Thursday, January 19, 2012

Former national security adviser on China, Obama

Apologies this is slightly belated. From Financial Times via Slate:

"The Chinese are really good at diplomacy – and even at making their interlocutors feel very uncomfortable," [Zbigniew] Brzezinski says. "Sometimes they look at you while you’re making a point and they start laughing. And you’re saying to yourself, 'Am I really a fool? What am I saying that’s so ridiculous?' I very early on realised that their negotiating technique is a form of masterful manipulation. I was also struck by how well informed the top Chinese leaders are about the world," he says. "And then you watch one of our Republican presidential debates ... " Brzezinski does not feel it necessary to complete the sentence but he later adds: "The GOP field is just embarrassing."

It's not a very long article, but it's good enough to warrant a second quote:

Brzezinski quotes a senior Chinese official who reportedly said of America: "Please don’t decline too quickly." He then lampoons the standard American candidate’s response to any talk of decline, which is simply to assert that America’s greatness will return if only people would believe in it. "'Help is here. Smile a lot. Everything will disappear. It will be fine' – well, sad to say, it doesn’t work that way. People are ignorant and scared. It will take more than that."

So how did Slate's supposedly liberal, intelligent commentariat take to the piece? Surely their minds were opened. Surely they had some cogent follow-up questions. Surely they liked that quip about the GOP...

Here are two comments:

(Dude "liked" his own comment?)

China is the bad guy, like the USSR was the bad guy in the movie Red Dawn, or the Body Snatchers were the bad guys in Invasion of the Body Snatchers (just basically a metaphor for the USSR), or the aliens in Independence Day, or the aliens in Battle of Los Angeles...

I wonder if Americans have grown so snug in their copacetic suburbs that they're no longer capable of venturing outside their intellectual comfort zone to consider that another country with a non-democratic government might have interests that aren't demonic, or even a culture that isn't intertwined with said government. Could they believe in anything other than the narratives they've been fed by their country's myth-makers (TOTALLY not propaganda, dude!), forever sucklings on pop culture's fat pink teat? Because Hollywood has conditioned them to believe that nothing is real except the life they live, and of course they're not living the life of a former national security adviser, or even a diplomat, so of course China isn't real. China is a bad guy, who could be played by Gary Oldman. America is hero. And if history were to write a script in which the bad guy wins, well, there's always a sequel to be made, and you know the underdog narrative sells...

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