As Peter Feaver notes, few countries last long at the top of the heap when their regimes are utterly terrified of their own people. Yes, Chinese weakness poses some particular problems for the United States, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that the Chinese are rather weak in a number of ways, and that we should stop viewing them as the all-consuming hyperpower that many people think they are.
UPDATE: I am sorry to inject domestic politics–and potentially, yet another blogfight–into this story, but it is worth noting that Andrew Sullivan is content to ignore Chinese censorship in covering Hu’s answers in his press conference, in order to take yet another shot at Sarah Palin. I guess I have to point out yet again that I am by no means a Palin fan, I think she would make a poor President, and I think that she is in no way, shape, or form a good leader for the Republican party; when it comes to Palin, I am with Jonathan Tobin and Charles Krauthammer, with the latter having properly said that Sarah Palin cannot be taken seriously intellectually. But Sullivan’s one-note mania regarding Palin is enough to make even the likes of me offer up a defense. Comparing Palin’s aversion to the press to that of the Chinese dictators is beyond lunatic. The former may not feel confident enough to handle questions in various press settings, but the latter are positively terrified to, because they know that they are not the legitimate rulers of China, and they have to rely on state-sponsored media censorship to hide answers concerning uncomfortable topics from the whole of the Chinese people. There is a big difference between those groups, one that Sullivan may want to recognize if ever he decides to stop playing Captain Ahab to Palin’s White Whale.