Tuesday, December 22, 2009

US China Relations

Earlier I was very downcast about the potential for China-American cooperation. James Fallows, among others, hit back against this train of thought by arguing that this sort of diplomatic engagement takes time, and more progress would surely follow.

Now Fallows links to an account of Copenhagen, supposedly by someone "in the room" so to speak during the US-China negotiations. The claim is that China deliberately scuttled the talks to maximize blame on the West generally, and America in particular.

Obviously, I can't vouch for the validity of the claim. But the fact of its plausibility highlights that the climate change talks are prominent not because they represent the pathway to progress, but because they're perpetually deadlocked. The China-US G2 relationship receives so much press coverage not because it is the fundamental driver of global governance, as the Europeans seem to fear, but because that relationship is so badly dysfunctional. The BRICs have the political power of major powers yet behave like the poor countries they really are.

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