Three years into Xi Jinping’s tenure as president of China, the world is still grasping for an understanding of who he is and where he is leading the country. Dutch journalist Fokke Obbema takes us inside China in his terrific new book, China and the West: Hope and Fear in the Age of Asia, to help us consider the often competing and contradictory trends in China’s development and the challenge that the West appears to have in managing its relations with this dynamic—and often unpredictable—power. With a keen eye, Obbema distills the core issues at hand: What is Xi’s endgame? What is at the heart of China’s conflicts with the West? Will China manage its way through its rather bumpy economic reform process? How should the West manage thorny issues such as human rights—does Angela Merkel get it right or should the world follow the lead of George Osborne?
Obbema is fair-minded and even-handed, but not dispassionate. I don’t think you can ask for more, but listen in and hear for yourself.