Monday, February 10, 2020

Quote of the Day (Christopher Buckley, Imagining a Female Flack Amid Rising U.S.-Chinese Tensions)

“An important part of her [Winnie Chang, head of the “U.S.-China Co-Dependency Council”] job, aside from promoting harmony and mutual understanding, was appearing on television and radio and writing thoughtful op-ed articles for the newspapers, explaining away Beijing's latest effrontery or outrage, whether saber-rattling at Taiwan or the appalling number of female newborns being found in Chinese dumpsters. Winnie didn't always win the argument, but she always made it with style. When the attack dogs of the right went after her, snarling and snapping, she responded with a lightness of touch that made their fury seem disproportionate or even pathetic. Winnie personified the Chinese proverb that says, ‘You cannot prevent birds from dropping on you, but you can prevent them from building nests in your hair.’”—American satirist Christopher Buckley, They Eat Puppies, Don't They? A Novel (2012)

As described by Buckley, Winnie Chang might be the most beguiling female produced by China since Madame Chiang Kai-shek quickened the pulse of many an American male politico or diplomat in the1940s. But even Winnie might find it to be a bridge too far to explain away China’s current distress and unrest over the Coronavirus.

It involves far more than discussing the quarantining of an entire city of 11 million, or of spinning the endangerment of the nation’s carefully plotted strategy of economic dominance. It also means tiptoeing around the regime’s squashing of blunt warnings by several doctors that measures needed to be taken immediately before catastrophe followed. 

At bottom, a spin doctor like like Ms. Chang would have to address whether an authoritarian government can really provide the transparency necessary to contain the spread of an epidemic that of this writing has resulted in 42,000 confirmed cases around the globe, including 1,000 deaths.

Let’s see if those birds stop at dropping or move on to nesting.

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