Tuesday, July 28, 2009

C-Span shows China-US talks; Did Rubin zing Kissinger?

Again I get stuck in a live C-Span thing, going on for quite a while now Tuesday evening, talks between the US and China on strategic and economic issues, and no doubt quite important. After all, this connection is where we apply government health care to the sclerotic global economy and to the atmosphere choking on tons of carbon effluent.

As I flip it on, there’s a stage and people coming up and introducing each other, and here’s Robert Rubin, former guru to the Clintons, former Citibank over-achiever. And he says he’s introducing Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.

This is a reversal of their earlier roles, he said, alluding to a time when Geithner was the apprentice and Rubin the boss. And Rubin went on to say (here your blogger is closely paraphrasing) , I won’t recite his resume, but he has a long record of public service – except for the period when he worked for Henry Kissinger.

This earned a burst of startled laughter from the crowd of business and government figures. Made me snort, too, as it appears to cast aspersions on the life work of Henry Kissinger.

And sure enough, a half-hour later, up there on live C-Span is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the microphone with an effusive introduction for Henry Kissinger as the pioneer who led the opening to China that they are now building upon. Makes him sound quite heroic, in fact, though I hear that most think Henry K was just doing what his president, Richard Nixon, told him to do, rather than being the initiator himself.

Kissinger, gracious in his advanced age, has the task of introducing the main Chinese speaker, State Counselor Dai Bingguo, and devotes most of his time to praising the courage of the Chinese side back in the 1970s, led by Deng Xiaoping, to respond to the US overtures .

Well, the significance of this event is not clear to this distant observer, so I’ll just say, Thank you, C-Span, for the amazing stuff you show live.

UPDATE: This link take you to the text of the memorandum of understanding issued after the talks. I searched around the NY Times for some analysis of this two-day set of negotiations between the two biggest polluters on earth but found only a small blog entry. The Washington Post has a nice dull article about it all. As to other atmospherics, I saw on Facebook a report from Miami's own Noah Gray that there was a HUGE anti-China demo at the White House. No doubt some fallout from human rights issues on the Uyghurs. Thanks, Noah.


The Huffington Post beat the big newspapers in substantial coverage of this event. Robert Borosage notes in his piece that the Times and Post are mute on the topic. Yay, blogosphere wins again!

What are we talking about here? Says Borosage:

This represents a staggering transformation that will require stark changes in policy across the world.

Our unsustainable “way of life,” as the Bush administration called it, has got to go. And we’re talking about it with China. And the mainstream media can’t get a handle on it while Sarah Palin distracts attention, so it goes uncovered.

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