Three short takes…..
What a good week for the subcontinent. India’s elections are breathtaking in scope and their re-election of the government of Manmohan Singh, one of the world’s wisest and most qualified heads of government, is heartening. That he is only the second Indian leader since independence to be re-elected after serving a full term suggests an ...
What a good week for the subcontinent. India’s elections are breathtaking in scope and their re-election of the government of Manmohan Singh, one of the world’s wisest and most qualified heads of government, is heartening. That he is only the second Indian leader since independence to be re-elected after serving a full term suggests an India that is entering a phase of stable growth that should be appealing to those investing in its future and comforting to those, like the United States, who are increasingly dependent on it as an ally. But the success of this democratic experiment at such scale also sends a powerful message to countries like China who have long argued that such a system cannot work in nations of such scope and complexity.
Also, as to China, the position of U.S. Ambassador to China may be the second most important in the State Department after the Secretary’s job. It has taken the Obama administration a long time to make their selection for this vital post. Their choice, Jon Huntsman, is an excellent one. He has almost all the traits needed to be the first envoy to that country since the general acknowledgement that it is our partner in the G2, our first, most important counterpart in the community of nations. He has extensive regional experience (from service as a missionary in Taiwan to that as an Ambassador to Singapore). He has very high-level U.S. and state government experience which not only gives him familiarity with a wide range of issues but also sends a message to the Chinese that only someone of high stature would do for the post. He speaks Chinese. And while some might quibble that he is not particularly close to Clinton and Obama, this is a small issue.
I have met with him a couple of times, once having had the opportunity for a long dinner time conversation with him a number of years ago, and I was struck with his intelligence, accessibility and political gifts. That he is legitimately seen as a potential Republican presidential candidate also will help with the Chinese and sends a message too about Obama’s confidence as a chief executive. It also is an interesting parallel with one of Huntsman’s past benefactors, George H.W. Bush, whose resume of diverse senior posts and significant international experience as well as a reputation as a sound centrist are being mirrored by this rising star of the Bush’s party. Wouldn’t it be interesting if the antidote to George W. Bush was a completely different kind of Republican modeled on his father?
Aung San Suu Kyi deserves to be the center of a more concerted, more visible effort led by America and her allies to win freedom for the Burmese dissident. If Burma’s neighbors choose to sidestep the issue, the rest of the world has an obligation to step up the heat on what is one of the world’s most repulsive regimes.
PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images
David Rothkopf is a former editor of Foreign Policy and CEO of The FP Group. Twitter: @djrothkopf
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