Time for the U.S. to take a lesson from China and get serious!

There was an overall message, however. Xi referred to the U.S.-China relationship as “an unstoppable river that keeps surging ahead.” He was pointing out the obvious: For decades to come, the United States and China will be the world’s two biggest economic powers. We’re stuck with each other, like it or not.

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China is a one-party state, but that does not mean there is no debate about the country’s direction. Xi is considered likely to keep the nation on its current path of free-market economic growth. His political adversary Bo Xilai advocates a more robust safety net to care for the millions who are being left out of the Chinese economic miracle.

There are also internal disagreements about how aggressive China should be in asserting its military influence throughout the region, especially in the South China Sea. Addressing the environmental cost of the country’s rapid development will be an urgent task for the incoming leadership. China’s records on human rights and political openness are still abysmal.

These are serious questions, but Chinese leaders at least are grappling with them in a serious manner. But here in the United States? [Not so much.]

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