The Obama-Hu Summit: Part II

01/20/2011 07:39 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The summit served a useful purpose in improving atmospherics. Obama said the US welcomed the rise of China (something I remember hearing Bill Clinton tell Jiang Zemin in 1995), and at the State Department luncheon I attended, Hu spoke of becoming a responsible great power. Now we will wait to see if Chinese behavior changes when he gets back home. It is interesting to note that China is running a billboard advertisement in Times Square in New York as part of its soft power campaign. As I argue in The Future of Power, if Chinese soft power increases in the US and American soft power increases in China, that can be a win-win situation in conflict avoidance. Polls now show about half of the American public has a positive view of China. But release of Liu Xiaobo from prison would do a lot more for China's soft power than Hu's admission yesterday that China still has a way to go on human rights!