English author G K Chesterton rhymed about "the night we went to Bannockburn by way of Brighton Pier", and it may seem no less whimsical to argue that the United States' road to recovery, as well as Barack Obama's path to presidential greatness, run through China.
In the rush to prop up America's financial institutions, foreign economic policy seems remote from Washington's agenda. America wants to revive the mortgage market and consumer spending. The effort is doomed to failure. For a quarter of a century the American consumer has been the locomotive of the world economy, and now the locomotive has derailed and taken the rest of the world economy with it.