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10:43AM

Fascinating article on GM-SAIC partnership in China

From WSJ.

The USG could learn much from GM on this:  the Detroit automaker sought out SAIC about 15 years ago, which is when the US should have made its moves as well.  They embraced genuine partnership with the Chinese automaker, and worked hard to bring it up to global standards.  In the process, GM became the biggest foreign player in China's exploding auto market.

But yeah, now SAIC wants to go global with GM and somewhat on its own at the same time, and that's where the relationship gets trickier.

But my point is, GM has the right problems to manage right now, while the USG is still stuck in a host of aging issues with Beijing.

As the piece says, "SAIC wants more from its partnership with GM; GM has yet to decide how far it will go."

The great quote from GM chief exec Dan Akerson:

It's kind of like a marriage.  We have a good and viable relationship and partnership.  But to make it work, you have to have needs on both sides of the table, not just wants.

That, in a nutshell, is the big constraint on Washington's approach to Beijing:  we constantly focus on our wants and denigrate China's needs.

Would that national security strategists had the breadth of vision that GM has so ably demonstrated in this long-term engagement.

Again, that's where the US and China should be:  we facilitated China's rise and then got scared right when we should have moved closer in.

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Reader Comments (1)

Mr Barnett,

Just finished reading your book, GREAT POWERS: AMERICA AND THE WORLD AFTER BUSH. Wow! Now, I know it is a few years since you've penned that work. Still, what you had written was some serious food for thought. Looking back at our past, to help us understand the world about us today in the new century.

The title of your book caught my eye, and I made the purchase, because it talked about matters of military and economic trends not unlike a similar book of a similar title... Talking about Yale Historian Paul Kennedy's tome RISE AND FALL OF THE GREAT POWERS. That, too, was a fascinating read but for very different reasons.

The world is a lot LESS scary to me in part because of what you offered. As a Baby Boomer, and a man of African-American ancestry, there was a lot in there to ponder. Your sharp criticism of the Neo-con world view is spot on. But America's economy at present is in the toilet, and as a guy in his late fifties, I made the choice of leaving the land I love. A big move, no doubt.

I will spare you the proverbial 'laundry list' of my reasons for leaving. At the same time, for a Black man in his fifties, college education and all, with a good track record of employment in the professions, fact is... there are few options for guys like me today. I believe that to be true, irrespective of my own race. And so, there is a tendency to take the stance of 'riding it out' and treading poverty, at home, or riding it out (The Global recession) outside of the country.

The late New England Congressman, Tip 'O Neill, said "all politics is local." Given the current state of affairs locally and globally,mostly economically, do you remain as optimistic for America, and her people now, as you were when GREAT POWERS hit the book shelves in 2009?

I sure would like to know how and why.

Thanks!

-Eric

August 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEric K. Williams

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