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China, is an excellent example of the complexity of the American image abroad. U.S. China relations are intertwined at every level of politics, economics, and society and becoming more so daily.
Let me put this in a factual context.
China is now the seventh largest economy in the world. Within five years it is likely to be the fourth largest.
Incipient civil war. The phrase has been repeated over and over since former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft used it in a speech last week to the New America Foundation. “The Iraqi elections, rather than turning out to be a promising turning point, have the great potential for deepening the conflict,” he said, according to the Washington Post.
Here’s a question that has been bothering me as I watch the Middle East watch Iraq’s election campaign: if Iraq’s Arab neighbors are worried about the country breaking up (and conventional wisdom holds that they are) then why do they insist on addressing Iraqi issues in language guaranteed to make things even worse than they already are?
It is one of the many perverse aspects of this month’s Iraqi elections that the safest places to vote are probably going to be outside Iraq.
Ahh, yes. This is a very American way to spend an hour: sipping coffee in Starbucks, pecking away on my laptop. OK, the experience is not entirely American. For one thing, I appear to be the only person in the store using a computer, but give it time (the manager just wandered past and told me the wireless internet access will probably be up and running next month).
There is a peculiar disconnect when you talk to Westerners here and in Baghdad about the upcoming Iraqi elections.
A few days ago The Washington Times wrote glowingly of election coverage plans at Al-Hurra, the US-funded Arabic-language satellite TV station. Correspondents all over the place. US-style rolling coverage of the returns as they come in. A slew of pre-election documentaries and talk shows designed both to air the issues at stake and to teach people the mechanics of voting.
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