Regarding the Jan. 21 news article “For U.S. envoy in Beijing, legacy lies in numbers”:
Traditional diplomacy honors traditional accomplishments: meetings with the powerful and speculative effects on policy. Perhaps it is time to trade these soft-edged accomplishments for the measurable results Gary Locke achieved in Beijing.
There is nothing minor about increasing Chinese investment in the United States by billions of dollars. A billion here, a billon there leads to a lot of American jobs. Reducing visa wait times increases foreign investment and tourism and reduces the suspicion that the long wait times are, in part, discrimination against Chinese people.
The fact that the United States sent Mr. Locke to China was, in and of itself, a powerful message, helping to dispel the myth that Chinese people and Chinese Americans are subject to discrimination here.
Very few ambassadors legitimately can claim that they forced the hand of an international leader. A photo of Xi Jinping riding a bicycle with his daughter was a response to the photo gone viral of Mr. Locke buying his own Starbucks coffee. In my travels, Chinese people frequently ask me if Mr. Locke really does buy his own coffee and fly coach. It is nice to be able to say that, in the United States, it happens all the time.
David Wu, Washington
The writer, a Democrat, represented Oregon’s 1st Congressional District in the House from 1999 to 2011.