Drezner - da blogosphere MAN - has welcomed me by hitting me over the head with a baseball bat... I LOVE IT!
Here's the link: I'm officially welcoming Jim Vreeland to the blogosphere by hitting him over the head with a baseball bat.
Dan disagrees with me about President Obama meeting with the Dali Lama. He makes good points:
"foreign policies are never crafted with a clean slate, even with a change in presidential administrations. If no president had ever met with the Dalai Lama before and then Obama bumped into him in the Map Room, that sends one signal. If every president for two decades met with the Dalai Lama and then Obama abstains from meeting him -- let's call this the Vreeland Gambit -- that sends another signal.
"I understand Vreeland's concerns that Tibet will gum up the foreign economic policy works, but I also know that the signal Obama would have sent by canceling this meeting would not have been a good one.
"I would interpret this is a massive exercise in (oh, the irony) kabuki politics. Obama has a meeting that leads to no real policy differences, and China gets visibly upset and the inconsequential meeting. A week from now, neither side's rhetoric on this issue will matter all that much."
I agree that in the long-run, this particular meeting will not have much of an effect. But it's part of a trend:
(1) US protectionism against Chinese tires
(2) Arms sales to Taiwan
(3) Repeated references from the State Dept to Tibet
(4) Meeting the Dali Lama...
If I were advising the Obama Administration on China policy, my agenda would look more like this:
(1) Press for the revaluation of the renminbi
(2) Press for the revaluation of the renminbi
(3) Press for the revaluation of the renminbi
(4) Press for the revaluation of the renminbi ...
To be more specific:
(1) I would make the revaluation of the renminbi an integral part of daily US public discourse domestically
(2) I would make the revaluation of the renminbi an integral part of daily international public discourse
(3) I would address the domestic audience in China about this issue - yes, revaluation would hurt the export sector, but it would help the growing consumer class in China - esp. people who want to send their children to study abroad in the United States
With this last point in mind, please note that we in the United States have so many friends in the citizens of China - people who would love to embrace our most important policy objectives. But don't underestimate how much meeting the Dali Lama offends Chinese people - and here I mean the people, not Beijing, whose reaction is actually moderate compared to that of many Chinese.
By showing some sensitivity on this issue - even just a little - Obama could go a long way towards opening a dialogue with most Chinese people. Obama has been so deft at addressing the public in Iran. Winning points with the domestic audience in China would be so easy if he'd snub the Dali Lama.
Would this send a signal? Yes it would - to the country with whom we have an interesting economic arrangement of mutually assured destruction... It would send a signal that we are taking China seriously and are interested in a serious dialogue about the most immediate threat to world stability.
We need to work on the G2… and fast. For, the root cause of the financial collapse is still looming large… to the tune of $800 billion in debt. This is the next crisis waiting to happen. And every time I hear our governments talking about Tibet they’re not talking about solving this serious problem. And if we don’t, then we’ll really be hit over the head with a baseball bat…