Her most important point:
If we want China to be a responsible world power on issues such as energy security, climate change, human rights and even space-based weapons, we need to step up and lead. We can and should condemn China for not respecting the international rules governing these issues or negatively affecting other countries’ well-being, but we must be prepared to play by the same rules. While other powers may have granted American exceptionalism in the past, China is not inclined to do so. Indeed, China is more likely to seek its own “exceptional” status.
Even if we get that far, there will still be a tough road ahead. The transparency, accountability and rule of law that responsible world leadership entails are nascent and under constant threat in China. This is where Washington has it right. We need a strong commitment — from the federal government as well as the private sector — to helping, if not pushing, China in the right direction, and we need to do so with a long-term perspective.
As we have seen in recent years, when the world’s leading power acts like a revolutionary power, international order invariably suffers.
This does not mean that the US and other liberal democracies should hold off from pushing for change in international relations, namely from encouraging the move away from the Westphalian model of sovereignty. But they — the US especially — have to temper their enthusiasm for revolutionary change with a realization that pushing too hard risks undermining international order.