If imitation is the highest form of flattery, the United States should feel very flattered indeed as China has been learning from Washington for decades, including how to act (or not act) like the world’s pre-eminent power or using its influence to get its way — behavior that China condemns as hegemonism but which it practices itself all the same.

Beijing has been emulating Washington for a long time. During Jiang Zemin’s presidency, for example, China desired to have a presidential plane just like Air Force One. The plane was ordered, paid for and delivered but has never been used for its original purpose apparently because of the numerous bugs found on the aircraft.

China denounces the United States for “long-arm jurisdiction” by imposing sanctions on foreign entities and individuals. But then, after the Nobel Peace Prize was given to a Chinese dissident, Norway discovered that China had lost its appetite for its salmon. Similarly, Australia found its exports to China cut severely after the airing of political differences. China made no attempt to get United Nations approval for such unofficial sanctions.