They really, really respect us, now

Chinese-born pianist Lang Lang plays an old, Korean-war vintage anti-American song, “Battle on Shangganling Mountain”, at Obama’s state dinner for Chinese President Hu-Jintao. The Chinese, of course, just loved it.

I can just feel the respect our competitors in the world have for us, now that international relations have been “reset”.

This will not end well.

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  • Mike Devx

    Chinese Diplomatic Corps Coordinator (CDCC): “So, what song shall we play during the state dinner?”
    Band leader: “We have been practicing “God Bless America” for these many months.  They should appreciate that we would practice and play one of their own beloved vintage songs.”
    CDCC: “Usually, very appropriate and excellent.  But remember, this is a President that regularly insults his own country every single time he leaves his own country to visit the foreign climes.  He hates his own country, it is obvious.  He will not appreciate a traditional song.  Let us do something Obama would like.”
    Band leader: “Then we shall play one of our songs that severely insults his America!”
    CDCC: Very good! Very good!”
    Band leader: “I hear that when Obama visits Great Britain, his band is going to strike up “God Save The Queen, She Ain’t No Human Being.”
    CDCC: “Any other president, one would say, one must discount such laughable rumors.  However, with this strange barbarian, nothing is beyond belief, is it not?”

  • Ymarsakar

    The Left doesn’t understand respect. They use the term the same way Gang Bangers use it.
    It means fear, not respect.

  • Charles Martel

    What a pathetic know-nothing we have in the White House. The Russians would call him “nekulturny.”


    After Kennedy met with Khrushchev he rightly reported that the meeting had been a disaster since it was obvious that Khrushchev decided he was a weakling who could be pushed around.  Shortly thereafter, events proved that Kennedy was right in this assessment.


    One  (local) quote and the link for background.
    “In the eyes of all Chinese, this will not be seen as anything other than a big insult to the U.S.,” says Yang Jingduan, a Chinese psychiatrist now living in Philadelphia who had in China been a doctor in the Chinese military. “It’s like insulting you in your face and you don’t know it, it’s humiliating.”


    p.s. Danny, Loved the Sally Fields send up.

  • Ymarsakar

    Part of meeting face to face is to pick up on people’s body language.
    Using that as a template, most people readers can get a feel for whether you can be pushed or not.
    The issue with LibProgs is that they are so uncomfortable around military force, always couching their totalitarian government ambitions in the milk of honey and kindness, that this internal cacophony is transmitted through their body language whenever they talk about military force or foreign negotiations. This impression they leave in both their appearance and their actions means that other nations will test them just to see what happens. This forces people Democrats to use force, and often they do it badly.
    Much of the history the Dems talk about when they say America screwed up, it was Democrats doing the screwing up.

  • Ymarsakar

    The Chinese are doing what martial artists might call shadow boxing. Others would call shadow dancing.
    It’s basically subtle maneuvers used to test, gauge, and gain an advantage over an opponent, but in a way that seems harmless, innocent, or non-threatening.
    Muggers will often try to interview their targets by walking up to them and asking them for some kind of help. If you send out the wrong vibes that you don’t know what is going on, they’ll escalate to mugging. If you show that you know the deal, but without getting afraid or overreacting, they will withdraw. If you go freaky and show fear, they will attack. The probabilities are slanted in such a fashion.
    The shadow dance, thus, is made in a social setting. Who wins the shadow dance, determines who is the stronger in a military engagement. If they think you are weak enough in the shadow dance, their chances of attacking you openly increases.
    So Americans will die from not just Chinese actions, perhaps, but everybody else’s actions in the world, now that they have seen just how weak American leadership truly is.
    Actions have consequences. Being a klutz and a weakling also have consequences.

  • Danny Lemieux

    My prediction is that China’s next move will be a military action, perhaps an occupation of disputed islands or an aggressive move against the U.S. navy. This would be the perfect point for them to “confirm” their perceived advantage to world opinion.


    Charles Martel
    I just love it when you make me go to a Russian/English dictionary. Usually, it’s just the basic Martel/English :)

  • Don Quixote

    Did Obama have any pre-approval of what was played?  Was he ignorant or anti-American, or both? 

  • Danny Lemieux

    That’s the question people are asking now, DQ.


    DQ – your guess is as good as the next.  Do you think he knew about his ‘exit’?
    When President Obama visited China in November 2009, he toured the Imperial Palace. Obama exited through the Shen Wu Men, which may be translated as Gate of Divine Prowess. CCTV reported that he exited through the Shun Zhen Men, which may be translated as “Gate of Obedience and Purity.”

