Monday, July 17, 2017

The two sides of Liu Xiaobo

Edited version first appeared in Asia Times.

China’s Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo has succumbed to liver cancer. Lionized in the West, his passing was little noted in China. Just a smidgen of reflection would explain the dichotomy.

Liu did not win the Nobel Prize for physics or economics or any of the others administered by the Nobel committee in Stockholm. He won the Peace Prize administered out of Oslo Norway.

The Nobel committee for the peace prize is appointed by the Norwegian parliament and has been responsible for the most politicized honor among the Nobel prizes.

Since there hasn’t been a whole lot of peace around the world, it’s understandable that there were more years when a peace prize was not awarded than for any of the other awards. Some of the prize recipients were matters for debate.

The peace prize has been the most burdened in controversy. For example, some say the committee gave the peace prize to the Dalai Lama in part to atone for repeatedly passing over Mahatma Gandhi, universally recognized as the most deserving to not have received the honor.

The committee also rushed headlong in the opposite direction and couldn’t wait to see what Barrack Obama was going to do as president of the U.S. They awarded Obama with the Peace Prize shortly after he was elected president just to flaunt Norwegian indignation at the war mongering policies of George W. Bush, Obama’s predecessor.

Alas for the prestige and credibility of the committee and the Peace Prize, Obama would be hard-pressed to point to any achievements toward peace in his two terms as the U.S. president.

If it’s easy to become a Peace Prize laureate, it’s hardly surprising that it’s a low bar for anyone to become a peace prize nominee. All it takes is to possess credentials with the proper slant.

The late Harry Wu (Hongda) is a good example. The aftermath of his death has revealed him to be a thief and philanderer. He stole the money set aside for Chinese human rights activists and he was a serial groper of women.

Wu rose to fame when he was arrested as he tried to enter China under disguise. After his much publicized release, he trotted around the world as a self-proclaimed defender of human rights in China. His anti-China criticism and attendant publicity got him nominated for the peace prize.

Wu and his ilk have learned that there is a career in paimapi, a Chinese saying that literally means petting the horse’s rump or in a cruder version, inducing equine flatulence. It’s a Chinese expression for obsequious flatter.

The profit is in petting the westerner’s mapi, by expressing admiration for the western concept for democracy and as if only through democracy can one achieve human rights and dignity.

The important difference between Wu and Liu is that while Wu remained in the safety of the protective West, Liu went back to China from a teaching position in the U.S. to advocate the overthrow of China’s CCP.

Liu even expressed the idea that 300 years as a colony of a western power would have done China wonders and enabled China to catch up to the standards of western democracy. That was paimapi of the highest order. No wonder the West adored him.

Conveniently overlooked by Liu is that in nearly the 3 decades since Liu went back to China, China has become the second or largest economy in the world, depending on the yardstick used in measuring China’s economy.

According to Pew’s regular polls of the sentiments of the people in China, their satisfaction and approval rating of China’s one party rule and CCP has hovered around 80% in most recent years.

Thus we have a situation where western countries that boast of popular approval ratings under 50% hectoring China to reform. They encourage China to change their system of government so that the popularity of their government can be more like the West.

May Liu Xiaobo rest in peace. Difficult to know how long he will be remembered in the West. He’s already a forgotten man in China.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Time to think and act differently on North Korea

Edited version first appeared in Asia Times.

North Korea’s latest missile test—with the range to threaten American cities—has put the Trump Administration between wishful thinking and a hard place. Too bad neither represents a realistic resolution of the conundrum.

The easy way out, for the U.S. at least, is to “let China do it.” Trump, Secretary of State Tillerson, Defense Secretary Mattis and UN Ambassador Haley have in unison chanted the same basic mantra. Namely, problem solved if only China would apply more pressure on North Korea.

Unfortunately, this naïve wishful thinking is based on several false premises.

