Weekend Roundup: The Inconvenient Truth About the Xi-Obama Deal — It Takes a Strong State to Fight Climate Change


Nathan Gardels is the editor-in-chief of Noema Magazine.

It takes a strong state, not (to paraphrase Hillary Clinton) a democratic village, to aggressively fight climate change. This is the inconvenient message emerging in the wake of the Xi-Obama deal on global warming announced in Beijing this week.

Both leaders will pursue executive action to fulfill their pledges. As Kerry Brown writes, Xi’s decision is binding within China because a long process of consultation and consensus building within the Communist Party stands behind it. What Obama can do is up for grabs. No sooner did the pledge escape his lips than the incoming Republican majority leaders in the U.S. Congress make their own pledge to block Obama by any means necessary.

In The WorldPost this week, World Bank president Jim Yong Kim writes that the landmark Xi-Obama agreement is not only good for the environment, but also for the economy. Environmentalist Bill McKibben parses out “what the deal is, and what it isn’t.”

Al Gore also joins in the praise for U.S. and China cooperation in reducing carbon emissions. Behind the welcoming handshakes at the APEC Summit in China, tensions remained. Writing from Beijing, Yanmei Xie looks at the tough next steps required for China and Japan to come to terms after Prime Minister Abe and President Xi’s brief encounter. Xu Hui from China’s National Defense University argues that it is Obama’s “pivot” to Asia, not Chinese policies, that is causing mounting tension in the region. Chinese Major General Peng Guangqian says provocatively that China’s restraint is “winning both time and space for the soft-landing of American hegemony.” Former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating worries that, by underestimating each other’s resolve, the U.S. and China could be headed for a 1914 type conflict. In an interview, Zbigniew Brzezinski calls for a “Pacific Charter” between China and the U.S. to guarantee global stability.

Princeton sociologist Gilbert Rozman warns the West that the Sino-Russia partnership is stronger than it thinks. Notre Dame student Dan Feng reports on her travels around China outside Beijing asking ordinary people what the “Chinese dream” means to them. In a split screen photo essay, WorldPost China Correspondent Matt Sheehan contrasts the clean air during the days of the APEC Summit with the normally smoggy skies in Beijing. Matt also explains the power politics behind China’s climate pledge and unpackages the country’s record-breaking online shopping spree: Singles Day.

Writing from Hong Kong, Karim Rushdy makes a case for protectionism as the best way to bolster Myanmar’s fragile and fledgling local economy. In a missive to the G-20 leaders gathering in Brisbane, Australia this weekend, Pope Francis chides “unbridled consumerism” for destroying the environment and calls for action to stem social inequality.

Turning to the Middle East, Ilias Alaoui Belrhiti examines the social media savvy of ISIS — including using cute cats in its propaganda. Jack Miles, the Pulitzer Prize winning editor of the Norton Anthology on World Religions, sees the Sunni-Shia war in the Middle East as akin to the “30 Years” religious wars within Christianity that had to exhaust its bloody course before finding reconciliation. Peter Mellgard reports that Sen. John McCain, the incoming chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, charges that President Obama is not listening to the advice of his own commanders in the fight against ISIS. From Istanbul, WorldPost Middle East Correspondent Sophia Jones writes about the troubling attack on American sailors by a hypernationalist Turkish group.

As rumors surfaced of the injury — and even death — of the Islamic State’s leader early in the week, the WorldPost’s “Forgotten Fact“ explores whether the death of a terrorist leader means the end of the group.

Finally, in a wide-ranging interview Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood discusses her fiction, social media and climate change.


EDITORS: Nathan Gardels, Senior Advisor to the Berggruen Institute on Governance and the long-time editor of NPQ and the Global Viewpoint Network of the Los Angeles Times Syndicate/Tribune Media, is the Editor-in-Chief of The WorldPost. Farah Mohamed is the Managing Editor of The WorldPost. Kathleen Miles is the Senior Editor of the WorldPost. Alex Gardels is the Associate Editor of The WorldPost. Nicholas Sabloff is the Executive International Editor at the Huffington Post, overseeing The WorldPost and HuffPost’s 10 international editions. Eline Gordts is HuffPost’s Senior World Editor.

CORRESPONDENTS: Sophia Jones in Istanbul; Matt Sheehan in Beijing.

EDITORIAL BOARD: Nicolas Berggruen, Nathan Gardels, Arianna Huffington, Eric Schmidt (Google Inc.), Pierre Omidyar (First Look Media) Juan Luis Cebrian (El Pais/PRISA), Walter Isaacson (Aspen Institute/TIME-CNN), John Elkann (Corriere della Sera, La Stampa), Wadah Khanfar (Al Jazeera), Dileep Padgaonkar (Times of India) and Yoichi Funabashi (Asahi Shimbun).

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Moises Naim (former editor of Foreign Policy), Nayan Chanda (Yale/Global; Far Eastern Economic Review) and Katherine Keating (One-On-One). Sergio Munoz Bata and Parag Khanna are Contributing Editors-At-Large.

The Asia Society and its ChinaFile, edited by Orville Schell, is our primary partner on Asia coverage. Eric X. Li and the Chunqiu Institute/Fudan University in Shanghai and Guancha.cn also provide first person voices from China. We also draw on the content of China Digital Times. Seung-yoon Lee is The WorldPost link in South Korea.

Jared Cohen of Google Ideas provides regular commentary from young thinkers, leaders and activists around the globe. Bruce Mau provides regular columns from MassiveChangeNetwork.com on the “whole mind” way of thinking. Patrick Soon-Shiong is Contributing Editor for Health and Medicine.

ADVISORY COUNCIL: Members of the Berggruen Institute’s 21st Century Council and Council for the Future of Europe serve as the Advisory Council — as well as regular contributors — to the site. These include, Jacques Attali, Shaukat Aziz, Gordon Brown, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Juan Luis Cebrian, Jack Dorsey, Mohamed El-Erian, Francis Fukuyama, Felipe Gonzalez, John Gray, Reid Hoffman, Fred Hu, Mo Ibrahim, Alexei Kudrin, Pascal Lamy, Kishore Mahbubani, Alain Minc, Dambisa Moyo, Laura Tyson, Elon Musk, Pierre Omidyar, Raghuram Rajan, Nouriel Roubini, Nicolas Sarkozy, Eric Schmidt, Gerhard Schroeder, Peter Schwartz, Amartya Sen, Jeff Skoll, Michael Spence, Joe Stiglitz, Larry Summers, Wu Jianmin, George Yeo, Fareed Zakaria, Ernesto Zedillo, Ahmed Zewail, and Zheng Bijian.

From the Europe group, these include: Marek Belka, Tony Blair, Jacques Delors, Niall Ferguson, Anthony Giddens, Otmar Issing, Mario Monti, Robert Mundell, Peter Sutherland and Guy Verhofstadt.


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