Dissecting China's "New" Carbon Goal
November 30, 2009

It usually takes some effort to unpack China's various climate pledges, and this latest one is no exception. Last week, Beijing declared that the country would aim to reduce its carbon intensity by 40 to 45 percent by 2020. This doesn't mean China's overall emissions will drop, it just means that CO2 emissions per unit of GDP will decline. Because China's economy is growing at such a torrid pace, overall emissions will keep ticking upward—it's just that the rate of growth will slow.

Losing the Democracies: Obama's Heart is With the Hooligans
November 24, 2009

At least, that's what many of our old and deeply democratic friends seem to feel. Now, it's hard to accept that the president of the United States would actually make that choice. He probably feels--but how do I really know? I actually don't--that the hooligans and especially the hooligans who produce our oil and the hooligans who buy our products are the folk we need court more than our historic allies. After all, what else can they do but stick with us? Tough darts! Obama's initiatives up to now--with Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Russia, China--have been failures.

A Post-China Trip Surprise?
November 19, 2009

Interesting point about the China trip from expert Minxin Pie, via Mike Allen: What was accomplished: There may be a silver lining. Because the press coverage of his trip is quite bad, it may have caused some heartburn in Beijing. At the end of the day, Chinese leaders know that a good relationship with Obama (and a weakened Obama cannot manage U.S.-China ties effectively) will be in China's interest. So there is a chance that China will do something after the trip is over to show that Obama's visit is not fruitless after all. Sounds plausible.

Obama in Seoul: My Problem with Foreign News
November 19, 2009

I used to be the foreign editor of In These Times in Chicago. I didn’t particularly enjoy the job, because I have never been fascinated with the world outside of the United States. I am not sure whether I could find Honduras or Liberia on a map, and I have never mastered the current spelling of Chinese names.

Obama's China Quandary
November 18, 2009

I haven't said much about Obama's China visit trip, in part because I'm no expert on Sino-American policy. But what Peter Beinart says here rings quite true for me: So it’s all well and good for the Obama administration to pay more attention to China. But the more attention the activist left and right pays, the harder it will be for Team Obama to come to terms with the new limits of American power. Try convincing the tea-bag crowd that the U.S. should cut its greenhouse gasses more than China does.

Obama Takes Baby Steps In Beijing
November 17, 2009

With the global talks over a climate treaty decelerating, Obama's trying to see if there are side deals to strike with China—something that could ease the worldwide talks along. So far, progress has been pretty modest. Earlier today, Obama met with Chinese President Hu Jintao and the two announced several key energy issues on which the countries would work together. There's $150 million over five years to start a joint "clean energy research center." There's cooperation on electric-vehicle standards and on sharing knowledge about energy efficiency.

Earth to Obama
October 01, 2009

Bill McKibben: You can't negotiate with the planet.

Inside the Security Council, Cont'd
September 24, 2009

At the opening of this morning's special Security Council session on nukes, Barack Obama opened his remarks with this dramatic vision: As I said yesterday, this very institution was founded at the dawn of the atomic age, in part because man's capacity to kill had to be contained.  And although we averted a nuclear nightmare during the Cold War, we now face proliferation of a scope and complexity that demands new strategies and new approaches.  Just one nuclear weapon exploded in a city -- be it New York or Moscow; Tokyo or Beijing; London or Paris -- could kill hundreds of thousands of people

China's More Exotic Demands
September 18, 2009

As Noam explains in his piece about the U.S.-China Strategic & Economic Dialogue (S&ED), Beijing has been rooting for major alterations to the U.S. health care system—especially ones that reduce long-term pressure on the federal budget.

The Chinese, Their Dollar Reserves, and Our Trade Scuffle
September 15, 2009

The good news is that the Chinese have decided to try to resolve the dispute between our two countries over their tire exports at the World Trade Organization, meaning "the disagreement may be containable," as the Journal puts it today.