China-U.S. Partnership Forum


china us clemons.jpg
Until Sunday, I am visiting Beijing and staying at the Diaoyutai State Guest House for a conference on US-China relations organized by McKinsey & Company. So far, the meeting has been mostly high end networking, but the substance begins in about 30 minutes.
Among the participants are Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Vice President Chen Jiagui, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Institute of American Studies Director Huang Ping, former Presidential candidate and Hillary Clinton advisor General Wesley Clark, Brookings-Tsinghua Center Director Xiao Geng, Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow Elizabeth Economy, former National Security Council East Asia Director and University of Michigan professor Kenneth Lieberthal, National University of Defense/Institute for Strrategic Studies Director Yang Yi, GE Energy Group China President Jack Wen, Department of Energy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Alexander Karsner, Senator Maria Cantwell Chief of Staff Maura O’Neill, former Asia Society President Nicholas Platt, Goldman Sachs Chief US Investment Strategist Abby Joseph Cohen (who told me some great stuff last night but said she’d tell folks I was way too jet-lagged to hear it right if I reported it), BSG Alliance CEO Steve Papermaster, Maverick Capital Analyst Benjamin Silver (who seems pretty apolitical to me but has a brother who was once and may still be liberal but just married Bill Kristol’s daughter); and McKinsey & Company Director (and orchestrator of this meeting) Jonathan Woetzel.
Lots of other interesting folks here too, but wanted to share parts of the roster.
— Steve Clemons


15 comments on “China-U.S. Partnership Forum

  1. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Its interesting too that Hillary appears to have the lion’s share of the arms industry’s support for the presidency.
    The concept of “party affiliation” has become laughable. The only reason the citizens are presented with this charade of a “two party system” is to keep us divided, a wedge issue through which to marginalize the power of the citizenry. As I have said here many times, the actual institution known as “representative government” dissappeared long ago. Neither party is representing the best interests of their constituents, and we truly do exist in a system of “taxation without representation”.


  2. pauline says:

    difi’s shameful ethics
    “Klein [a top legal adviser to Feinstein and a long-time business partner of Blum’s] declined to produce copies of the Perini project lists that he transmitted to Feinstein. And neither he nor Feinstein would furnish copies of the ethics committee rulings, nor examples of the senator recusing herself from acting on legislation that affected Perini or URS. But the Congressional Record shows that as chairperson and ranking member of MILCON, Feinstein was often involved in supervising the legislative details of military construction projects that directly affected Blum’s defense-contracting firms.”
    “After reviewing the results of this investigation, Wendell Rawls, executive director of the Center for Public Integrity in Washington, D.C., observes that by giving Feinstein notice of Perini’s business objectives, Klein achieved the opposite of preventing a conflict of interest.”
    “Rawls comments, “Sen. Feinstein has had a serious conflict of interest, a serious insensitivity to ethical considerations. The very least she should have done is to recuse herself from having conversations, debates, voting or any other kind of legislative activity that involved either Perini Corporation or URS Corporation or any other business activity where her husband’s financial interests were involved.”
    “I cannot understand how someone who complains so vigorously as she has about conflicts of interest in the government and Congress can have turned such a deaf ear and a blind eye to her own. Because of her level of influence, the conflict of interest is just as serious as the Halliburton-Cheney connection.”
    more at —


  3. pauline says:

