Bill Bishop: Trust between Obama and Xi is a Fantasy

I enjoyed this little piece of political philosophizing from Bill Bishop’s Sinocism Newsletter, so I thought I’d share:

> I have a bit of headache wading through the mass of competing OpEds about the Xi visit and US-China relations. One thing I do not understand is people talking about the need for trust in the US-China relationship. I am sorry to be so cynical (then again the name of this newsletter rhymes with cynicism) but Chinese politicians do not trust each other, US politicians do not trust each other, the Communist Party has made it very clear it sees itself in an ideological struggle with the “Western values” represented by America, so how can any sentient person really expect there to be trust between the two governments?

> Or is it just a diplo-speak nicety people think needs to be parroted, even though everyone realizes it is a bit of a fantasy?

US President Barack Obama during a bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping

The last article I read on the topic called the two world leaders frenemies. (I’m pretty sure such a designation would preclude trust?)

P.S. Bill Bishop recently left China, but Sinocism lives on. Even when based in Washington, D.C., a better source for China reading is not likely to come along any time soon.


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. Horst Mohammed Says: September 27, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    Genuine „trust“ doesn’t even seem to exist between the US and its oldest and closest allies, so I agree that this term sets the bar a bit too high for what we can realistically expect of the relationship. But what’s a better shorthand for „a mutual understanding that neither side is going to actively undermine the other’s core strategic interests (including regime security for the Chinese side)“? „Accommodation“ might be closer in meaning, but would probably be badly received in US political discourse.

  2. I really missed Sinocism during Bishop’s move. Glad he’s got the newsletter back up!

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