There is one other factor at work. Ever since the U.S. moved to rebuild relations with China under President Nixon, it has been trying to persuade China to engage with the international system -- to behave more like a "normal" country. That policy over time has been a spectacular success. Although the transition is not yet complete, China has come to believe that its interests are best served by participating in regional organizations and summits and by joining such organizations as the World Trade Organization.
China's pride at hosting the 2008 Summer Olympics is a sign of how far this transformation has gone. Just 40 years ago, it was news when the Chinese invited a group of Americans to play ping-pong. Now China has the ability -- and the will -- to host the most high-profile, expensive and complex festival in the world of international sport.