    difi wouldn’t grovel for money now, would she?
    Little “Sunlight” on the Dianne Feinstein Conflict-of-Interest Controversy
    May 11, 2007
    When last week we wrote of Dianne Feinstein’s potential conflict-of-interest regarding her previous positions on the U.S. Senate’s Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee (MILCON), the issue was bubbling up from its humble beginnings as a long article published last January by Peter Byrne, a free-lance investigative reporter.
    This week, the story became even more intriguing.
    “I don’t think this issue is going away for Sen. Feinstein,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton told Fred Lucas of Cybercast News Service, one of the few journalists seeking clarity as to whether Feinstein’s subcommittee actions benefited her husband’s business interests, which included substantial military construction contracts awarded to two separate companies.
    Fred Lucas also talked to experts in community property law who confirmed that Feinstein’s husband’s business interests are essentially her own. “Every penny that belongs to one party belongs to the other party. She gets 50 percent of all the contracts. It flows into her own pocket. She might say it’s her husband’s company. But it’s community property assets,” one told Lucas.
    Even more intriguing is the spirited defense of Senator Feinstein that has emerged from “The Sunlight Foundation,” including blog exchanges with Peter Byrne.
    According to its website, “The Sunlight Foundation was started in January 2006 with the goal of using the revolutionary power of the Internet and new information technology to enable citizens to learn more about what Congress and their elected representatives are doing, and thus help reduce corruption, ensure greater transparency and accountability by government, and foster public trust in the vital institutions of democracy.”
    The Chairman of the Board of Directors and a co-founder of The Sunlight Foundation is Michael R. Klein, who is also the organization’s principal benefactor, having put up $3.5 million to start the organization, again according to its website.
    Astute followers of the Feinstein controversy will recall Michael R. Klein as a business partner of Feinstein’s husband, a legal advisor to Feinstein and Vice-Chairman of one of the companies that benefited substantially from military contracts during Feinstein’s tenure on MILCON.
    Perhaps this is when Seinfeld would say, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”
    The Feinstein controversy is decidedly complex, taking place in years past, involving gigantic sums of military construction project appropriations money, the typically Byzantine procedures of the Senate, its approval over Pentagon projects, the Pentagon’s awarding of contracts and how those contracts actually work. Needless to say, there are not a lot of people who understand any of that generally and probably only a handful who know the specifics of Feinstein’s interaction with the process.
    We are among neither knowledgeable group, but the overall circumstances are not that complex.
    Feinstein was either ranking member or Chairman of MILCON for a period of years, approving military construction projects. Feinstein’s husband, Richard C. Blum, had significant interests in two companies – Perini Corporation and URS Corporation – which received roughly $1.6 billion in military construction contracts during Feinstein’s tenure on the subcommittee. Michael R. Klein provided Feinstein’s office with lists of specific projects in which Perini was contractually involved or interested in becoming involved. The Senate Ethics Committee, at some point in time, said some or all of that was just peachy keen, but the details of that ruling are secret.
    While Feinstein’s Senate office has issued several lengthy rebuttals to Peter Byrne’s article, they (and the defense presented by the Sunlight Foundation) are primarily concentrated on picking apart complicated specifics of the article.
    The one more or less comprehensive statement issued by Feinstein’s office reads as follows: “Senator Feinstein had no conflict of interest.
    “Senator Feinstein has sought to avoid potential conflicts in two ways: First, by seeking the advice of the Senate Ethics Committee – on her own initiative – about whether any conflicts existed, and by following that guidance.
    “The Ethics Committee indicated that, given the facts, Senator Feinstein could fully consider, debate, and vote on appropriations bills, whether in the subcommittee, the committee or the full Senate.
    “Second, Senator Feinstein always respected the difference between the congressional appropriations process and the separate Department of Defense contract award process.
    “Senator Feinstein never sought to influence which entities were awarded military construction contracts. Neither she nor her personal staff nor her committee staff ever wrote, spoke to, or influenced in any way Defense Department officials about which entities were awarded any military construction contract.”
    Further to that, Michael R. Klein has written, responding to several of Peter Byrne’s articles, “The record is clear that the senator never, not once, proposed, voted for or otherwise supported any measure that would specifically benefit Perini.”
    It is absolutely true that project approval (the province of MILCON) is distinctly different from awarding contracts (the province of the Pentagon). But projects lead to contracts and some of the projects approved by MILCON during the period of Senator Feinstein’s substantial influence on MILCON led to Perini contracts, the interests of which were known to Senator Feinstein via the information specifically provided by Mr. Klein.
    If actual conflict did not exist, the appearance of conflict now most certainly does, and what was asked of and answered by the Senate Ethics Committee in secret is probative of nothing.
    Only an independent investigation with the ability and authority to compel evidence can resolve a myriad of questions that will linger no matter how many statements are issued. The Senate Ethics Committee, which has immediate jurisdiction, clearly has it own conflicts, as does Senator Feinstein as current Chairman of the Senate Rules Committee.
    Judicial Watch has indicated that it is preparing an ethics complaint against Senator Feinstein. Where will it go and how will it be handled? The answers may tell us as much about Senate ethics as anything else.
    see —


