What the Hell Happened at APEC?
Depends on your source
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) just held its annual summit in San Francisco, and I see duelling narratives about what went down.
On the one hand, there was a friendly confab of 21 Asian heads of state (including Biden), topped off by an equally friendly summit on the sidelines, between Biden and Xi Jinping.
On the other hand, as the photo depicts, protests ensued because there was a friendly confab of 21 Asian heads of state…half of whom are engaging in various forms of worker, ethnic, or religious repression at home while propping up a global economic order that has eviscerated labor standards in Asia and disproportionately benefited kleptocrats and oligarchs throughout the region.
On the one hand, APEC and Biden did their part to temporarily turn down the heat on Sino-US rivalry.
On the other hand, APEC and Biden did nothing about any of the amassing problems facing Asia while laundering the reputations of those in attendance.
What’s messed up is that neither of these narratives is false, and that leaves us in a really awkward place.
Here’s how I reconcile these perspectives.