A prominent group of American China specialists warns against a "containment" policy toward China. The American public is unwilling to bear the burden of a strong foreign policy. China has the capacity to inflict considerable harm on a variety of U.S. national interests. And "given some hopeful tendencies today alive in China," engagement could encourage China's leaders to "follow the international norms" of "the United States and its allies." Metzger, a widely respected China historian, argues that "perestroika" (economic and social reform) should be given priority over "glasnost" (political freedom). An impressive social science literature shows that there are "social requisites of democracy" such as levels of per capita income, urbanization, and literacy, and that, "pressing for immediate democratization is not . . . the most effective way to democratize in all cases." Moreover, in some cases nondemocratic, authoritarian rule may be morally justified to maintain stability. And the "Chinese democracy movement" does not criticize the PRC government in a balanced way, has not developed a practical alternative to the present regime, and is highly utopian -- as is evident from its failure to appreciate the importance of the Taiwan experience.
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