    In fact, the Gate of Divine Prowess is the outer gate and everyone must exit through it. However, Chinese media would not accord President Obama the honor of going through the “Gate of Divine Prowess.”

    p.s. and from the article, I linked.
    Neither the White House nor the Chinese Embassy responded to phone calls requesting comment on this story.

  • Charles

    I won’t jump on the bandwagon just yet to say that the Chinese-born pianist was intentially disrespecting the US. 

    Such “propaganda” is so much a part of mainland Chinese culture that most there don’t even see it as propaganda – In fact, what I have read suggests that many Chinese do not even know the origin of the song any more than your average American knows that the lyrics of the Star-Spangled Banner are referring to the British bombing of Fort McHenry.  Should the Brits always look upon that as a insult everytime Americans play or sing it?  How about My Country, ‘Tis of Thee?  Especially since it is sung to God Save the King(Queen).  Do most Americans know that?  Is that an insult to the British?

    However, all that being said – none of this excuses the amateurs at the White House or the State Department for allowing this if they had foreknowledge of what he was going to play. 

    No excuses – none!

    That is their job – to be aware of any behaviour or actions, no matter how seemingly insignificant, that could lead to “misunderstandings.”

    Given Chinese behaviour over the last few years anyone in the White House and State Department, not just Obama and crew, need to be on the lookout for Chinese aggression.  Remember the Chinese jet that “bumped” into an American Spy plane? Remember the door that was “locked” so that President Bush couldn’t properly exit the stage?  etc., etc. etc.

    I’ll be the “racist” here and say that I do wish Obama and crew would follow Bill Clinton’s lead soon and take his act uptown to Harlem – they can then audition for Amateur Hour at the Apollo!


    I won’t jump on the bandwagon just yet to say that the Chinese-born pianist was intentionally disrespecting the US. 

    I WILL. China is not known for stand-up comedy nor the individual ‘winging it’. Everything is orchestrated.
    “It’s deeply meaningful to play this in the United States, but I don’t know if the Americans can understand? Ha ha,” one web user said on leading portal

  • Owen

    I agree that this was a premeditated insult. But I would get too upset about it. I recall when I was but a lad and Deng came over and made Carter look like an idiot — not that that was esp hard, a bunny did the same thing. Obama is a lot like Carter in some ways, but has even more glaring weaknesses. Of cource the Chinese could not resist.

    The reason not to get too worried is that the Chinese simpy don’t understand how things work here. The POTUS derives his authority from the people. The Chinese leadership derives their authority from their moral stature — their face. So they come over here and attack Obama’s “face” to diminish him and therefore the country.

    They cannot comprehend that more than half the country thinks even less of Obama than they do. They made this same mistake with Clinton. Clinton was even worse with foreign policy than Obama and the Chinese watched the events in Somalia and decided he was a wimp (and not just China). So the Chinese got too noisy about Taiwan and Clinton did the obvious thing — he planted a carrier battle group (maybe two) from the 7th Fleet off Taiwan.

    The Chinese Leadership was furious — we could just causally plant a small percentage of our combat power right on their doorstep and there was not a damn thing they could do about it. Their whole mighty country was shown to be wholly impotent in the face a few USN ships and a couple hundred planes. It was a large loss of face and they fulminated about it in private for years — I suspect they still do.

    Personally I think the whole song thing might well have been in part “payback” for 1996. And if so, that’s OK with me. We stop them from invading Taiwan — they come over here 16 years late and play insulting songs in retaliation. Fair trade.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Owen, what do you think the chances are that China will move militarily against Taiwan or some other country during this administration?
    How close are the ties between Japan and Taiwan today?


    I agree that this was a premeditated insult.
    Thanks for your input,  Owen. I think what has gotten our goat, are the unanswered questions – Was the WH aware of the musical choice and did they see it as fair trade for Taiwan. China’s political face/memory is quite a contrast to the political alzheimer’s atmosphere in the states. As you, so deftly pointed out in your article about China and it’s attitude towards ships (historically to present) certainly explains 1996, but from what I’ve read,  China is buying submarines and possibly this is a change and threat to the 7th fleet or others.
    Just asking.

  • Danny Lemieux

    The most worrisome threats to our naval power appear to be “rocket” torpedoes and new missile systems. Does the USN have practical countermeasures. I guess we’ll never know until they are used under real battle conditions.

  • Owen

    Danny & SADIE: I certainly understand our goat being got — every time I think the depths of ineptitude have been plumbed, he goes and does something like this. I’m actually more worried about what other will make of this than what the Chinese think. If you read bin Laden’s speeches and interviews from the mid-90’s he states that Clinton’s Somalia failure was a prime cause of the radicalization of Al Qaeda. (Now that may not be strictly true, but it’s something he wanted his followers to think.)