First there is no evidence that China can tell North Korea what to do.  The two countries are not buddies and there is no love lost between China’s President Xi ‘s and Kim Jong Un. They have not met since both leaders came to power and they communicate via messengers.

China has joined the chorus in support of the UN resolution strongly condemning North Korea. The Kim regime no more pays heed to China than it has to protests from South Korea, Japan and United States.

Just as China cannot stop North Korea from developing nuclear weapon and intercontinental missile technology, North Korea is not developing those technologies for China’s sake. North Korea needs nuclear strike capability in order to be taken seriously by the U.S.     

To date sanctions on North Korea have not deter them. The American response has been to ask the UN Security Council to impose more sanctions. In particular, Trump does not feel that China is tightening the screws hard enough.

Shutting down North Korea’s economy might bring Kim to heel from the American perspective but clearly unacceptable from China’s view. Economic collapse would trigger a massive humanitarian crisis and China would be left to deal with the refugees since migrating north into China would be the only viable option.

There is also a flip side to this approach. Even if the sanctions do indeed bring North Korea to its knees, it does not mean that the Kim regime would become more conciliatory. Kim may decide that he has nothing to lose and simply launch an attack on the south.

The other hard approach is to launch a Rumsfeldian shock and awe on North Korea before the north can begin their attack.

There is no chance that carpet-bombing of unprecedented scale could vaporize the array of artillery and missiles facing South Korea. The consequent damage on Seoul and other parts of South Korea from the retaliation would be significant, not to mention the danger to the 30,000 American troops stationed in the south.

There is also no assurance that any precision strikes could successfully take out Kim and his inner circle nor knock out all the nuclear weapons and development centers. The risks of failure are simply to too great to contemplate.

There is a more sensible approach and increasing number of commentators and foreign policy observers are suggesting for the Trump Administration to consider. And, that is why not offering to sit down and talk without preconditions?

North Korea fears the U.S. and knows that Beijing cannot speak for nor commit on behalf of Washington. Pyongyang wants to deal directly with Washington and does not see China as a credible intermediary. Why not begin a direct conversation?

The Clinton Administration almost reached an agreement with Pyongyang when the clock ran out on his term of office. The incoming George W. Bush elected to ignore North Korea and then imposed preconditions before being willing to resume negotiations.

Pyongyang saw the Bush White House as dealing in bad faith and that the only way to gain American respect was to complete the development of the nuclear bomb. North Korea detonated their first nuclear bomb in October 2006. (George W came into office in 1999.)

The Obama administration unfortunately elected to follow his predecessor’s line. Namely, no agreement to negotiate unless North Korea first agreed to abide by certain preconditions and in lieu of North Korean agreeing, Washington bandied the threats of sanctions and solicited Beijing for their help.

In the intervening 16 years since the end of the Clinton administration, Washington and Pyongyang have made no progress to reaching a common understanding. Each accused the other of acting in bad faith. The U.S. threatened more sanctions; North Korea kept testing weapons with bigger bang and missiles with longer range.

This endless cycle is clearly not getting anywhere.  The threat of American shock and awe is clearly what worries Pyongyang. Why can’t Washington soften a bit and show a willingness to talk without preconditions? What have we got to lose?

Will the world respect us less as a fearsome hegemon because we are willing to swallow our pride, or will the world applaud us for being willing to make the first move towards peace? Donald Trump has an opportunity to accomplish an important foreign policy triumph that has eluded his two predecessors.

For a more detailed review of the complicated history between China and North Korea, go to here.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Graham Allison’s Thucydides’s Trap is about how America can avert the War with China

An edited version of the discussion on Graham Allison's book first posted on Asia Times.

The just published book called “Destined for War” addresses the question: “Can America and China escape Thucydides’s Trap?” Given the state of tension between the two powers, the publication is timely and the subject matter vitally important.

Coined by author Graham Allison, the Thucydides trap is based on the “History of Peloponnesian War” written by historian Thucydides who observed that a rising Athens inevitably came to blows with a ruling Sparta.

