China Global Television Network Dialogue: David Firestein Interview

June 21, 2021

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Bush China Foundation President and CEO David Firestein interviews with CGTN’s Zou Yue on how the United States and China can avoid geostrategic miscalculations and a host of other important topics in the bilateral relationship.

Mr. Firestein speaks to the subtle but significant difference in the way the Biden Administration thinks of China, as compared to the Trump Administration. Rather than an enemy, the Biden Administration has termed China as our most formidable competitor. This change in rhetoric, Mr. Firestein notes, has led to a more pragmatic rather than ideological approach toward China from the U.S. government, though Mr. Firestein has been critical of trade tariffs under both Administrations.

In assessing the state of the overall bilateral relationship, Mr. Firestein suggests that both China and the United States need to engage in confidence building measures to rebuild the relationship. While China certainly engages in activities that are very problematic to the United States, he suggests that both governments need to solve problems based on facts. In his assessment, he says there is much negativity toward China that has seeped across the partisan aisle, causing leaders in the United States to miss important nuances.

In an effort to address these nuances, Mr. Firestein advocates for a U.S.-China political dialogue that would help each side understand the others’ different political system and serve as a forum to share concerns, disagreements and areas were we can work together.

Overall, Mr. Firestein says his guiding “north star” on U.S.-China relations is President George H. W. Bush, who believed that the U.S.-China relationship is the most important in the world and no global problem can be solved in the absence of joint cooperation.