Thursday, November 13, 2014

Summit cum laude

Morning taiji in Beijing. Financial Times.
Chris Buckley's lede:
HONG KONG — President Obama will sit down Wednesday with the kind of Chinese leader no American president has ever encountered: a strongman with bold ambitions at home and abroad who sees China as a great power peer of the United States.
Like Mao Zedong's and Deng Xiaoping's ambitions were so on the timid side. I get what he means to say, that Xi Jinping is easier and more fun to interpret in that familiar football-trophy mode whose subtext is always how they might win in the power-projection contest but we can pull it out—but it just sounds so irremediably fatuous.

Xi Jinping may well be the most liberal, or Liberal, Chinese ruler (discounting poor Dr. Sun Yat-sen, who didn't get to do much ruling) since the Qianlong emperor retired in 1795, but I'm pretty sure Obama had something to do with the results coming out of the APEC meeting, which are really kind of spectacular—though Edward Wong at the Times seems to think China's acquiescence to a carbon reduction target is just an odd little side effect of Chinese domestic politics, which has led Xi to a praiseworthy effort to help the citizens breathe:
Chinese leaders have turned their attention to cutting back the country’s reliance on coal, a main pillar of the economy but also a major source of pollution. That led to discussions about how weaning Chinese industries off coal would not just clean the air, but would also permit China to make global commitments in the battle against climate change, the insiders said.
Look out, Senator McConnell, now it's a World War on Coal!

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