The UK Wants to Be China’s Best Friend, Why Not the US?

In a recent Commonwealth Club event in Silicon Valley, two prominent China experts, Martin Jacques, author of When China Rules the World, and Susan Shirk, author of China: Fragile Superpower, had a fascinating exchange of opinions about China’s relationship with the West.

Photo Credit: Frank Jang of the Committee 100.

Photo Credit: Frank Jang of the Committee 100.

The premise of the discussion was that the United Kingdom is the U.S.’s closest ally, but it has adopted a very different policy toward China. As I wrote here, the British now call themselves “China’s best partner in the West.” Last March, the U.K. decided to join China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) despite the strong opposition from the U.S. When the Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the U.K. in November, the British government showered him with an extraordinary pageantry – a startling contrast to his treatment from the U.S. where President Obama threatened to sanction China.

“This is a symptom of the rise of China,” Mr. Jacques said. “It represents a shift in [global] geopolitics.”

Susan Shirk, who is also a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State during the Clinton administration, said the United States has a consistent policy toward China. Since Nixon’s time, Continue reading

Home: What Unites Us as a Nation

At Commonwealth Club’s book signing event in Santa Clara Convention Center, the former Senator and Vice President Candidate John Edwards talked to a roomful enthusiastic crowd about his new book Home, and how our homes shape the ways of our lives and unite us as a nation.

The conversation with John Edwards quickly turned into political discussions. Many questions from the audience surrounded the issues of housing, energy crisis, healthcare, immigration, etc. In particular, people were most interested in his political future. When asked which room in his home is his favorite and which room in the White House, John Edwards answered “the kitchen” for the former and “don’t know YET” for the later.

In his short speech, John Edwards said that America at its best is much better than it is today. Being the most powerful country in the world, the United States has the responsibility to lead and should be a natural rallying point that provides a stabilizing force for the world. However, the US has lost its credibility to lead, and it has many severe consequences.

“The next President of the United States,” said John Edwards, “has the challenge to restore America as a moral leader – to lead by example and lead with integrity. If we do right things for right reasons, be moral and just, it will have good consequences.”

He talked about his plans to develop affordable housing that transcends ethnic and class boundaries for American people, conserve energy consumption at a global level, and deliver a universal healthcare that goes beyond providing access and reducing marginal cost.

He also emphasized that the next President should travel all over the world and meet people, not just the heads of states. I was impressed when I heard him say that there are 3 billion people in the world who live on less than $2 a day and America has responsibility to do something about it.

I particularly like his theme of “One America” and his view on globalization. At the book signing, he took time to talk to people and personalize his autograph. Although I don’t know much about politics, I was convinced that John Edwards would make a good President of the United States. I am glad I was courageous enough to tell him in person!