Hu Jintao 'Showing His Tail': Visit Will Encourage Further Belligerence

Although the Obama administration is committing a mistake by not canceling Hu Jintao’s visit, it is in fact starting to show some resistance to Beijing and not agreeing to whatever the Chinese want. At the White House briefing on Friday, National Security Adviser Thomas Donilon would not comment on whether there would even be a post-summit communiqué -- that’s how far apart Beijing and Washington are at the moment. The two powers will undoubtedly cobble something together at the last second -- not to do so would be a debacle -- but it will be a meager document, nothing like the 4,223-word U.S.-China Joint Statement, the comprehensive set of promises that followed the November 2009 Obama-Hu summit in Beijing.

The truth is that despite the general naiveté of the administration, we are hearing much less we-are-all-friends rhetoric. Not only is the tone of public comments changing, the Obama administration is apparently changing its thinking about China. When Secretary Clinton says China is not a friend, as she did last week, we know a reevaluation of China is underway.

If the state visit has any good outcome, it will be to further swell the heads of the visiting Beijing leaders and encourage them to show even more of their ugly sides. As the Chinese people say, the fox is now showing its tail.