  4. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Dear fellow Californian,
    Last week, every member of the Senate had a chance to take a stand against torture. Most Democrats did—they opposed the nomination of Michael Mukasey for Attorney General because he left the door open to torture. He wouldn’t, for example, say whether water-boarding—an interrogation technique that simulates drowning—constituted torture.
    But Senator Feinstein wasn’t with the majority of Democrats—she actually cast a pivotal vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee to confirm him.
    And that’s not all. In recent months, Senator Feinstein backed the president on issues ranging from right-wing judges to immunity for phone companies that broke the law.
    Now, California Democrats—led by our friends at the Courage Campaign—are seriously organizing to get her attention. They’ve launched a grassroots campaign to ask the California Democratic Party to officially censure Senator Feinstein when its executive board meets this weekend.
    We only have a few days before the meeting, so it’s important to make our voices heard right now. Can you sign the Courage Campaign’s petition asking the California Democratic Party to censure Senator Feinstein? Click here to sign:
    Only 29% of Californians—and just 9% of California Democrats—approve of the president, but Senator Feinstein has sided with him on key issues.
    On Torture: Senator Feinstein recommended Michael Mukasey for Attorney General, despite his refusal to call the practice of water-boarding “torture.”1
    On Judges: Senator Feinstein was the deciding vote to confirm Judge Leslie Southwick,2 even though Southwick had ruled that a white employee couldn’t be fired for using a demeaning and offensive racial slur towards an African-American co-worker. Southwick also took custody of an eight-year-old girl away from her mother, because the mother was living with another woman in a “lesbian home.”3
    On Wiretapping: Now Senator Feinstein says she is going to support immunity for phone companies that helped the Bush administration illegally spy on the phone calls and emails of innocent Americans.4
    When Senator Feinstein sides with President Bush and the Republicans on key issues like these, she not only goes against what a majority of her constituents want—she gives cover to other weak Democrats, too. This means it’s even harder for Congress to make progress on the critical issues that so many voters care about.
    Senator Feinstein isn’t up for election again until 2012, but we can’t afford another 5 years of this. She needs to hear from Californians that she needs to start siding with them—not George Bush.
    A censure from the California Democratic Party is the strongest way to send that message.
    Can you add your name to the Courage Campaign’s petition asking the California Democratic Party to censure Senator Feinstein? Click here to sign:
    Let’s send Senator Dianne Feinstein a message she can’t ignore.
    Thanks for all you do,


  5. PissedOffAmerican says:
  6. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Dianne Feinstein has failed us. Now it’s time to hold her accountable.
    Please join the Courage Campaign and Democratic Clubs and grassroots organizations in calling for the California Democratic Party to officially censure Senator Feinstein for her shameful votes confirming Judge Michael Mukasey as U.S. Attorney General and Judge Leslie Southwick to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. (A full list of endorsing organizations is below.)
    Here is the text of the current censure resolution, authored by California Democratic Party Progressive Caucus co-chair Mal Burnstein and first approved by the Steering Committee of East Bay for Democracy. The following resolution will be submitted to the Executive Board of the California Democratic Party at
    its meeting November 16-18 in Anaheim.
    Please sign your name below to encourage more clubs and organizations to endorse the censure of Senator Feinstein and send a clear message that the condoning of torture, racism and homophobia is unacceptable:
    Whereas Senator Dianne Feinstein voted to support the nomination of Judge Michael Mukasey as United States Attorney General, thereby elevating to the highest position in law enforcement a man who refused to renounce the right of the President to resort to torture and who refused to recognize waterboarding as a form of torture, and by this action Senator Feinstein failed to oppose President Bush and failed to stand for the ideals of the Democratic Party, which abhors torture and stands firmly against its use by the United States at all times and places; and
    Whereas Senator Feinstein voted to confirm Judge Leslie Southwick for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit despite his clear record of racism and gender discrimination, thus failing to stand firmly with the Democratic Party, which supports gender equality and opposes racism in any of its manifestations; and
    Whereas these examples are far from the only instances where Senator Feinstein, after seeking and securing the support and endorsement of the California Democratic Party, has failed to support the policies and principles of our party;
    Therefore be it resolved that the California Democratic Party expresses its disappointment at, and censure of, Senator Feinstein for ignoring Democratic principles and falling so far below the standard of what we expect of our elected officials.Endorsed by the Courage Campaign, Political Action, Executive Board of the California Democratic Party Progressive Caucus, Women’s Caucus of the California Democratic Party, Irish-American Caucus of the California Democratic Party, Steering Committee of the East Bay for Democracy Democratic Club, Progressive Democrats of America, Sonoma County Democratic Central Committee, Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club, the Coordinating Committee of SoCal Grassroots, San Diego Democracy for America, the Steering Committee of Progressive Democrats of Los Angeles, Sacramento for Democracy, DFA-Orange County, Santa Cruz County for Democracy, Trinity County Democratic Central Committee, Diablo Valley Democratic Club, Ventura County Committee to Stop the War, Progressive Democrats Sonoma County, the Inyo County Democratic Central Committee, the Torrance Democratic Club, San Mateo County Democracy for America, Castro Valley Progressives, the Whittier Area Peace & Justice Coalition, Santa Barbara Impeach Cheney & Bush Meetup Group, Democracy for America – Marin (DFA-Marin), Valley Democrats United, the Executive Board of the West LA Democratic Club, Progressive Democrats – San Francisco, Greenwood Earth Alliance, Hammering the Issues, Westchester Democratic Club, Los Angeles, Young Democrats of UCI, and the North (San Fernando) Valley Democratic Club, Lassen Progressives, Castro Valley Democratic Club Executive Board, Progressive Democrats of Marin, Progressive Democrats of America – Metro San Diego Chapter, Sonoma County Democracy for America, PDA Orange County, and Valley Grassroots For Democracy.
    (To add your Democratic Club or progressive organization to this endorsement list, please click here)


