Daily Archives: November 16, 2009

By Roula Khalaf, the FT’s Middle East editor

It doesn’t take much to charm the Arab public after all. Combine romantic television drama and anti-Israeli comments and you win instant sympathy from public opinion. Read more

By Alan Beattie, the FT’s world trade editor

The Copenhagen conference will agree no treaty; the WTO ministerial in two weeks’ time will not even discuss the Doha round – roughly equivalent to staging Hamlet without the prince, Horatio, Ophelia, Rosencrantz or Guildenstern; the UN food security summit this week removed even a largely rhetorical pledge to end hunger and boost agricultural aid; Barack Obama has so far failed to elicit anything but vague hints on currency cooperation from Beijing. Read more

By Edward Luce, FT Washington bureau chief, travelling with President Barack Obama in Shanghai

From a distance, global diplomacy can appear more glamourous than it sometimes is. On Monday, in a very rainy and overcast Shanghai, Barack Obama could be forgiven for wishing he was elsewhere. His first public event of the day was a meeting with Yu Zhengsheng, the city’s Communist party secretary.

After the presidential motorcade sped along Shanghai’s eerily empty streets and seemingly endless urban jungle of skyscrapers, Mr Obama sat down to what might politely be described as a ponderous exchange of pleasantries with Mr Yu.

The US president was not alone. Among the other American officials seated in a line of chairs next to Mr Obama were Hillary Clinton, the secretary of state, Susan Rice, the ambassador to the United Nations, Jim Jones, the national security advisor, Lawrence Summers, White House senior economic advisor, and Kurt Campbell, the state department’s Asia man.

“Thank you so much for your hospitality,” said Mr Obama. “This is my first visit to Shanghai.”

“Shanghai is a city that witnessed the progress of the diplomatic relations between China and the United States over the past three decades,” Mr Yu shot back. Read more