Allison is the founding dean of Harvard Kennedy School, eminent scholar and prominent adviser to the federal government on matters related to defense and national security. He and his students reviewed the past 500 years of history and identified 16 cases of a rising power facing a reigning power. Twelve of those cases ended in disastrous wars.

The book is a tour de force on identifying all the different ways a rising power and a reigning power can collide despite the best of intentions and despite conscious efforts to avoid war. Some times the process begins with a trivial misunderstanding that magnified with each reaction until open conflict becomes inevitable.

One of his chapters was devoted to conjectures of how a war between China and the US could develop. Various scenarios begin with a minor provocation misunderstood by the other side, which leads to a response in turn misunderstood and thus an escalating series of thrust and parry until the two countries stand at the brink of nuclear holocaust. 

The author did not intend to sell his book as a prophesy of doom but to make sure that his cautionary tale is sufficiently frightening, so that readers will take the threat of conflict seriously and more importantly leaders in Beijing and Washington will be sufficiently alarmed to avoid the trap. 

As his four no-conflict cases demonstrated, war between a rising power and reigning power does not have to be inevitable. Allison suggests that China and the US face four “mega threats” that would require their working together rather than in opposition, and in so doing help them avert falling into the trap.

The first is the threat of mutual assured destruction from a nuclear Armageddon. Both sides should be deterred from an all out nuclear war from which there can be no winners. This is the same deterrent that kept the 70 years of the Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union from getting hot.

Along the same lines, both powers have the same interest in keeping nuclear weapons out of the hands of as many nations as possible and out of the hands of terrorists. He calls this scenario “nuclear anarchy.” Joint efforts would naturally be more effective in preventing nuclear anarchy than working separately. 

Both also face terrorism based on biological weapons derived from genetic engineering. “Extensive cooperation, through bilateral intelligence sharing, multilateral organizations and the establishment of global standard will be essential,” said Allison.

The fourth common mega threat identified by Allison was combating emission of greenhouse gases to stop global warming. The President of the U.S. has said, “This is not going to happen.” Oh well, three out of four should be enough for leaders of Beijing and Washington to choose collaboration rather than competition. 

On his book tour at Stanford, Allison and his moderator and former colleague at Harvard, Niall Ferguson, joked that the Chinese leaders follow western ideas and thinking closely and most have already read this book even before it was published—suggesting another case of piracy (ha-ha). Both lamented that the Trump White House is unlikely to have read the book and probably never will. 

Sitting in the audience, I asked whether a model of one hand clapping could still evoke the risk of falling into the Thucydides’s trap. I was hoping that they would take the cue to discuss the dominant US role as the provocateur in face of  a relatively passive reaction from China. Allison understood my question but he simply said that China’s island building activity in the South China Sea could create two hands clapping required by the trap.

Allison admits that his expertise is in national security and not on China. I believe seeing China from a western frame of reference is a significant flaw of his book. While he acknowledges a China as a 5000-year Confucian based civilization, he seems to attribute China with the same zero-sum mentality of a western nation.

All sixteen cases of Thucydides’s trap involved western nations. Japan was the rising power in two of the cases, but I would argue that Japan became a rising power after they decided to vigorously adopt all manner of western values and thus should be counted as a westernized nation.

As Michael Wood, award-winning producer of documentaries on major world civilizations, concluded at the end of his series that only the western civilizations went around killing each other and slaughtering others to extinction.

China does not send battleships to the Caribbean nor surveillance planes off the coast of California. China’s presence in the Middle East has been to help restore and rebuild infrastructure. The soldiers China dispatches overseas wear the blue UN helmet and serve as peacekeepers under UN auspices.

Washington gasped in alarm when China finally established its first offshore military base outside of China. China justified their base in Djibouti on the horn of Africa as needed to support their naval ships on patrol as part of the multinational efforts to combat piracy off the coast of Africa.

