Monday, December 12, 2022

Comments by Professor Ling-chi Wang on contrasting styles of diplomacy

My friend, Prof Ling-chi Wang wrote a thoughtful response to my op-ed that I would like to share on my blog. BTW, he and I grew up on Gulangyu, the same tiny islet in the Xiamen harbor, and went to the same elementary school at the same time but we did not actually meet until many years later in San Francisco. ============================================== Thanks, again, for your insightful piece! What a contrast in leadership styles and management of diplomacy! Xi Jinping has been a masterful strategist in handling both domestic and foreign affairs. The ideologically driven Western media, commentators, and politicians have been completely wrong in criticizing Xi for his alleged assertiveness in dealing dealing with the West since day one of his presidency without basis, calling him a “Chinese Emperor” (On the cover of The Economist) and a ruthless dictator, suppressing dissidents and slaming China’s door to eager foreign investors and businesses in China since 2013. (Evidence points to the opposite). I think Xi has been quite low-key and patient in handling affairs at home and abroad in the last ten years, adhering to the precept of Deng Xiaoping, 韬光养晦, until the historic meeting between Yang Jiechi and Tony Blinken on March 18, 2021 in Alaska and now, in full display in the first two weeks of December 2022. Sparing no effort in saving lives in China, he mobilized the nation and the people in a war against the pandemic in the last three years, even as he quietly, steadily, and methodically lay the foundation of his policies, based on his vision of China's dream and renaissance and his Belt and Road Initiative in international relations he put forward since the beginning of his presidency. Eliminating abject poverty being one of his most successful goal. Your article offers the starkest contrast between the leadership of Xi Jinping and the leadership of Barach Obama, Donald Trump and Joe Biden, even though the three U.S. presidents have very different styles in running the U.S. They actually have more important similarities among them than differences. Among the similarities is the commitment to maintain U.S. global hegemony at all costs at home and abroad by any means necessary. Even if the government is dysfunctional and totally paralyzed by mean-spirted division, what is keeping the government and the U.S. economy from collapsing is the shared interest in keeping the U.S. on top of the world and making sure the rest of the world, including our European allies, stay in line and remain subservient to American needs and interests. We absolutely refuse to look critically into ourselves, our system of government, our ideology and values. Instead, we only want to use foreign government, China, as a scapegoat and use it to unite the nation to blaming China for other our own failures. We declared China as an existential threat to our security, interests and prosperity without empirical basis. China is Branded as our No. 1 Enemy, just like what we declared in the 1950s and 1960s to justify our total embargo of China and we entered the Wars in Korea and In Vietnam to stop Chinese expansionism and against our own so-called values, we provided military and financial aids, at the expense of our own needs at home, for military dictators or our compliant regimes who were willing to sacrifice the needs of their people for our interests. Let me pose this question: If we blame and hate China and the Chinese people so much, why don’t we try to throw out everything within our households that are “Made in China” and see how long we can survive each day without them. We need China for "our daily bread!” just like what we say each time we say “The Lord’s Prayer.” The sad truth is we don’t even want to acknowledge that every American needs China for everything we need for our daily living. What we witnessed during the first two weeks of December 2022 is an impressive display of President Xi's orchestration of China's diplomacy without using military, economic, and political threat. What he has accomplished in diplomacy in the last two weeks is a game-changer and historic. But, mark my words, his diplomacy will soon be branded as Xi’s new assertiveness in international relations. This is diplomacy as it should be: he is very confident, thoughtful, polite, and strategic against the backdrop of a risky new phase of China’s handling of not just the pandemic now in its fourth year but also a national mobilization to address the economic slow down and people’s well beings since 2020. He engaged leaders of countries in ASEAN, G-20, Saudi Arabia, six Gulf states, and more than a dozen of Arab states in Asia and across north Africa under very friendly and cordial atmosphere without coercion or threat, the style came to be closely associated with President Biden. Even his European allies find it offensive and selfish.

No comments: