Monday, November 26, 2007


Ted Koppel is upset with himself over not walking away from a dinner with a Chinese official who said that it was a pity that the attacks of September 11th, 2001 didn't target the White House. He decided that this was an unpardonable breach of good manners, and shouldn't have been tolerated. But when you listen to his entire piece, you have to wonder about the manners of Americans, when they talk to, or about, foreigners. China-bashing and high-handed preaching seem to be the new sport of the American press, punditry and political classes, even when it's not quite accurate. The idea that Chinese should always respond to this with bland pleasantries seems to be too much to ask for.

As an aside; when I was first listening to this piece, and Mr. Koppel was relating that he had asked his Chinese host about possible cooperation around counter-terrorism, I was reminded of an old joke:

Lone Ranger: Tonto, there are hostile Indians everywhere! We'll have to fight our way out!
Tonto: What's this "we" business, white man?

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