Nixon and Kissinger had started a good thing going for America over China, but now, their successors want to throw it all away for short-term advantages or purposes which are unclear even to themselves.
The solution to growing inequality in rich countries is neither freer trade nor protectionism, but training of workers and social redistribution. Globalisation’s social consequences can only be addressed by domestic policy initiatives.
Given China’s manufacturing heft, it is no surprise that it is the world’s biggest carbon emitter. But Beijing is also taking practical measures to transition to a carbon neutral economy, and inspiring other developing countries in the process.
China is committed to carbon neutrality by 2060 but in the short term, Beijing simply has to address an energy shortfall and keep the lights on. By moving manufacturing to China, the West has offshored some of its carbon emissions. It is not in a position to criticise Beijing.
Biden’s quest is to ensure more US economic demand is met domestically without further inflaming tensions with China. Unemployment is falling and long-term growth prospects are looking up, but there is still much to do to lure lost productive capacity back home.
Apec nations are failing to deliver on commitments to cooperate on the pandemic and climate change. Unless the US relaxes its grip on global institutions and allows China to play a bigger role, Beijing will go its own way.
While some thought the certification of Biden’s win after the ransacking of the Capitol would be the beginning of the end for Trump, the opposite has occurred as shown by Senator Chuck Grassley’s appearance alongside Trump at a rally over the weekend.