Jim Hoge of Foreign Affairs Magazine on China
Jim Hoge has been the editor of Foreign Affairs magazine since 1992. He holds the Peter G. Peterson Chair at the Council on Foreign Relations, and is a director of Human Rights Watch and the Foundation for a Civil Society. He is also the chairman of the International Center for Journalists.
He recently had this to say about China.
Based on some of the organizations with which Jim is affiliated, I would have guessed Jim to be as ideological, myopic, hypocritical, bigoted, and biased as many others we have called out on this blog. I was preparing for the worst because in reading many reports from Western media last few years, I get the distinct sense that many people in the West wish – even root for – China to fail.
Consider, for example, Francis Fukuyama WSJ’s article titled “Is China Next.” If you think the article is bad, the comments were worse. Our good friend Larry at bearcanada.com wrote in one of the comments:
It is truly painful to read many of the posts here, and in similar publications on the net.
So many people, who may never have travelled more than 100 miles from their home, may have never been outside of their home state, who likely cannot find their own country on a map of the world. But who “know” everything about China.
So many posts, full of bias, of bigotry, of racism and even hatred, for a country nobody understands or knows anything about, a country that has never done anything to the US or to Americans.
I know this sounds terrible to say, but a famous American author recently wrote that Americans get their politics from the same place they get everything else – from their ignorance and simple-mindedness.
And from a “Christian” country, whose god is a god of love, of tolerance, of peace and forgiveness. Do unto others…, turn the other cheek…, let he who is without sin…
And what do we have, from these people of God who pride themselves on their “freedom of religion”? Bitterness, hatred, condemnation, intolerance, obvious pleasure in the poverty of another people (dirty peasants), arrogance in one’s implied superiority.
What would anyone think of Americans, reading all these posts?
For your information, nothing like this happens in China. No Chinese newspaper writes hateful articles about the US, although God knows they have much reason to do so.
The Chinese are tolerant to a fault, and they are charitable rather than small-minded. They take no pleasure in seeing your country in a financial mess; nobody in China is cheering at millions of Americans losing their jobs or homes.
But you would cheer, wouldn’t you? And so many of you would cheer even louder if China were to stumble or to fail. That would be proof that you are really superior, that God is on your side.
In a recent NYT blog by Nicholas Kristoff there was a post that China’s tragic earthquake in Sichuan that killed 100,000 people was “just nature’s way of telling us there are too many Chinese in the world.”
What fine people. And so even-handed. You take such pleasure in condemning China about vague “human rights violations” and so conveniently forget that it is your country that has Abu Graib, Guantanamo Bay, the secret torture prison at Baghram and the new “Peace Medicine” torture facility in Indonesia.
I would have to say that the Chinese are far better Christians than most of you.
I have something I wish all of you would read. It’s a kind of photo-essay, an editorial, titled, “If we’re going to learn about China, let’s first meet some real people.” Maybe it would do some good.
However surprisingly, in this particular video at least, Jim appeared to be relatively grounded. Jim argued, foremost, that trying to play up fears on China is wrong. China may be more assertive in its foreign policy, but it is not of the malignant sort that forebodes an expansionist power. China and U.S. are not competitors. China has its own problems to deal with, so does America. Each must recognize its strengths and weaknesses and address its problems accordingly. The U.S. is still the sole superpower and is projected to be so for the foreseeable future. However, as China and others fast arise, the U.S. needs to start preparing the institutions it has built and led to be more representative of a multi-polar world.
While I don’t agree with everything Jim advanced in the video, it is refreshing to see another clear head from the West speaking about China. Americans in general have nothing to fear but fear itself. The biggest fear the world have to fear is a delusional, fearful American public.