CHENEY: Right. And I -- I would disagree with Bob to the extent that -- that our weak hand is of our doing. And, you know, when -- when
you go to China and you basically got, it looks like from the outside, two major objectives you're trying to achieve, one is devaluation of the currency, encouraging them to move to a free-market model, and, secondly, is getting them onboard on Iran, and you've either not done enough groundwork or you have naively believed that if you refuse to meet with the Dalai Lama and you, you know, defer decisions on arms sales to Taiwan that the Chinese will fall in line, you're not going to accomplish anything.
So, you know, we had yet another foreign trip which was I think, sadly, style over substance. And, you know, the problem is that -- that, with each of these trips, we're weakening ourselves. And we are sending a very negative message to our allies in Asia and -- and around the world, frankly, that we are willing to let the China regime stage-manage a trip like this.
And -- and I get a sense there's no understanding inside the White House about the value of America power and prestige. We certainly are more powerful than China. And we should not be, through our words and actions, giving the impression that we believe we are two equal superpowers in the world.
WILL: For 37 years, every administration has bet, since Nixon went to China, on a theory, and the theory was that capitalism, market economy, which requires a judicial system to enforce promises, which are called contracts, needs a vast dissemination of information and decision-making that capitalism by its mores and working would subvert the regime, that you could not have an authoritarian market society.
It's the Starbucks fallacy. It turns out to be a fallacy, that if the Chinese have a choice of coffees, they'll want a -- they'll demand a choice of political candidates. We may be wrong. It could be...
ISAACSON: Yes, but we may be right. That is, actually, you know, there's some great truth to that. And in the long run, you're not going to be able to sustain an economy where you allow people all sorts of choice when they're trying to do their business, but don't allow them the...
CHENEY: ... as an American president, you can demand -- sorry, just
one thing -- you can demand, when you go into China and you're going to have a press conference, you can say, "We're taking questions." I mean, there are very clear things, steps you can take to send the message that we actually believe in freedom and democracy.
REICH: I agree with Liz. I think that -- that in preparation for this trip, as in many others, even the trip to Europe to try to sell Chicago as the Olympics, there needs to be more thought about the appearance of weakness or strength that may come out of the trip.
But I want to go back to, George, your point, because I think the big issue over the next 10 years and the big contest is going to be between authoritarian capitalism, a la China, and democratic capitalism,
a la the United States. And it's not clear to me that authoritarian capitalism is not going to win, that is, it -- there is so much efficiency. The Chinese say, "We're going to build 10 new universities. We're going to build this. We're going to build this." And, boom, it happens.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You guys manage to do it every time, right and left