Google recently learned and revealed that their systems were attacked by sources in China, and that secret corporate information was stolen as a result. They are deciding whether or not to stay in China. Their investigation also revealed that several other corporations, human rights activists, and Washington based think tanks were also attacked as part of a “Vast Espionage Campaign.”

These cyber attacks were vast, targeted, and very sophisticated. The very nature of the targets, and the level of complexity of these hacks implicate Chinese government or military involvement.

In many circles, attacks on American assets by foreign governments are not taken kindly. Yet the nation’s leaders are left with the burden of deciding the pros and cons of disenfranchising the U.S. from China, with all her recently gained global economic power, political influence on the U.N. Security Counsel, and on the industrialized nations of the world.

Granted, this is uncharted territory with regards to U.S. policy towards cyber espionage from foreign nations. Though the presumption is that the Chinese government is behind the attacks, investigators may be left unable to prove any sort of solid connection. This is problematic.

The Obama Administration’s response thus far is to call the incident “troubling,” and that “the federal government is looking into it.” Don’t expect this to amount to anything approaching a change in U.S. foreign diplomatic policies toward China. The rhetoric of the administration’s desire for change in China is but hortatory and tantamount to ‘speaking softly and carrying a little stick.’

Though frustrating, this is perhaps a reality of America’s position in this new world, with China emerging as a real super power. Relations with China can be embraced, despite these and other intrusive actions homologous to theft. Conversely, the leaders of the United States can call China’s bluff, push back, either finding better footing in the relationship, or potentially engage in a new cold war with a very powerful nation, with large ties to American economic activity at present, and which happens to hold the largest chip in the U.S. debt.

On the other hand, perhaps the market will work this one out. Perhaps a do nothing approach by the U.S. government is best. The Chinese believe Google’s decision, either way, will not affect U.S./China relations, nor foreign investors’ interest in China. It is, however, unlikely that foreign investors will be confident in a Chinese market where the rules of fair game aren’t followed, especially when Google is not. No corporation wants their secrets stolen, or the security of their customers’ accounts jeopardized.

Further, China has her own problems. It may be perceived as an emerging super power with global influence enough to threaten the economies and foreign policies of uncooperative nations. Yet China will soon face an aging population that must be supported by a younger generation of multiple fewer numbers, disproportionately male. They will be over burdened by these conditions. Their men, overwhelmingly out numbering women, will have to seek mates from foreign lands. All this will change the whole dynamic of the Chinese civilization.

U.S. decisions will have far reaching consequences here. Facing them, and all the others pressing on American civilization (which are both many and of dire importance) would weigh heavily on any President. Obama‘s hairs will be turning gray for the foreseeable future.