  7. rapier says:

    Abby is a joke.
    Did she tell you the S&P was undervalued by 10% ?
    I thought so.
    Whatever she says is steeped in the conventional wisdom as purveyed by the financial elites. That’s her job. She talks her book, in the parlance of trading.
    The only thing that might be gleaned from the likes of Abby is a sense of how the financial elite is dealing with the severe weakening of Americas relative economic and political strength. So far those trends have made Wall Street rich beyond the imaginings of mere mortals. The time comes however where corporations, especially financial ones, need political strength of the state. Even corporations must realize from time to time that they are legal entities created by the state. They need some base level of political stability, and the occasional government bailout of course.


  8. JS says:

    Excellent opportunity for you Steve. Please do blog on many and all of the topics discussed and any “back room” info.
    Also, Im interested to hear the temperature in China on their own credit problems, which some have said may be twice as bad as what we have here in America and their bubble may be bursting soon itself.


  9. Steve Clemons says:

    rich — guess you picked up on my jet lag!?! Benjamin Silver, who is a very nice guy, has a brother who used to be (and may still be for all I know) liberal….thanks for catching the error….


  10. pauline says:

    I hear one of the most lucrative jobs currently in China is lead paint sales.
    As I was recently shown other family members’ holiday gifts, I peaked a look and was aghast at how virtually all the children choices came from, Red…well now…Lead China.
    As I happily avoid the three giant Walmart superstores less than ten miles from my house, my holiday gift list is full of locally or regionally produced/grown items.
    Is there anything produced in DC other than BS? hmm… maybe it could heat homes this winter?


  11. PissedOffAmerican says:

    November 15, 2007
    Chinese cyber-spies ‘greatest threat’ to US
    Times Online and agencies in Washington
    Chinese espionage poses the “single greatest risk” to the American technology sector, according to a congressional advisory panel.
    In its annual report, the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission accused Beijing of pursuing an aggressive spying program to acquire critical US technology and adopting “destructive” tactics, including cyber attacks, to target American infrastructure.
    “Chinese military strategies have embraced destructive warfare techniques, including the use of cyber attacks (which) if carried out strategically on a large scale could have catastrophic effects on the target countries’ critical infrastructure,” the panel reported.
    “Chinese espionage activities in the United States are so extensive that they comprise the single greatest risk to the security of American technologies.”
    The panel reported that the Chinese Communist Party still had a tight control on China’s economy and was keen to acquire technology through either licit or illicit means. Beijing’s voracious appetite for technology acquisitions was being conducted both through technology transfer or commercial agreements as well as industrial espionage, it said.
    “What the government cannot get through licit means, they are conducting an aggressive programme of industrial espionage to acquire,” an official familiar with the report said.
    A press report earlier this year said China’s military had successfully hacked into the US military computer network. The Chinese military’s cyber-attack was carried out in June following months of efforts, the Financial Times reported, citing unnamed current and former US officials.
    Officials had told the paper the attack was by China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and that it led to the shutdown of a computer system serving the office of Robert Gates, the Defence Secretary.
    The report also charged that China’s “control and manipulation of information” made it difficult or impossible for officials responsible for product safety in the United States and other nations to identify potential safety problems in Chinese imports on a timely basis.
    Dangerous exports from China ranging from toys to seafood have sparked a wave of global bans and recalls in recent months and severely tarnished the made-in-China label. Beijing has taken various steps to contain the problem, and in July executed the former head of its food and drug safety watchdog for corruption.


  12. TokyoTom says:

    The real question is what kind of climate deal our two countries can do as China rips up and burns its coal and as its people add autos – and whether China will roll out property rights and environmental controls quickly enough not to strangle on its own pollution.


  13. rich says:

    Steve wrote:
    “Benjamin Silver . . . has a former liberal brother who just married brother who just married Bill Kristol’s daughter..”
    Former brother or former liberal?
    Love does strange things, but still, somebody hiccupped over this–be it Ben, his brother, or our humble correspondent.


  14. easy e says:

    poa, ya get for what ya pay fer…………and wall street wants to see profits. the problem originates here…..not over there -:)


  15. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Are you going to ask them when they are going to stop selling us PURE SHIT for building materials and haredware?
    You might want to quiz them about why their plywoods are poisoning us with formaldehyde too. Do they just not give a fuck about the health of American children?


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