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Keep your expectations low for Biden-Xi meeting

Nov 15


On Wednesday, Nov. 15, U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet in San Francisco, marking their first meeting in a year. Their agenda includes discussions on the conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East, efforts to control the flow of fentanyl from China to the U.S., and the opening of military communication channels between the two superpowers.

Straight Arrow News contributor Peter Zeihan thinks the summit couldn’t come at a better time, but he has low expectations for substantial progress.

Excerpted from Peter’s Nov. 15 “Zeihan on Geopolitics” newsletter:

President Biden and Chairman Xi Jinping will have a private meeting at the APEC Summit in San Francisco. I’m not overly optimistic about getting any meaningful information out of this hospice meetup, but it’s better than nothing.

Thanks to the cult of personality established by Xi, getting a message to him is damn near impossible. At the very least, we’re going straight to the source this time, and we’ll get an opportunity to assess the current state of the Chinese leader.

So keep an eye out for some updates after this meeting concludes, but I wouldn’t get your hopes up for anything too exciting…

Hey, everybody, Peter Zane here coming to you from Chicago. I’m recording this on the 14th of November. You’ll see it tomorrow and 15. The news today is that the APEC forum, that’s Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation. It’s a forum that was set up decades ago to help with economic integration among the Asia Pacific region, is having their annual heads of state summit in San Francisco and everyone who’s everyone will be there. But as important that is, and you know, whatever. The real issue is that there’s going to be a bilateral standalone meeting between China’s Chairman Xi Jinping and America’s President Joe Biden. Now there are any number of reasons why it would be a good idea to have a summit right now, there’s big issues going on in trade insecurity. There’s the Korean War, there’s Gaza, there’s energy, this screen transition, it goes on and on and on not, I’d be very surprised if they actually meaningfully discuss any of those issues, because there’s a much more base problem. And that is China. China’s cult of personality that has gathered around Jing Ping has now become so strict that information is not being exchanged in the country. And she has basically shot the messenger so many times that he has very little idea of what’s going on in his own country or the wider world. Whether that’s power outages, or remember that spy balloon we now know that GE didn’t wasn’t even aware of it until after the entire issue was over.
So we have we the United States has tried on multiple occasions to meet with some of the uppity UPS high up within the Chinese bureaucracy and state authority systems, and have discovered that really, no one has reliable access to the chairman at all. So for example, Secretary of State Blinken and Secretary of Defense, Austin have both been to China to speak with their counterparts only to discover that their foreign minister and their defense minister don’t actually have access to the chairman and hadn’t for some time, and by the way, they both got fired shortly thereafter. So we’re saving in the only gun that’s bigger than SecDef. And SEC state and that is the President himself. So G and Biden will be meeting the day you see this the 15th. And I’m not expecting meaningful policy addresses. We’re just trying to find out if the guy has lost his mind at this point. Once you turn 60, you know, things start to go a little sideways. And she is now 70. And since no one except for say Vladimir Putin has had meaningful access to G in years, this will be the first chance for the United States to judge whether the guy on the other side of the table still has his faculties about him. And luckily the person who’s going to be judging whether or not the Chinese leader has failed because of age. Is Joe Biden. So you know, he knows what to look for.

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