Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Thursday, May 21, 2009

New Ambassador 

I was watching the Mclaughlin Group last week, and they were talking about who might be the strongest Republican contender for the White House in 2012. The name that came up was Jon Huntsman, governor of Utah. Then they were talking about what Obama could do to counter such a challenge. Well, Obama must have been watching the same program, because the other day I heard the news on the BBC that he had appointed Huntsman as the next ambassador to China. Clever move. Huntsman was a Mormon missionary in Taiwan during his younger days, so he speaks Mandarin. He also has an adopted Chinese daughter.

One interesting result of this appointment is that the legacy of George Bush's China policy is likely to continue. When I first came to China, local people I encountered at the English corner tended to be very critical of Bush because of Iraq. I always agreed that the invasion of Iraq was problematic, becuase the reason given turned out not to be valid. But I also said, "If the Democrats get into the White House, you guys are going to be crying for Bush." My reasoning, of course, was that the Democrats tend to oppose outsourcing, which is the lifeblood of China's economy, it results in the loss of American jobs. The Republicans tend to favor it, because it's good for business.

Well, I might have to end up eating my words. Strange how events tend to change the dynamic in ways we did not anticipate. The Democrats are begging China to keep lending money to the US, so they are keeping quiet on the currency issue (which they see as the reason for so much outsourcing). Now Obama appoints Huntsman as ambassador. America may more "Democratic," but China is going to remain quite Republican for the foreseeable future.

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