Friday, September 9, 2016

Krauthammer On The Incident In Hangzhou And The International Disdain For President Obama

Charles Krauthammer's column in the Washington Post covers the incident in Hangzhou involving President Obama exit through the "ass of the plane."

The president of the United States lands with all the majesty of Air Force One, waiting to exit the front door and stride down the rolling staircase to the red-carpeted tarmac. Except that there is no rolling staircase. He is forced to exit — as one China expert put it rather undiplomatically — through “the ass” of the plane.
This happened Saturday at Hangzhou airport. Yes, in China. If the Chinese didn’t invent diplomatic protocol, they surely are its most venerable and experienced practitioners. They’ve been at it for 4,000 years. They are the masters of every tributary gesture, every nuance of hierarchical ritual. In a land so exquisitely sensitive to protocol, rolling staircases don’t just disappear at arrival ceremonies. Indeed, not one of the other G-20 world leaders was left stranded on his plane upon arrival.
Did President Xi Jinping directly order airport personnel and diplomatic functionaries to deny President Obama a proper welcome? Who knows? But the message, whether intentional or not, wasn’t very subtle. The authorities expressed no regret, no remorse and certainly no apology. On the contrary, they scolded the media for even reporting the snub.
No surprise. China’s ostentatious rudeness was perfectly reflective of the world’s general disdain for Obama. His high-minded lectures about global norms and demands that others live up to their “international obligations” are no longer amusing. They’re irritating.
...Now the latest. At the G-20, Obama said he spoke to Putin about cyberwarfare, amid revelations that Russian hackers have been interfering in our political campaigns. We are more technologically advanced, both offensively and defensively, in this arena than any of our adversaries, said Obama, but we really don’t want another Cold War-style arms race.
Instead, we must all adhere to norms of international behavior. 
It makes you want to weep. This KGB thug adhering to norms? He invades Ukraine, annexes Crimea, bombs hospitals in Aleppo — and we expect him to observe cyber-code etiquette? Rather than exploit our technological lead — with countermeasures and deterrent threats — to ensure our own cyber-safety?
You can read the rest of the column via the below link:

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