Saturday Headlines

Leaders Of China And Taiwan Shake Hands In Historic Meeting
The first-ever meeting between President Xi Jinping of China and Ma Ying-jeou, the president of Taiwan, took place on Saturday and was an odd mix of stagecraft and statesmanship.

During the meeting Xi cautioned Ma not to let pro-democracy movements split the two sides.

“No force can pull us apart because we are brothers who are still connected by our flesh even if our bones are broken, we are a family in which blood is thicker than water,” he said.

In response, Ma stressed that they “should respect each other’s values and way of life to ensure mutual benefit and a win-win situation across the straits,” according to The Asia Times.

Each leader hoped to use the one-hour meeting to seal his legacy as one who helped bring decades of division and mistrust to a mutually acceptable end. Both sides had said no agreements would be signed or joint statements issued and after the head-to-head, each convened separate news conferences.

What Would A Clinton Foreign Policy Look Like?
As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton largely represented the interests and principles of President Barack Obama. As president, she will no longer be the follower, but the leader of the free world, so James Traub of Foreign Policy looks at how her administration would differ from Obama and what that means for the US.

“A President Hillary Clinton would almost certainly be more confident about the utility of force than President Obama has been (or a President Biden would have been). She was the most enthusiastic of all of Obama’s senior civilian advisors about the counterinsurgency plan his generals proposed for Afghanistan in 2009; she helped persuade a very reluctant commander in chief to bomb Libya to prevent atrocities there,” Traub asserts.

However, he adds that in discussions with Clinton aides, it becomes clear she is a “cautious figure who distrusts grandiose rhetorical formulations, is deeply grounded in the harsh realities of politics, and prefers small steps to large ones” and that her “belief in the use of American power has less to do with the humanitarian impulse to prevent injustice abroad than with the belief that only coercion works with refractory nations and leaders.”

Has The French Intellectual Faded From Glory?
For decades it was not uncommon to hear on the streets of Paris animated discussions of the arts, humanities, and philosophy. Writing in Politico, Sudhir Hazareesingh says the once-dominant French intellectual has been lost in the shadows as a growing pessimism has emerged.

“The dominant characteristics of contemporary French intellectual production are its superficial, derivative qualities (typified by figures such as Bernard-Henri Levy) and its starkly pessimistic state of mind. The pamphlets which top the best-selling non-fiction charts in France nowadays are not works offering the promise of a new dawn, but nostalgic appeals to lost traditions of heroism, such as Stéphane Hessel’s “Indignez Vous!” (2010), and Islamophobic and self-pitying tirades echoing the message of Marine Le Pen’s Front National about the destruction of French identity,” he laments.

 

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