In his Sept. 15 op-ed column, “Can China save Europe?,” Fareed Zakaria wrote that China will eventually lose consumers in Europe and America if it does not use its huge foreign exchange reserves to help ease Europe’s debt crisis. So like all economic players, it has a shared interest in resolving it. But Premier Wen Jiabao said that China would step up to the plate, Mr. Zakaria added, only “in return for greater market access to Europe. That’s classic Chinese diplomacy: cautious, incremental and narrowly focused on its interests.”

What is Mr. Zakaria’s answer? “Of course, China would have to get something in return for its generosity . . . a much larger say” at the International Monetary Fund. But why be paltry? Mr. Zakaria proposes guaranteeing China that all future heads of the IMF be Chinese. That’s classic Western preemptive concession-granting. Remember when China was awarded the 2008 Olympics before making promised progress on political reform and human rights, which used to be a precondition for such a national honor?

Joseph A. Bosco, Washington

The writer was the China country desk officer for the office of the Secretary of Defense from 2005 to 2006.