I've been watching the coverage of the San Francisco protests during the Olympic torch ceremony. I'm opposed to the totalitarian government of China, and I'm opposed to the way that they are treating Tibet, but the wild protests in San Francisco is enough to make me think that the relationship between the US and China is more important to the US than I thought.
After all, these are the people who only protest brutal governments that are US allies. When China was an enemy of the US, they were big fans of China. Same for Russia, Cuba, Iraq, Iran, North Vietnam, North Korea, and any number of other anti-US governments. Those governments were all, at one time or another more brutal and totalitarian than China is today, but the San Francisco crowd wasn't protesting them then. Quite the contrary, they had protests in favor of those governments: anti-Vietnam-War protests, unilateral-disarmament protests, anti-Iraq-War protests and others.
The fact that these people are protesting against China makes me think that China is a far more important and reliable ally to the US than I had thought.