Side note: I have been gone for a while. And I think I am back!
This morning, the New York Times reported on an agreement that will bring “high level talks” between the US and China about hacking and cyber security. Given how much we have been hearing about the theft of important technical information and sensitive national and corporate secrets, I was excited by this news. My excitement, it seems, was misguided, triggered by a headline referencing “regular” talks. I understand that regular means repeated at any interval, but in both informal and academic American English it does imply frequency as well. So I was disappointed to read that these talks will only be occurring once each year. NYT please do not fall into the world of the bloggers, sullying otherwise impeccably written articles with slanted headlines just to generate more website traffic. For example, I titled this post with “China” and “hacking” because no one would read it if it was more accurately titled “A Sloppy Rhetorical Analysis of the NYT and an Uninformed Treatise on International Relations.” NYT, you are respected, and you don’t need to do that to keep your readers.
What I am most disappointed about, though, is that the US and Chinese governments think it is acceptable, and will be at all valuable, to meet only once a year about a topic that is so relevant and dangerous, and changes by the day. Are there mid level or low level talks happening in the background during the weeks and months between these annual talks? Are we working together to solve an international problem, or just getting together to smile for the cameras? Let’s just call this what it is: good press and a photo op for both governments. Maybe I am wrong. And I would be happy about that.