China’s heavy-handed influence on Djibouti was to lay a fresh water pipeline in the country and connect the coastal port with a railroad to Addis Ababa, capitol of landlocked Ethiopia. This is an example of China’s strategy to “dominate” the world, namely helping other countries build their infrastructure via the Belt and Road Initiative.

The author is rightly concerned about world and American national security. I respectfully submit that the hand doing the clapping, namely the United States, is the reigning power that can do the most to cease and desist their aggressive actions and thus avert the infamous trap.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Is EEA giving cover for FBI racial profiling of Chinese Americans?

 This was first posted in Asia Times.
On the Friday before the Memorial Day Weekend, the Committee of 100 (C100) published their findings on the systemic profiling of Chinese Americans as economic espionage spies by the US federal government.

The Chinese American community, have always known that they are victims of institutionalized racism. This study puts a measuring dipstick into this controversial issue.

Andrew Kim, recent Cum Laude graduate of Harvard Law School, performed the actual analysis of public arrest records of cases charged under the Economic Espionage Act (EEA) from 1997 to 2015.

Kim found that under the Obama Administration, i.e., since 2009, the percentage of people charged under EEA that were Chinese Americans tripled to make up 52% of all the cases.  If all non-Chinese but of Asian descent were included, the total would add up to 62% of all the cases.

Since ethnic Asians represent only between 5-6% of the total US population, it would seem that Asian Americans and particularly Chinese Americans are extraordinarily busy spying on America.

However, Chinese or Asians charged under EEA are also twice as likely as those with western surnames to have the charges dropped or reduced to minor offenses so as to justify release on probation.

Conversely, if convicted of espionage, the average sentence in prison is 25 months for Chinese Americans as compared to 11 months for those with western surnames.

In summary, if you are a Chinese American living in the US, you are more likely to be suspected of being a spy, more likely to be falsely accused, and more likely to pay dearly no matter whether you are guilty of any real infractions. Just having the FBI imagined wrongdoing is enough to put you through hell.

Frank Wu, Chairman of C100, recruited Kim to do the study. Kim’s work did not start from scratch but was built on top of the data already collected by C100 member Jeremy Wu. Wu in turn initially took notice of the disparity based on ethnicity from the works of a Palo Alto law firm.

C100, a national organization of prominent Chinese Americans has been following closely cases when Chinese Americans were arrested. When Los Alamos scientist Wen Ho Lee was arrested and put in solitary confinement in 1999, the C100 had a leadership role in coming to his defense.

Nelson Dong, then general counsel of C100, via a series of conference calls, organized a national coalition of Asian American organizations to present a unified voice of protest to the Clinton Administration. Dr. Lee was not given due process and the group protested that the FBI agent gave misleading and false testimony during Lee’s trial.

Even though the presiding judge apologize to Lee for government misconduct, Lee still had to plead guilty to downloading data into his computer in violation of accepted national laboratory procedure. The misdemeanor charge was necessary to justify his 10 months of solitary confinement. There was no other way for the government to save face.

Eventually, the Lee family got some monetary compensation from the media for violating Lee’s privacy thanks to C100 member Brian Sun who acted as the plaintiff’s counsel. Getting compensation from the government for wrongful prosecution is nearly impossible as my review disclosed as recently as two years ago.

There are currently two pending cases involving Chinese American scientists seeking compensation from the government. As reported last year, even after all charges were dropped against her, Sherry Chen still could not get her job back.

Chen had since then retained legal counsel and got a hearing with the Merit System Protection Board of the Federal Government that took place in Cincinnati in March. The purpose of the hearing before the administrative judge of MSPB was to determine as to why Chen should not get her job back.

At the hearing, it became clear that Deborah Lee was the principal cause for denying Chen her old job. Even after the charges against Chen were dropped, Lee wrote a two page letter insisting that Chen was a danger to the US. Tom Adams, one time colleague of Lee and Chen, told Chen’s supporters at the hearing that on a social occasion, he had heard Lee expressed hatred and prejudice against ethnic Chinese.

