James Mann is author-in-residence at Johns Hopkins’s School of Advanced International Studies. He is the author of Rise of the Vulcans (Viking) and The Obamians (Viking), which is being published this month.
In its first months, President George W. Bush's new foreign-policy team has
gotten the wrong rap--an inane one that deflects attention away from the serious
questions. Since November the press has been abuzz with the supposed insight that
Bush's appointees are "retreads" from previous Republican governments. Yet this
conceit has obscured the far more important issue of what Bush's new team intends
to do. What goals have they set? Are these goals prudent, affordable, and
achievable? What will the impact be upon America's role in the world?
America is in the midst of a supposedly great debate over China policy. Congress will soon hold a seemingly momentous vote on whether to extend indefinitely China's trading rights in the United States. The Clinton administration and the business community are pressing hard, indeed desperately, for congressional approval, which they argue is necessary for American companies to reap the full benefits of China's expected membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO).