Friday, March 27, 2009

State Department Seeking China Clout

The girl from (fill in Rustbelt hometown) wants a diplomatic third way for her State Department in dealings with China, a relationship which she describes as "the world's most important". Engagement with the burgeoning Communist superpower thus far has been dominated by a two-pronged military and economic approach led by the Defense and Treasury departments respectively. The military makes sure to stay on top of capabilities for sending China back to the Stone Age, while Treasury takes on most of the diplomatic burden, focused so much on commerce as that channel tends to be. So instead of Hillary Clinton wearing a funny hat and having her picture taken shaking hands, you get Timothy Geithner going out of his way to flatter a Chinese counterpart at his own expense, which he made a point of doing this week while considering the merits of a politically toxic proposal on changes to reserve currency.

But the State Department wants a piece of that action, and they're going to get it. Let's just hope there won't be too many cooks in the kitchen. Hillary's been a good role player in the Senate, when her own, ruthless ambition hasn't gotten in the way. If she can define her role her and be faithful to it, then all the better for US/China relations.

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