Last week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken travelled to Beijing on a mission “to cool exploding tensions” (as the Associated Press puts it). The Secretary’s counterparts on the Chinese side aver — as they have for fifty years — that blame for exploding tensions is entirely with the Americans. And exploding tensions now, as always, center on only one issue — Taiwan.
I am not privy to the Secretary’s interior psyche, but I wager he returned to Washington last week believing that he preserved faithfulness to “our One China Policy” in Beijing and at the same time assuaged China’s indignation. If so, his mission was a failure, but not to worry. Failure has been the lot of most top-level US interactions with the Chinese side for the past half-century. About this I have a story to share.