Lee’s letter apparently became the basis for Laura Furgione to draft the letter to dismiss Chen in her capacity as the deputy director of National Weather Service. Furgione, a self-described ambitious career bureaucrat, had to submit her removal letter twice because the director of NWS refused to have anything to do with this sordid business.

Until her appearance at the hearing in Cincinnati, Furgione has never met Chen, did not know her and had no personal reason to insist on denying Chen her old post. Perhaps she thought writing the proposal to dismiss Chen would be a boost for her career.

Since last December, Furgione has moved from NWS to become chief of Office of Strategic Planning, a small office with a handful of staff at the US Census Bureau. Wu who had retired from the Bureau observed in LinkIn that given the organizational disarray there and in face of a pending national census, Furgione might be given assignments where she has no chance to succeed.

Professor Xiaoxing Xi attended the C100 conference in Washington and I interviewed him about the civil suit he filed against FBI agent Andrew Haugen. He said the decision to sue Haugen was a very difficult one because the action required having to relive the trauma of being taken away in handcuffs at gunpoint in front of his family.

However, he was infuriated not just by the way he was treated and that his right as an American citizen has been violated, but because he has never been given any explanation from the government as to why he was the target.

His complaint against the FBI agent charged, “FBI Special Agent Andrew Haugen, who intentionally, knowingly, and recklessly made false statements and representations and material omissions of facts in his reports, affidavits, and other communications with federal prosecutors, thereby initiating a malicious prosecution of Professor Xi.”

Xi hopes his legal action will give him some answers. He understands and expects that the due process will take a long time and that the system protects government wrongdoing. 

The way the system works in the US, even when an officer shoots an unarmed black man in the back, the officer may still find a justifiable probable cause to wiggle away. So it is with Haugen. Even if Haugen has a proclivity to arrest Chinese on sight on trumped up charges, he can hide behind his badge of authority and never face charges for hate crimes.
The views expressed herein are those of the author and does not represent the views of Asia Times nor The Committee of 100.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Sorry, we gave you the short straw and we’re throwing you off the plane--United

Recently on a United Airlines flight from Chicago O’Hare to Louisville, a young looking 69 year old Asian man was forcefully pulled out of his seat and ejected from the plane.

Videos taken from other appalled passengers showed airport security force dragging an unconscious man along the aisle to the front door. Blood was streaming from his face.

According to eyewitnesses on the plane, the passenger refused to give up his seat because he, being a physician, has patients to see when he gets home.

United explained that the airline overbooked and had asked for volunteers to give up their seats. Apparently not enough found the inducements sufficiently attractive to do so.

The airline then alleged that the unfortunate passenger was randomly drawn by computer program to “voluntarily” give up his seat. When confronted by the bad luck of the draw, the Asian man explained that he has patients at risk waiting for him, and furthermore he wanted to consult with his lawyer.

The airline then called in the Chicago’s finest to bodily eject the man from the plane without so much as a gentle “please.” The official explanation from the airline made the matter even worse.

United CEO Oscar Munoz apologized for the airline for having to overbook (greed made me do it) and then having to force passengers to give up their seats. Munoz really riled public opinion against the airline when he then sent an internal memo praising the crew involved in the incident for “following company procedure.”

Mind you, Mr. Munoz was recently honored as “communicator of the year,” by PR Week. “An excellent leader who understands the value of PR,” the trade publication said.

PR professionals are now probably smacking their lips over the prospects of the vast amount of work in store for them to help United restored the airline’s image and reputation. Thorough review and revision of industry practice and company procedure will likely be part of their workload.

The airlines have profited hugely from this era of big data.  Based on their accumulated experience, they can anticipate and calculate to sell out every flight. (How often have you as a passenger flown on a partly loaded plane nowadays?)

