Xi Jinping’s in the House
Xi comes to America: This week, at an estate outside of San Francisco, President Joe Biden met with Chinese President Xi Jinping as part of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit. They talked about stemming fentanyl production, keeping lines of communication open between the two countries’ militaries, and Taiwan’s future, among other things. But little was agreed to.
“There was a time when summits with Chinese leaders resulted in agreements on containing North Korea and keeping Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, on climate goals and economic coordination to avoid financial crises and joint efforts in counterterrorism. Those days are over,” wrote Katie Rogers and David E. Sanger for The New York Times. Now, “there is little to no prospect of changed behavior.”
Afterward, Biden called Xi a dictator again, a move that has earned the Chinese Communist Party leader’s chagrin in the past. “He’s a dictator in the sense that he’s a guy who runs a country that is a communist country,” said Biden.
The whole thing seemed pretty photo-oppy and of limited use, though the two leaders “agreed to steps that could help curb the flow of Chinese chemicals used in the U.S. production of fentanyl,” per Politico.
China-watchers criticized the talks for ignoring the giant nuclear elephant in the room. “When it comes to the U.S. nuclear posture in East Asia—deploying and expanding America’s nuclear arsenal as a deterrent to Chinese hostilities—Biden is not only following Trump’s lead but in some ways taking an even more aggressive stance than his predecessor did,” wrote Michael Hirsh for Politico. “Many experts fear Washington and Beijing are headed into a tit-for-tat spiral of nuclear confrontation that could come to resemble the brinkmanship of the Cold War.”
And yet, the San Francisco talks had pretty much nothing on that, as far as we know. There was some talk of reining in the use of artificial intelligence in nuke deployment, but little beyond that; it was essentially one big “we’ll circle back on that later” meeting.
Potemkin San Francisco: Meanwhile, the long-failing city of San Francisco was seemingly cleaned up overnight—or at least parts of it were—seemingly to prepare for Xi’s arrival.
This became heavily memed:
San Francisco if Xi stayed longer than three days. pic.twitter.com/a3VAj5R6Y5
— Autism Capital ???? (@AutismCapital) November 13, 2023
Dad just said Uncle Xi is coming over. pic.twitter.com/VOnC0jVx9h
— Autism Capital ???? (@AutismCapital) November 14, 2023
California Gov. Gavin Newsom claimed that, well actually, this cleanup process had long been underway, but also that of course the city would clean up in advance of world leaders coming over for dinner. “Obviously, any time you put on an event, by definition…you know, you have people over to your house, you’re going to clean up the house,” said Newsom. “You’re going to make sure the kids make their beds, you know. Take the socks, you know, put them in the drawer, in the hamper.”
What Newsom misses is that taxpayers deserve for their dollars to be put to good use all the time, not just when foreign leaders visit.
Besides, it’s als
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