China’s leaders would lean republican/conservative here.
Apparently they’d rather thump their chests and posture over some uninhabited islands, than participate in a world financial forum.
A la Boehner and McConnell,….. they address the important issues first.
From the Financial Times. (registration required, but it’s free)
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
Yesterday, I was all “the emerging markets have a point about running the IMF”.
Apparently it’s more important to strike a pose against that notorious geopolitical bully, Japan, over five uninhabited islands.
Let’s not exaggerate: China isn’t going to miss out on a pivotal moment for the global economy by sending deputies rather than principals to this meeting. There isn’t going to be much progress on the IMF governance debate, and the fund’s more pressing problem – what role it plays in any rescue for Spain and Italy – is largely waiting for the Europeans to sort out what they want to do. Still, as with the IMF voting weights I wrote about yesterday, symbolism is important, and the Per Jacobsson lecture (named after a former IMF head) that PBOC governor Zhou Xiaochuan was going to give on Sunday is a pretty big deal.
The deeper point is this. Domestic politics is often one of the major constraints on countries playing an active role in global governance. (Never mind the next round of IMF quota negotiations – the last lot haven’t been implemented yet because, despite having cunningly helped force the reforms through, the White House dare not submit the funding request to Congress.) Autocracies can have this problem too. If China can’t send its top people to the IMF’s annual meeting because it is more important to posture about Japan ahead of the change of leadership in Beijing in the next few weeks, it doesn’t say much about Beijing’s ability to lead.