Go West, Old Men – Thomas Friedman

From the New York Times, via Peking Duck (link):

As any loyal N.F.L. fan knows, there is something called the “West Coast offense”, a freewheeling style of play invented by Coach Bill Walsh. Watching the recent visit of China’s president, Hu Jintao, left me wondering if America wouldn’t benefit from a “West Coast foreign policy.”

It was surely no accident that President Hu made his first stop in the U.S. in Washington State, not Washington, D.C., to dine with Bill Gates, who gave him the “state dinner” that the Bush White House refused to extend. Why the Bush team was unwilling to host the Chinese president for a state dinner is beyond me. If I owed someone $1 trillion, I’d give him a state dinner. I’d also give him breakfast, lunch and Chinese takeout.

But, more important than the meal, why the rush visit? Are there any two leaders in the world with more to talk about than Presidents Bush and Hu? How about hammering out a joint position on Iran, since the only way that Iran is likely to back down on its nuclear arms program is if China stands up to it? How about forging a joint Manhattan Project on alternative energy between the U.S. and China, or a real plan to get Chinese consumers to spend more and Americans to save more to help balance our trade?