Good evening. “The drama of Asia is in the nuance, not in the starkness.” That’s a quote from Kurt Campbell, the Biden administration’s Asia chief, in a wide-ranging interview he gave to Bob Davis as part of our ‘Rules of Engagement’ series. It’s a fascinating Q&A — so much so that we have a distilled version here — and that quote in particular captures much of this magazine’s coverage, including our cover story this week about China’s influence on supply chains in Southeast Asia. Elsewhere, we have infographics on China’s healthcare system and an op-ed about the risks in China’s Eurasian entanglements. If you’re not already a paid subscriber to The Wire, please sign up here.
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For years, environmental advocates in the West made real progress cutting off supply chains in Southeast Asia that violated ESG standards. But thanks to the Chinese market, many are back — and stronger than ever. Nithin Coca reports.
This week’s infographics by Isaiah Schrader explore the remarkable growth of China’s Basic Medical Insurance system and how it stacks up by international standards.
Kurt Campbell has played a significant role in developing U.S. policy toward China since the Clinton administration, with the arc of his career mirroring the overall change in the relationship from engagement to competition. Now, as the National Security Council’s coordinator for the Indo-Pacific, he has helped devise President Biden’s policy for competing with China, including putting together AUKUS and developing a tighter relationship between the U.S. and India. In this week’s Q&A with Bob Davis — part of our ‘Rules of Engagement’ series — he talks about how the Biden administration’s approach to China differs from the Trump era, Beijing’s support for Russia, and its intentions towards Taiwan.
Illustration by Lauren Crow
The increased dialogue between the U.S. and China has not yet led to substantive new policy agreements or forms of cooperation. But as Kurt Campbell made clear to The Wire, the fact that the two sides are talking at all is a step in the right direction.
China’s efforts to portray itself as a peacemaker in some of the world’s most complex regions are so far failing to bear fruit, argues Raffaello Pantucci in this week’s op-ed.
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