Back in the Oval, the photo op is just wrapping up. Jed is saying goodbye to Governor Bundy, and Bingo Bob is sliding out of the room when Jed calls him back. Bob starts to butter him up, but Jed cuts him off: "Don't do that again. I want to be very clear: I'm not choosing sides. Not him, not you." Russell looks nonplussed, but any reaction is cut off when C.J. enters the room. She tells Jed about the demonstrations, which were organized by the independence movement. But she notes that some prominent members of the majority party where there, including the Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs. Just then, Kate walks into the office. I love how everyone can just saunter into the Oval Office without anyone's asking if Jed would like to see them. It must be nice to work in such an open environment. C.J. asks Kate how the meeting with the Chinese went, and she responds, "Things didn't start off all that well. They went downhill from there." She also tells them that the People's Liberation Army has deployed a submarine into the Taiwan Strait in response to the demonstrations. She tells Jed that she thinks they're just showing their teeth. Jed: "I get distracted for five minutes at breakfast and China's deploying teeth." Jed is looking fairly red as he reacts to the news. He tells Kate that he wants her to get to Taipei immediately: "Tell President Chen I'm not going to war over a flag. At least not today." Then he tells C.J. that he wants to get Beijing on the phone, and that the two of them will settle the problem immediately.
Josh is watching the news coverage in his office when C.J. walks in. She tells him she needs him to put his delaying tactic into place to keep Senator Hunt off the floor. Josh is surprised at the change, and wants to discuss it with the President. C.J.: "It's already been discussed. Submarines trump symbolism. I had to make a call." Josh agrees, and asks her if there's anything else. She tells him that they're going to accept the welcome in Tiananmen Square, and are trying to get the Chinese to go along with the original agenda. There won't be any public discussion of Taiwan. Josh points out that they're "gonna need to deal with the fallout from the welcome at Tiananmen." C.J. agrees with a quiet "yeah" and then takes two steps toward Josh. We can't see her face, but it must be communicating something, because Josh says, "You put Toby on it?" C.J. did, and she also tells him that Jed wants her to accompany him on the summit. Which, Josh realizes, means that he will be staying behind. C.J. tells Josh that with things in crisis, they would just feel better if she were in charge. He immediately starts to speak in that way you do when you've gotten really bad news but you have to agree with the logic behind it: "Sure, I'll start pulling together the briefing packets for you. Come on, you're going, you need Toby to deal with the press. Somebody's got to man the fort here. I'm fine staying. You're his guy. You're in the room, in the chair. He needs you, that's how it was with Leo, that's how it's supposed to be." The words cannot convey how powerful this scene was. Bradley Whitford is amazing in this scene. It's one of the most restrained performances I've seen on this show, and it communicates volumes about the heartbreak he is feeling. During his speech, we periodically cut back to C.J.'s face. She doesn't speak, but you can also see the regret she feels at having to do this to a friend. Once he finishes, I think she almost starts to say that she's sorry, but she just thanks Josh instead, and walks out of the room.