April 6, 2021
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The Kiwanis Club of Atlanta hosted Bush China Foundation President and CEO David Firestein to deliver remarks at their April 6, 2021 meeting. Mr. Firestein was introduced by Board of Advisors member Joel Cowan. He began his remarks with an overview of the current U.S.-China relationship, observing that the relationship today is tremendously strained and likely to remain so for the foreseeable future, notwithstanding the recent transition to the Biden Administration.
Mr. Firestein enumerated a number of areas of continuity between the Trump and Biden Administrations, including the framing of China as the United States’ most formidable competitor and desire for greater reciprocity in the relationship. He also pointed to “subtle but significant” changes in the Biden Administration’s approach toward China, including a deemphasis on the idea that China is America’s enemy and a greater reliance on fact- and interest-based policy deliberation and formulation.
Later in the program, Mr. Firestein spoke to the recent brutal slaying of six Asian women in Atlanta, condemning the “racially charged” and “racist” language employed by the previous administration in the context of COVID-19 as “repugnant, shameful, wrong and beneath the dignity of the office of president of the United States.”
In the question-and-answer portion of the program, Mr. Firestein addressed important bilateral issues such as North Korea diplomacy, China’s military capabilities, and human rights.