Sunday, May 17, 2009

Congrats to Jon

China, eh? That's a very interesting move by Obama. Definitely not something I was expecting; were there any rumors running about in Utah Democratic circles? It does make the 2012 race more interesting by potentially removing him from it. At the same time, it'll burnish Jon's foreign policy credentials for a possible run at the Presidency in 2016.


Jacob S. said...

So this is a pretty interesting move. It seemed like Huntsman was doing all he could to raise his profile nationally for 2012, then he skips off to China and will likely disappear until he is done. I imagine, then, that he isn't interested in running in 2012, maybe eying 2016 when he doesn't have to go up against Pres. Obama.

It's a pretty great move if he is trying to build some foreign policy experience, even though he has already been an ambassador to Singapore. You could easily argue that China is America's most important rival in the world, so that has to be the absolute biggest ambassadorial plumb. It's interesting that Pres. Obama offered it to a Republican.

Shawn O. said...

Actually I think that Huntsman is the perfect choice for the position. Unlike so many, he doesn't view China as a threat, but as the greatest potential ally. China needs us, and we need China. I think that both Obama's and Huntsman's perception of the great "middle country" are the same.

One interesting political storm that could arise from all of this is Huntsman's loyalty to, and affection for Taiwan (where he served a mission for the LDS church).

The simple fact that he speaks Mandarin (it's pretty good) will break down major ideological and cultural barriers. The Chinese are more likely to trust someone that speaks their language, both figuratively and literally. At least that has been my experience.

Andrew said...

I like the bit at the end of the article about Kissinger carrying Huntsman's bags. Kissinger looms large in the history U.S.-Chinese relations; that'd make for an interesting passing-of-the-torch metaphor. I'm somewhat familiar with Kissinger's work through his influence on U.S. policy in Africa and reading here and there about his role in trying to keep China out of the USSR's orbit.

I'm not a huge fan of what he did -- I think he saw the whole situation as a zero-sum game and played to the Chinese and Russians at the expense of the rest of the world. He also had a Cheney-like thirst for consolidating power (I say "Cheney-like" because Cheney really did take it to a whole new level). In so doing he helped set up many of the situations around the world that plague us now. It will be interesting to see how he helps the Obama administration deal with China, and if the Obama administration has the foresight to keep us out of the same kinds of messes that can be traced, in part, back to the Nixon and Ford years.