A post by Pat
There are many times I am convinced the world is not real, that I’ll wake up and see a nurse hovering over me with my next dose of meds. The surest trigger for this feeling is any news report concerning international diplomacy. We’re supposed to believe it’s all very nuanced–an intricate dance of double, triple and even more complex multiplicities of meaning. Normally I’m all for that kind of stuff in poetry, religion or fantasy. When it comes to war or peace, prosperity or ruin, the charade is too much for this gray-haired lady with dishpan hands. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
The best I can hope for is that David Lloyd George is correct in saying, “Diplomats were invented simply to waste time”. There is no better evidence for the truth of that than the recently concluded Strategic and Economic Dialogue Conference in China. It was the 2nd Annual S&ED Conference, an invention of Community Organizer in Chief, Barack Obama.
The U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue was established by President Obama and Chinese President Hu in April 2009 and represents the highest-level bilateral forum to discuss a broad range of issues between the two nations. The Dialogue is an essential step in advancing a positive, constructive, and comprehensive relationship between the two countries.
China Central TV’s English language programming aired a discussion between two academics about the conference. It’s all about symbolism and big picture ideas. It’s a dialogue so we can have dialogues. Academia is right up there with diplomacy as a dangerous fraud dealing in gobbledygook. The American complained about the intrusion of current events on this grand vision conclave. The precious conference was nearly hijacked by current events, for cryin’ out loud. Regrettable, but, he concedes, it is unavoidable. Such is life.
The Chinese professor thinks the conference is more than purely symbolic. It provides a structure and a process. It provides predictability and assuredness that China and the U.S. will have a process. Remember this is the 2nd annual conference. We evidently had no way of getting in touch with each other before. He sees current events as “day to day hiccups”. Those South Korean sailors probably felt it was more than a hiccup when their ship was torpedoed.
The video is about nine minutes but it is quite amusing once you suspend a grounding in reality. Prof. Kuhn who rhapsodizes about having dialogues has some difficult moments getting a word in. In the end we see that despite the obeisances to broad visions, the Chinese are really ticked off about one particular point: they weren’t granted Market Economy Status. It’s a matter for future dialogue which they find impolite.
You’ll love Dr. Kuhn’s opinion on the terms “socialism” and “capitalism”. The metaphors about bus drivers goes off a cliff. There is an awkward silence when the professors are asked if it’s too complicated to describe the roles of the two countries. If kids can play video games over the Internet then countries can work together too or something. I have no idea what the Chinese profs hand gestures mean.