Photo via Daily Mail
According to multiple news outlets, China, the self-proclaimed “superpower” who is demanding that everyone in the world respect them, took it upon themselves to openly “snub” President Barack Obama at the G20 summit in Hangzhou this past weekend.
The Guardian details the event as follows:
Chinese leaders have been accused of delivering a calculated diplomatic snub to Barack Obama after the US President was not provided with a staircase to leave his plane during his chaotic arrival in Hangzhou before the start of the G20.
… When Obama did find his way on to a red carpet on the tarmac below there were heated altercations between US and Chinese officials, with one Chinese official caught on video shouting: “This is our country! This is our airport!”
From the same source, Mexican official Jorge Guajardo is quoted as saying: “These things do not happen by mistake. Not with the Chinese… I’ve dealt with the Chinese for six years. I’ve done these visits… I know exactly how these things get worked out. It’s down to the last detail and everything. It’s not a mistake. It’s not.”
The Telegraph provides a similar account, adding:
“All the other world leaders appeared to have been welcomed to the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou in traditional diplomatic style, treading onto a red carpet laid on a rolling airport staircase outside the main exit of the aircraft.”
If you thought this was childish, and unbecoming of anything remotely close to the realm of “superpower” behavior, or the behavior of any self-respecting man or woman, for that matter, then you’re completely right.
This behavior is not the behavior of a civilized nation, a self-respecting nation, and definitely not the behavior of a nation who assumes the role of a world superpower.
I was disappointed and irritated by the news of what the Chinese did at the G20 meeting in Hangzhou, but I wasn’t surprised. They’ve done this before, numerous times, in numerous countries, in numerous different ways.
What the Chinese did to Obama in Hangzhou is just one example of China’s belittling attitude towards the international community, and another reason why China is not a superpower. Not even close.
China is bitter, insecure, and self-conscious at the fact that they are not a superpower. As a result, they are doing whatever they can to project the appearance of superpower. Sadly for them, in trying so hard to appear “superpower-ish”, they’re making themselves look very, very small.
It takes more than military might and economic clout to be a superpower (although America smashes China in both of these areas). To be a superpower, one does require these elements, but it takes so much more.
America is a superpower, not only because of her military and economic power. She is a superpower because of her superior ideals, her belief that all are created equal, and that we are all born with a set of inalienable rights that can never be taken away from us.
America is a superpower because she stands by these ideals, because she champions these ideals, and when abroad, her representative, exemplified in the form of President of the United States of America, adheres to these ideals, no matter how lowly and contemptible her adversary is willing to sink.
There are a number of ways President Obama could have handled this situation. For him, the decision was a graceful shrug, a smile, and a step above his unruly hosts.
In response to this incident, Obama replies that he “wouldn’t overcrank the significance,” according to Australian news outlet ABC Online.
I may not agree with everything Obama has done during his time in office, but the way he carried himself during this instance was pure class.
The Chinese tried to demonstrate their “strength” by trying to embarrass Obama publicly, and he rebutted them by simply reaffirming what the Chinese have already affirmed themselves: That the leaders of China are small men, with short fuses, and little understanding of the word “respect,” for others, and for themselves.
By shrugging off this rude gesture, Obama shows the world that he is too big to be fettered by such small actions. In maintaining his dignity, patience, and stature, Obama, without as much as saying a word on the subject, clearly explains why America is the world superpower, and why China is not, and never will be.