US President Barack Obama won a second term as president Tuesday, however he did not have the same vigorous high spirits he had four years ago.
Even Obama's tiniest achievement in terms of economic recovery has been cherished by the public. The Americans, after hearing Mitt Romney's promise that he would declare China a "currency manipulator" on the first day of his presidency, seemed to retain their rationality.
The world faces another four years of dealing with the Obama administration and a lot of this weight falls upon China.
These profoundly important bilateral relations will decide Obama's maneuvers toward China. The public's general attitude toward China's rise will hinder this to some extent.
The geopolitical relationship between the two countries over the next four years is the very factor that affects Obama's attitude toward China.
China's GDP will exceed 60 percent of that of the US over the coming four years. This is considered a key bottom line in terms of American psychological attitudes.
It remains uncertain whether the US will calmly accept the fact that China is catching up with it.
Obama is more open to diversity than his predecessors. He is not likely to take a tough attitude toward China. However, frictions between the two countries can only increase. It's hard to predict how this will affect bilateral relations overall.
There will be more differences in the Chinese public's attitude toward the US with Chinese society's increasing diversity. China-US relations will be subject to more of China's domestic politics. The US, as a country, has grown less confident but more suspicious. Now China's emphasis on maritime rights and innovation are prodding the nerves of the US. Neighboring countries are more economically dependent on China, which is the largest trade partner for most neighboring countries. Though China has no intention of squeezing the US out of the region, Washington is haunted by worry.
The White House is quickly losing the initiative in bilateral ties with China. Now it has less convenient tools to deal with China. The smart diplomacy promoted by Secretary Hillary Clinton, though making some trouble for China, has brought no tangible gain to the US. It is widely seen as a failed policy.
China is still mired in an inferiority complex toward the US. Perhaps we need a stronger psychological grounding, to have a certain degree of tolerance of US distrust toward China. We are not sure. But the tolerance will only benefit China in the next four years if we don't add to US sensitivities.