Obama’s China Trip Announces a ‘World Without Leadership’: Financial Times Deutschland, Germany
Now that we’ve gotten some of the Chinese reaction to president Obama’s trip, it’s time to start sampling the reaction of the rest of the world.
This article by the great Thomas Klau of Germany’s Financial Times Deutschland is not encouraging – and points out that without the U.S. able to exercise effective leadership, it’s time to grapple seriously with stronger global institutions.
According to Klau, President Obama’s China visit signals that a moment the Europeans have dreaded for hundreds of years has come when he writes:
“At least since the time of Napoleon, we Europeans have lived with a somewhat fearful suspicion that China will likely wake up one day as a giant of global politics. Now that time has come.”
As far as what the trip shows about the United States, Klau is even less sanguine, and more than a little “peeved” that Obama is treating Beijing better than he does the European Union:
“Obama’s China visit was more than a passing episode. It most likely documents the definitive end of a historic epoch, in which the foremost Western power was able to present itself internationally as the ultimate authority on good government and good business, without incurring more than the weak protestations of those who were comparatively unsuccessful. … the turnaround year of 1989 [year the Berlin Wall fell] marked the beginning of the end of a historic era – an era in which Western concepts of good governance and good business almost entirely dominated the global discourse. If things stay this way because China continues to do splits between free and un-free politics, the Tiananmen Square massacre will be, unfortunately, the 1989 event with the strongest influence on the future.”
“We are slowly beginning to get used to this new, post-American world. Peeved, we see that the globally more modest United States treats its coolly-controlling lender China with greater care than it does the European Union.”
By Thomas Klau*
Translated By Stephanie Martin
November 19, 2009
Germany – Financial Times Deutschland – Original Article (German)
After the cool treatment of Europeans, now comes a soft stance toward China. During his first visit to Asia, U.S. President Barack Obama, sober as always in his approach to foreign policy, has drawn his conclusions about the reorganization of the global power arena. In accordance with the wishes of the Chinese leadership, human rights rhetoric was almost entirely missing from Obama’s public statements. Behind closed doors he may have made demands on some key issues like Iran; in public, however, anything that may have suggested America as school master and China as the one receiving instruction was avoided.
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