The Summit of Low Expectations
SAN DIEGO – In the run-up to President Barack Obama’s first visit to China next month, American and Chinese diplomats have been compiling lists of ongoing cooperative endeavors in case no new agreements materialize. Indeed, that outcome appears likely.
The problem is as much the fault of the United States as it is of the Chinese. Whereas agreements require hard work on both sides, the Americans are having a difficult time negotiating their country’s domestic political obstacles in time to engage effectively with China.
With the Copenhagen climate summit only weeks away, forging a commitment on climate change is the most pressing challenge. The US and China are the world’s two biggest emitters of carbon dioxide. Obama administration officials had been hoping that bilateral cooperation to tackle this common threat might deepen the US-China partnership in the same way that the common Soviet threat brought Nixon and Mao together in 1972.
We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.
To continue reading, subscribe now.
Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.
Already have an account or want to create one? Log in