China and India: Taking Global Politics Local
China and India, the world’s two largest emerging markets, each have stunned the world with dramatic economic growth in the last decade. More recently, both have seen that growth slow, and have faced domestic political challenges. Among other things, leaders outside of New Delhi and Beijing are playing an increasingly important role in how each country engages with the world. The most exciting and dramatic developments are happening at the city and state/province level in both countries. That includes both spectacular successes, and also big failures.
Some of America’s most important political leaders have paid attention to this trend — and sought to take advantage of it, finding win-win solutions. On November 12, Brookings and SiriusXM hosted a conversation with two former governors who pioneered these approaches, and have taken those ideas with them to federal positions. Former Governor and U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman (R-Utah) and Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.), co-chair of the Senate India Caucus, discussed the political and economic developments in China and India, and the bilateral challenges between the U.S. and both countries.
The session was moderated by Brookings Senior Fellow William Antholis, also the institution’s managing director. His new book, Inside Out, India and China: Local Politics Go Global (Brookings Press, 2013), explores how developments in Indian states and Chinese provinces are affecting the actions of both countries on the world stage. Antholis spent five months travelling across India and China in 2012 (accompanied by his family), living in 8 cities, and visiting a total of 20 provinces/states. Antholis presents the case for why policymakers need to follow the Huntsman-Warner approach: adjusting their diplomacy and understanding India and China from the inside out.
I think it's unusual for the chief of staff to go on a trip, particularly on a trip this long. The chief of staff is usually more of a chief operating officer in the White House itself, and normally when your principal—whether it's the president himself or the head of Cabinet agency—goes abroad, you have his deputy and those folks staying behind to help manage operations in his absence.