Saturday, November 19, 2005

The thoughts of Chairman Patten

As excerpted by the Hong Kong Standard from Not Quite the Diplomat:

"Does America still believe in the world she created?... Has the great republic which ruled our hearts and destinies with such accomplished imperial ease, partly because she eschewed the prerogatives of emperor, now risked her safety and her standing by today claiming for herself imperial rights?... America seems intent on going back to the politics of gun-slinging Teddy Roosevelt with precision-guided missiles."

On Afghanistan: "We all kidded ourselves that we had bought the warlords, whereas it swiftly became apparent we had only rented them."

"Nor can terrorism ever be eradicated from the face of the earth. Complete elimination of the threat could only be achieved in a global Orwellian police state that denied freedom to everyone. That would negate the values for which America and Europe stand. Paradoxically, it would demand of good men the sort of just resistance and potentially violent resistance that we are seeking to stamp out."

"Even for a senior foreign official dealing with the US administration, you are aware of your role as a tributary: however courteous your hosts, you come as a subordinate bearing goodwill and hoping to depart with a blessing on your endeavours... Attending any conference abroad, American cabinet officers arrive with the sort of entourage that would have done Darius proud. Hotels are commandeered, cities brought to a halt, innocent bystanders barged into corners by thick-necked men with bits of plastic hanging out of their ears. It is not a spectacle that wins hearts and minds."

On George W. Bush: "His is a brand that does not travel well."

On the neo-cons: "The present world order must not be merely changed. It must be overthrown, overturned with Afghanistan and Iraq becoming the Normandy beaches in the next World War. What is required in this neo-con world is permanent revolution, or at least permanent war. This is Mao, not Madison... Fire and sword, shock and awe: this is the world of the neoconservatives, dangerous to us all because in Edmund Burke's phrase 'a great empire and little minds go well together.'"

"In Europe, we huff and puff; how much breath does that leave to do anything serious?"

On Shenzhen: "It was raw, frontier capitalism -- Adam Smith stir-fried by Gradgrind and Fagin."

"There is no evidence that China does business on a basis any different from everyone else; it seeks the best product at the best price. The fact that it goes on hinting that friendship and compliance with Chinese positions can lead to big, fat contracts is a tribute to Western (including American) gullibility. We cannot blame the Chinese for this. If we so regularly behave like suckers, why shouldn't they treat us as suckers?"

"If China's leaders were to learn to trust Hong Kong, it would be an important step on the road towards managing with wisdom, sophistication and the prospect of a successful outcome the political transition that China herself will one day surely have to make... As in political so in economic matters, we will all benefit from a China that succeeds and be damaged by a China that fails."

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