So where is China going? I think the Internet is hastening China along the same path that South Korea, Chile and especially Taiwan pioneered. In each place, a booming economy nurtured a middle class, rising education, increased international contact and a growing squeamishness about torturing dissidents.
President Hu has fulminated in private speeches that foreign "hostile forces" are trying to change China. Yup, count me in - anybody who loves China as I do would be hostile to an empty Mao suit like Mr. Hu. But it's the Chinese leadership itself that is digging the Communist Party's grave, by giving the Chinese people broadband.
I hope that Kristof is right. But until Mr. Hu renounces his Mao-in-a-Western-Suit approach to governance and Communism dies in China, they threaten, as all despots and despotic regimes in history have, to export their despotism economically and militarily. Containing the Chinese regime must be the highest foreign policy priority of the US government because it is the greatest threat to the US and the world, both economically and militarily.