stripped of its more controversial rhetoric, though, Freeman's "analysis" of China is a rehash of a very familiar apologia.
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is the editor in chief of The Atlantic
and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror