Just when you think you’ve seen everything, you get the following: the next leader of China, a nation of 1.3 billion people vying to supplant the United States as the world’s largest economy, flies to America on a goodwill tour and goes to…a farm in Iowa. Yes, Vice President Xi Jinping will spend the evening in Muscatine, Iowa, in the Victorian farmhouse he briefly lived in more than a quarter century ago, when he was an official from the Chinese province of Hebei sent to learn Iowa’s agricultural innovations and bring them back to a China that was then struggling to increase crop yieldsRead More
While Washington is glued to the drama over health care, over the past few days, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has been in Beijing meeting with Chinese leaders including Premier Wen Jiabao and President Hu Jintao. In a series of communiqués, they celebrated the “strategic partnership” between the two countries and charted a course of future close relations.Read More
When President Obama sits down next week with Chinese leader Hu Jintao in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, the two are likely to cover the familiar terrain that has marked relations between their nations: the global economy, currency and trade disputes, carbon emissions and the upcoming Copenhagen summit, and, of course, Taiwan.Read More
China is not happy. That's the title of the bestselling book in China. The five nationalist authors say it is time for China to "split from the West," particularly the United States and the Treasury bonds that Beijing holds to the tune of $1 trillion. This desire for greater distance from America is growing: in a May poll conducted by China's Global Times, 87 percent said they were against buying more U.S. debt.Read More
The current economic crisis has claimed many victims, but what has changed most is the way that the United States is viewed, perhaps permanently. That isn’t ideology; it isn’t declinism; it’s a fact. For all the talk in past year about the shifting balance of power globally, until now it has been just that — talk. Saying that the emerging world of China, India, Brazil and the rest have assumed a new place is like saying that a new army is well-equipped with sharp uniforms and cutting-edge weapons. That doesn’t mean it can fight. Until tested in battle, it’s just a guess. The economic crisis of the past two months has been such a test, and the results are clear: talk of the emerging world as the wave of the future isn’t just speculation; it’s a permanent reality.Read More
Washington’s in an uproar; Woodward inadvertently passes the torch from the Watergate generation to the Plamegate posse; and bereft at the loss of their exterminator, Delay, the Republicans in Congress are heading every which way but loose. Exciting stuff, but across the Pacific Ocean, there’s some boring stuff which matters a whole lot more in the long run. This weekend, the leaders of the U.S. government and the Chinese government will cross chopsticks at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, and our “esteemed leader” will sit down with their esteemed leader.Read More
In the past weeks, the commentariate has been focused on the weather. Two major stories have dominated the agenda – hurricanes in the Gulf and the political winds in Washington, buffered by two Supreme Court vacancies and by the political storm that followed the first actual storm – Katrina.
Both of these storms deserve attention; so do larger issues of the United States in the world, the on-going war in Iraq, and the shifting sands of the questionably named “war on terror.” But I suspect that years from now, the story we will tell will be less about the stories we are telling and more about the ones we aren’t.Read More