Small Mercies: China and America after 9/11

Despite some shared interests in fighting Al-Qaeda, September 11 isn't really a watershed for Sino-American relations.

Issue: Winter 2001-2002

"This changes everything" was Senator Chuck Hagel's verdict as he surveyed the transmogrified landscape of international and domestic politics in the immediate wake of the "911" attacks. Others, such as retiring senator and China nemesis Jesse Helms, asserted that nothing fundamental has changed in U.S.-China relations, and that nothing should change. As for Taiwan, it hopes Helms is right but fears Hagel may be. It worries that Washington may seek to win Beijing's help in the struggle against global terrorism at its expense; as the China Post in Taipei put it: "Communism . . . is no longer considered a serious threat but rather a helping hand in the new war against terrorism."

The unsurprising but useful truth is that some things have changed and others have not. The trick is to figure out which is which.

You must be a subscriber of The National Interest to access this article. If you are already a subscriber, please activate your online access. Not a subscriber? Become a subscriber today!