Howard French: A grinding of gears in Beijing diplomacy

From The International Herald Tribune:

All in all, the story line of a Communist Party leadership that is forced to play along with populist may be more worrisome than its alternative, for it is a picture not of a serenely confident new contender for superpower status, but of a highly insecure leadership, so worried about its own hold on legitimacy that it sided – at least initially – with a street mob attacking a foreign diplomatic installation rather than with near universally accepted notions of law and order.

What unites the two views, though are their common threads of emotionalism and nationalism, which few of China’s neighbors and perhaps even countries beyond are likely to judge a reassuring concoction for a 21st century superpower.

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