Thus when the airline computer makes the right call, the company makes scads of money. Every once in a while, when more passengers come on board than anticipated, you would expect the airline to take the ownership of the consequences rather than ask the hapless passengers to walk off the plank.

Apparently, the UAL stock price took a hit immediately after the incident went viral on social media. One commonly expressed concern was that the outraged Chinese customers would stop flying on the airline. The lucrative China to US routes represents an important source of revenue for the airline.

Over the long term, whether the company market cap will continue to do well will depend on whether passengers decide to fly on United or not. I am a million miler on United, but if the airline can force me off the plane at random, I am not sure I will want to fly on this airline any more.

To reassure me as a passenger, United needs to tell me that the airline does not as a matter of policy pick on Asians for arbitrary brutality. And, from now on, the airline will have revised their standard procedure so that I will not run the risk of being taken off any flight without my consent.

A companion piece in the Asia Times observed that what happened on the United flight pales in comparison with the way passengers are treated by airlines in China. I am nonplused by the point of the beggar thy neighbor discussion.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Donald Trump is right to go direct with North Korea

Edited version first appeared in Asia Times.

As if to set the table for the forthcoming summit in Florida with China’s President Xi Jinping, President Donald Trump declared that if China won’t help resolve the North Korea crisis, the U.S. can and will take direct and unilateral action, implying the military route.

In a sense, Trump is correct. North Korea has always been an American problem not a Chinese one. Pyongyang regime from Kim I, II and III has always worried about what action Uncle Sam might take against them, never about China or even Japan and South Korea.

While direct military strike against targets inside North Korea might be one option, there is a much easier and non-violent approach available to Trump. All he has to do is to bend a little from the customary posture of a hegemon and offer to meet and talk.

The emissary Trump can send to Pyongyang could begin the process by delivering a message along the following lines: We are willing to meet with you to discuss and negotiate mutually acceptable terms and conditions that would lead to a nuclear free Korea Peninsula.

During this period of exchange of visits and meetings, the U.S. would make no further aggressive actions against North Korea and you would agree to do the same and take no action that would intimidate your neighboring countries.

This would not be the first time for the two protagonists to follow this path. In 1994, the Clinton Administration launched a bilateral negotiation that led to an “Agreed Framework.”

How the framework came about was discussed in William Perry’s memoir, “My Journey at the Nuclear Brink.” He led the negotiations with Pyongyang while he was Clinton’s Secretary of Defense and continued after he stepped down.

The basic elements of the framework included: (1) North Korea would stop construction of larger reactors and suspend producing plutonium from a smaller already operating reactor. (2) South Korea and Japan would build two light water reactors for generating electricity (so that North Korea would not need the reactors.) (3) The U.S. would supply fuel oil until the light water reactors become operational.

“I considered this a good deal for the US: war was averted, plutonium production suspended, and North Korea gave up their program for building larger reactors that were under construction,” said Dr. Perry.

As he related in his book, after a long tortuous series of talks and meetings, his team was on the verge of reaching a deal with North Korea that would convert the cease-fire agreement in place since 1953 into a permanent peace treaty and normal relations with the US.

From the North Korean’s point of view, getting a binding commitment from America eased their sense of insecurity and the need for blackmail in the form of nuclear weapons to counter threats from the US.

By then George W. Bush entered the White House. He decided not to continue the dialogue with North Korea for next two years (probably because he did not want anything to do with a member of axis of evil.)

When Bush resumed contact with Pyongyang in year three of his administration, he in effect moved the goal post by adding more conditions and demands on North Korea.

By then Pyongyang was well on its way to developing the atomic bomb and was in the position to reply with the middle finger salute.

I asked Dr. Perry if having the bomb changed the dynamics of the bilateral negotiations. He said of course the restarted negotiations were made more complicated and difficult.

