Most Americans, only marginally less ethnocentric today than twenty years ago, have a simplistic, nuance-free view of China and the Chinese people. Although apprehensive about the rise of an economic juggernaut and its impact on the American way of life, the images China casts up are rooted in the past.
Looking at the present day through the lens of the recent past provides food for thought, if not grounds for pessimism. Hope for what tomorrow will bring has evaporated in many places in the West. But it's still very much alive and well in the East, where the web of routes once known as the Silk Roads are now rising again.
SEOUL, South Korea -- Beijing never shifted its bottom line of supporting North Korea. The real reason Xi befriended Park, even at the expense of estranging Pyongyang, was to detach, or at least to distance, South Korea from the network of American alliances in Northeast Asia in which Seoul is regarded as its weakest link.