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Sunday, October 29, 2006

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Commentary: Soft Power of China Grows

The Foreigner pointed me to this article in Commentary on the growing clout of China.
But on his visit three years ago, the President was in for an unpleasant surprise. Thousands of protesters filled the streets in Sydney and Canberra, scuffling with police and staging mock trials of the American president. Inside the Australian parliament, Bush’s remarks were interrupted by heckling senators, who had to be escorted from the chamber. His speech done, he was met outside by another chorus of booing critics.

The tumult surrounding Bush’s visit was especially notable because, just days later, Australia would offer a vastly different welcome to another president—Hu Jintao of China. Hu toured Australia like a hero. Few protested China’s human-rights record. In parliament, no one disturbed his windy paean to the future of Australia-China ties. Foreign Minister Alexander Downer spoke words of fulsome praise. Before Hu left, the two nations had signed a framework for a future free-trade deal.
Scary. Meanwhile, as Iraq burns, Bush fiddles and China expands. The US critically needs moral authority to counter China's soft power, and the Bush Administration has totally decimated our moral authority. Iraq may yet have grave implications for Taiwan.

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