Despite all the meetings, promises, and apocalyptic threats, global carbon emissions have risen from the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 until today -- from around 6.5 billion metric tons per year to nearly 10 billion. If both China and the U.S. had tackled this issue back in 2001, perhaps we wouldn't currently be in this pickle. Chalk that up as another opportunity cost (which might just cost us the planet). Instead of haggling over currency, hacking, and sea-lanes, the two superpowers should be thinking big. Between them, the U.S. and China account for nearly one-third of the global economy, nearly one-quarter of the world's population, and more than two-fifths of the world's carbon emissions. What these two countries do by definition has an enormous global impact.
If we are serious about saving coral reefs and the many benefits they provide to wildlife and people, we must resist the temptation to engineer small platforms of land aimed solely at flexing geopolitical muscle. Instead, we must prioritize conservation and management actions that allow corals to thrive.
While the Philippines is waging the snail's pace legal warfare, China is dramatically altering facts on the ground on a daily basis. By all means, the real struggle in the South China Sea is to protect your position on the ground, defending every inch of your territorial claim lest others will Darwin you out.
Goldstein performs two critical tasks in his new book, Meeting China Halfway: How to Defuse the Emerging U.S.-China Rivalry (Georgetown University Press). First, he acknowledges the legitimacy of the PRC's desire for a greater international role. Second, he offers a strategy of cooperation for the two nations, which includes recognizing natural but much-reviled "spheres of influence."
So much for last month's U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Washington, which has left U.S. security analysts convinced the United States is getting nowhere with China. This was evident as President Obama expressed concern about China's increasingly troublesome cyber and maritime behavior.