Trying to be helpful, Beijing organized the six party talks that added Japan, South Korea and Russia as well as China to the mix. Nothing positive emerged because the basic conditions remain unchanged. Namely, North Korea wanted to be treated as a nation with normal relations with the US.

What did changed was that China was now the responsible party for the North Korea debacle. From the US point of view, China keeps North Korea’s economy alive, from its collapse, has most influence on the Pyongyang regime, etc., etc.

Washington, whether oblivious to history or unwilling to face inconvenient reality, has for the last sixteen years been waiting for Beijing to bail America out of the mess.

All President Trump has to do is to ignore the legacy of his two predecessors and ask Secretary Tillerson to make a fresh approach with Pyongyang. I am sure President Xi would be happy to assist.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

What should Xi and Trump talk about?

This first appeared in Asia Times.

Later this week, China’s President Xi will meet U.S. President Trump in Florida at the unofficial White House. In view of Trump’s predilection for unpredictability and brash outbursts, some pundits thought Xi might be taking a risk if the impromptu summit does not turn out well.

I believe the probability of the outcome turning out badly is low. Secretary Tillerson’s visit to Beijing and advanced preparation by officials from both sides must have provided some reassurance before Xi would agree to the visit.

Another reason that the meeting should go well is because having experienced a series of setbacks, Trump will not want to jeopardize the chance for some welcomed good news for a change.

So what could Xi offer in his meeting with Trump that will make Trump look good? A nice opening would be if Xi were to say, “President Trump I am here to offer you a solution to rebuilding America’s infrastructure while creating more American jobs.” These are two sweet spots closely identified with Trump’s presidential campaign.

As a matter of fact, Chinese companies are already winning bids on infrastructure projects in America using American labor. The New Jersey based US affiliate of China Construction, a state-owned company, won the competitive bid to rehabilitate the Alexander Hamilton Bridge over the East River in upper Manhattan. They completed the work ahead of schedule and won a bunch of awards and recognition for a job well done. Since the completion of that project, the company has gone on to win other bridge rehab in metropolitan New York area.

China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC), another State-owned enterprise, has signed a number of contracts to build railcars for the metro systems of major cities such as Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and Philadelphia.

All the deals are structured along similar lines. The exterior of the cars would be manufactured in China and shipped to the U.S. for final assembly. Major components such as propulsion, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, and lighting would be made in the U.S. by CRRC or sourced in the U.S. CRRC would invest and build factories in each metropolitan area to do the necessary manufacturing, employing local American labor.

These deals provide the best outcome for both countries. Through more than a decade of experience, China has become the preeminent experts in knowing how to manage infrastructure projects as well as having the expertise to make necessary components at competitive prices. As they perform projects around the world, Chinese companies have gained valuable experience in managing disparate local work forces.

Thus, Chinese companies can offer to rebuild America’s infrastructure at prices not available from any other source while providing valuable training and employment for American labor.

Trump has been complaining of “unfair” bilateral trade giving China unfair advantage and overwhelming trade imbalance. One effective approach that would bring some of the trade surplus in China back to America is to encourage more Chinese companies to invest and build plants in the U.S.

As I reported in Asia Times earlier, Fuyao, an auto glass windshield company, has made a $450 million investment in Ohio, resulting in employment for 3000 and monthly contribution of $30 million to the local economy. There are others similarly interested in coming to America. Instead of using the threat of CFIUS review to frighten them away, the US needs to overcome xenophobic inclinations and open the door for investments from China.

There is another way to take advantage of the trade surplus China enjoys. Namely, it would be to require China to include financing in the infrastructure project bids that Chinese companies wish to compete. China should be quite willing to do so as China has been actively financing various projects along the Silk Road.

Finally, if Trump were to raise the prospect of having China provide financing for infrastructure projects, I believe Xi would be most receptive because such financing would require government guarantees and therefore closer bilateral cooperation. Xi loves to talk about win-win arrangements and this would most certainly qualify. And Trump would have some real news to tweet about.