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Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, and Nigerien President Mahamadou Issoufou in Beijing. Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, and Nigerien President Mahamadou Issoufou during a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, May 28, 2019 (AP photo by Mark Schiefelbein).

Have China’s Value Propositions Become More Attractive Than America’s?

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

After my first book came out in 2004, I received a surprise phone call from an assistant to former United States Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, asking if I would meet with him to talk about Africa. Sitting together in his executive’s office at Citibank’s headquarters in Manhattan, he averred that if Al Gore were to win that year’s presidential election, he could return to a leading position in government, and he wanted to know if there was one initiative Washington could take to engage with Africa, what would I suggest?

This was a tall order, not least because I had not been told of his question in advance, but also because American diplomacy toward Africa has been marked for decades by a bipartisan failure of imagination—by neglect and by drift. ...

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