Self-fulfilling paranoia is not a sound basis for cooperative relations between nations. China and America need to cooperate with each other.
In recent years, U.S. exports to China have been growing at an annual average of 21%. They are projected to continue to rise at a much faster rate than imports during the rest of this decade, as China overtakes the United States as the world's largest market.
China and America are now married to each other economically. As anyone who is married can attest, interdependence — even affectionate interdependence — begets bickering.
It's an election year in the United States. In such years, we are accustomed to hearing our politicians blame foreigners for all our ills and belabor yesterday's problems as though they were tomorrow's.
It's already clear that 2012 will be no exception to this practice. We are hearing a lot about China, but much of what has or will be said has been or is being overtaken by events. Of course, as the issues shift, the political whining and posturing will just change focus.
But, barring extraordinary lapses of judgment by one or the other of us, the United States and China seem destined to become more, not less intimate. The world economy will be the better for that and so will we.