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The United States and China can’t go on this way. As President Barack Obama meets President Xi Jinping in Washington this week, the world’s two biggest economies are trying to rework their tangled relationship as partners and rivals – the frenemies of the globalized marketplace.

Legions of people clapped, cheered and cried as South Carolina lowered the Confederate battle flag.

But the euphoria of a moment that was more than a decade in the making quickly began to shift to a hard question to answer: What exactly had been accomplished for race relations in the United States? Was it more symbolic than substantive?