Huntsman Speaks, Romney Thumps, Biden Eats

Huntsman the Diplomat

Jon Huntsman is a Republican running for his party’s nomination for President of the United States.  He is the former governor of Utah, the most recent former Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China and has, by all accounts, an impressive resumé when it comes to foreign policy.

Here is Huntsman in a long interview with Phoenix TV (a not state-owned, but usually self-censoring station) in Beijing.  Around 19’30” he breaks into Chinese to express some notions of mutual need in the US-China relationship.

I don’t know who is advising Huntsman (clearly not Samantha Power, who is advising Obama on Libya) , but Huntsman at least has the virtue of having his own views; Huntsman has just a little more foreign policy experience than George H.W. Bush did in 1980 (and Bush is a particularly apt comparison for Huntsman, as the key US representative in Beijing in the mid-1970s).

Of late, some sparks have been flying as Huntsman has begun attacking the Republican front-runner, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, as having a shallow grasp of foreign policy.

Romney, the Anti-Mullah

In response, Romney brandished an extensive list of foreign policy advisers he has taken on.

Romney’s Friday afternoon speech in South Carolina (using a military college to launch an attack on the Commander in Chief, as it were)  is available on video here; it is loaded with Iran and Israel and shopworn formulae.  A shorter version of the key points were already covered in a Romney interview with a certain North American outlet for news and Volksaufklärung:

More to the point, the China-related rhetoric in Romney’s Citadel speech in no way reflects an understanding of East Asia, much less the influence Evan Feigenbaum, who was recently named to head up Asia policy in Romney’s shadow cabinet.

Perhaps the Romney obsession with the Middle East can be chalked up to the sway held over the candidate by several key members of the Bush administration and in particular, the old Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) a body which, had you forgotten, was run by L. Paul Bremer and was the experiment with a neo-libertarian colonialism in Iraq, responsible for flushing hundreds of millions of dollars into the nebula of corruption during the year of 2003-2004 in Iraq.

Among the two key advisers for Romney on the Middle East are the positively sulfuric war propagandist Dan Senor and (“I got where I am today by learning how to simplify things for George W. Bush”) Meghan O’Sullivan.  Unlike Condoleeza Rice, who at least has the bona fides at the keys, O’Sullivan is neither a musician nor a musical diplomat.

And speaking of cultural diplomacy:

Biden in East Asia

I bring you Joe Biden in Beijing, Chengdu, Fukushima, and….Ulan Bator, Mongolia.  Finally, I am catching up with this old man.

And here is Biden’s long speech at Sichuan University, which is where I taught last year and is down the street from one of the apartments that I live in from time to time.



  1. I kind of like Romney but I didn’t realize that he had such people like Dan Senor advising him on foreign policy. Imagine someone like Dan Senor becoming the Secretary of State in a Romney administration.

    1. Hi GI, thanks for the comment. My thoughts exactly; I am always ready to give folks the benefit of the doubt (I’m quite interested in Huntsman for obvious reasons, the China angle being #1), but that Dan Senor thing got my hackles up quick. On the other hand, Romney’s Asia policy advisors look pretty solid, and, according to my insider friends, Romney would have a very hard time fundamentally reshaping US policy toward China (and the CCP tends to like Republicans, actually).

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