    But regarding China – yes, they have been buying all sorts of stuff. But when I was studying the PLAN for ONI back when, I noticed (as did others) that their purchases often did not make much sense. For example, they bought some KILOs and two Sovremenny class destroyers from Russia in the 90s. What were they planning to do with them?

    Well, they reportedly disabled one of the KILOs shortly after getting it by cutting open a gear box without realizing they didn’t have the metalurgy to fix it (it was a unitary cast design). They didn’t make provisions for more weapons load-outs; they could not sail the Sovremennys even after their best and brighest had been given 6+ months of extensive training (a Russian crew of “advisors” brought it into harbor.) They could not operate the KILOs succesfully.

    Now, of course, the PLAN could possibly become competent with these vessels and I have not been following what has become of them. But that I think is somewhat beside the point. First, these hulls were almost 10 years old when the PLAN got them; the technology in them is Soviet circa 1980 and is a bitch to maintain and I wonder if they are getting spares.

    Further, these vessels fit into specific slots in the overall Soviet naval structure — they are not designed to go cruising around by themselves. And two DDGs and a few subs (minus 1) does not really buy one much operational capability anyway.

    So what was the reasoning? My conclusion is that the PLAN got these because they think we think they are scary. The Sovremennys carry the SUNBURN SSM which created a lot of angst in the early 80s; the KILOs have wake-homing torpedos, which got some people all in a lather back them too.

    I think Chinese figured they could get a handful of these and just wave them at us as a sort of charm to keep us at bay. I don’t think they had in the 90s (and probably not now) any real idea how to use them, any notion of integrating them into a coherent naval doctrine (which they very much lacked at as 1998), or that they supported a defined strategy (which they also lacked at that time).

    They also bought some other weapon systems back then and they followed the same pattern. It looked like the PLAN was just was reading Proceedings and every time there was an article about some weapon that caused concern, they’d go out and buy the thing.

    Now we have photos of a stealth aircraft. Why? Well the Big Boys have one, so we have to have one. What are they going to do with it? What’s it’s range? It’s capabilites? It’s loadout? We’ve been building those things for 30+ years — has it not occurred to them that our radar guys have had 30+ years to test designs against stealth signatures?

    A couple more telling examples:
    As of 10 years ago, the PLAN tactics for attacking a carrier battle group involved launching short-range ASMs (25-30 miles max range) and then charging in to launch torpedoes at around 1000 yards. Given that a carrier battle group can sink anything within a 300-mile radius (more or less), left unanswered was the question of exactly how they were going to get a DDG within 25 miles of a carrier?

    About 1997, a PLA staff officer (a Col.) wrote a learned assessment of PGMs and their use in the Gulf War (which shocked the hell out the PLA leadership, BTW). He quoted a bunch of our stuff, which they typically do, stitching things together in ways that made me wonder whether the translation was bad or the guy was just clueless — it just didn’t make sense. After reading the thing over and over, I finally figured it out. This PLA staff guru was confusing the concept of PGMs with the concept of aimed fire.

    This is why I don’t get too concerned about the PLA or PLAN.

    As for whether they will get genuinely uppity in a military sense, I very much doubt it. They have large internal problems of their own, their economy is heavily tied to ours and pretty fragile to boot, their industrial base is heavily dependant of foreign support (in the plants that make the best gear, the Chinese in many cases do little more than watch), and without the export imbalance, their economy would quickly collapse (I am dubious about it as it is).

    So the Chinese need us much more than we need them. They don’t like that and will pitch a fit and wave talismans at us and do everything they can to make us look foolish to salve their souls, but that’s about all they can do. I’m not against the Chinese feeling better if that’s all they do. Hopefully in 2 years, we can return some of the favors.

    About others though, I am not so sanguine.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Owen, if not the Chinese, from where do we then face our most serious military threats?

  • Owen

    Danny: in terms of State military threats, for the moment I don’t think there are any serious conventional threats. I’m going to leave out a nuclear-armed Iran for a moment, because that is a can of worms that cannot be dealt within in a comment and it hasn’t happened yet.

    I’m not sure about N. Korea and never have been, It’s just not clear to me how effective N. Korea’s military would be as an offensive force. The nuke question remains open, as far as I know. (The nuke question, whether is it N. Korea or Pakistan or whoever, is always complicated.)

    The main threat I see continues to be the state-supported radical Islamic terrorist threat. This is another topic I don’t think is well-enough understood. (I wrote another rather long piece on the subject at the request of Shrinkwrapped back in 2006 — I think it’s still on his site.)