Southern Weekly outdid itself in promoting US-China understanding this week. They hosted a Q&A panel– composed of six American intellectuals and one Chinese- about the direction President Barack Obama will take US foreign policy. The Americans include renown political scientists from Brookings Institution, Center for Naval Analyses, Center for Strategic and International Studies, the University of Kansas, the University of Indiana, and the political news editor of the LA Times. The Chinese perspective came from Vice-chairman of China’s Arms Control and Disarmament Association. Ten questions were posed, including more obvious issues such as selling weapons to Taiwan, human rights, economic protectionism, the exchange rate, and US-North Korea relations.
It also included a few indirect or unexpected queries such as: Where will the US fight its next war? Will Obama become a dictator with a democratic majority in Congress? Will Obama’s policies turn him into the next Roosevelt or a socialist? The question about Chinese imports even surfaced. “Will Chinese food products appear at the White House dinner table?” The American scholars answered by emphasizing the importance of product quality to US-China relations. Brookings Institution’s Richard Bush took a more reflexive approach, pointing out that improving product safety and quality would first address the needs of Chinese people. “Because, if there is a problem with the product, those who will be most seriously harmed are the Chinese.”