What's left to be said about the upcoming Xi-Obama summit?
Almost everyone has something to say about the upcoming Xi-Obama summit to the point where I'm not sure if there's anything left unsaid. So instead of providing personal commentary on the summit, here's a roundup of what's been tossed around on the Internets.
Shen Dingli, director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University writes at The Diplomat, "Sino-US relations are still constantly developing and ti's true that a single successful state visit won’t sweep away their various differences. Still, as long as China and the United States can work to genuinely place themselves in the other’s shoes, they have a good chance of minimizing the potential for conflict and of building lasting trust."
Ian Bremmer and Jon Huntsman, Jr. write at the New York Times , "The American and Chinese presidents must seize this opportunity to improve relations; if they don’t, there won’t be another chance for years....THE first step will be for Mr. Obama and his representatives to stop trying to negotiate with the China they want to see and engage China as it is....It is time for the two presidents to think big. Mr. Obama and Mr. Xi should begin work on a declaration of principles, a document that can elevate and focus their partnership....American and Chinese negotiators should begin work to devise a “trade investment framework agreement,” the foundation for a more ambitious deal in years to come. To avoid a repeat of some of the bitter investment conflicts that have developed in recent years, Washington must also finally make clear for Beijing where Chinese direct investment in the United States and in American companies is welcome, and where it is not....the two sides should form a working group that answers directly to Mr. Obama and Mr. Xi, and whose primary mandate is to draw each side’s red lines in a way that minimizes the risk of conflict, particularly on cyberissues."
Douglas H. Paal, Vice President for Studies, writes at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, "They should seek to evoke from each other expressions of principle about handling the major disputes and challenges facing both countries. This is not about crafting a detailed “fourth communiqué,” for which there is neither time nor a need. Nor is it about creating a “G2” consortium of the United States and China to lead world affairs. But if these two powers cannot find a principled way to handle many of the problems they face, regional and global cooperation may prove elusive and competition dangerous."
James McGregor writes in The Atlantic ,"So, how does it not make sense for the American and Chinese presidents to meet face-to-face, one-on-one, once a year, for a couple of days set aside for just that? The risk-reward calculation for such a weekend retreat does not require an MBA. The downside would be that during difficult times the individuals would suppress their ire, and their aides would scramble to find sufficient common ground to announce a happy outcome.
"The upside is that year after year, the two politicians who possess the most outsized influence on world peace and prosperity would sit together as humans and discuss their shared responsibilities and compare the array of burdens and rush of emergencies that disrupt their sleep.
"People-to-people is what works best now in the U.S. China relationship. Chinese and American students are developing deep friendships as they study on each other's campuses. Business ties between American and Chinese companies -- and among employees who work together day to day -- are much more friendly and trusting than the headline disputes would lead you to believe."
Michael Auslin, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, sounds a different note in this piece in Foreign Policy, "The administration is forgetting that national interests, and not personalities, drive international politics. It needs to free itself from the idea that finding the soft spot in a foreign leader antagonistic towards the United States improves bilateral relationships. At least since Leonid Brezhnev, U.S. presidents have been trying to tap into the personal side of authoritarian leaders, so as to penetrate the bureaucratic armor that they believe prevents a more meaningful exchanges of ideas....Crises will be resolved if both parties feel it is in their interest, not according to the strength of the personal relationship between leaders. After all, former President George H.W. Bush's longtime experience in China and close relations with its leaders did nothing to avert the Tiananmen Square massacre. Similarly, Vice President Joe Biden is reputed to have rapport with Xi since their meeting in 2012, but that hasn't translated into any resolution of our outstanding differences, or in the tamping down of tensions with U.S. allies in the East and South China Seas.