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The acrid atmosphere last week in the Captain Cook Hotel of Anchorage, Alaska, with its vivid murals of the 18th-century British seafarer’s discoveries throughout the Pacific, sounds very much like the acrid atmosphere almost exactly 60 years ago in the Beaux Arts U.S. and Soviet embassies in Vienna. Grim, at least for the United States.
Vienna was where the 42-year-old President John Kennedy met the 67-year-old Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, which, as Kennedy told the New York Times’s James Reston immediately afterward, was the “worst thing in my life. He beat the hell out of me.”
We don’t know whether Secretary of State Antony Blinken and national security adviser Jake Sullivan felt the same way about their treatment by their Chinese counterparts, Foreign Minister Wang Yi and security adviser Yang Jiechi. But they had reason to.
Blinken, limiting himself to an agreed-on two minutes, started off by extolling “the rules-based international order” touted by the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations and lamenting recent Chinese actions in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
Yang took 15 minutes to demand that the U.S. “fully abandon the hegemonic practice of willfully interfering in China’s internal affairs” and said that China believed in “the United Nations-centered international system,” not “the rules-based international order … advocated by a small number of countries.”
Moreover, Yang said, “the challenges facing the United States in human rights are deep-seated. They did not just emerge over the past four years, such as Black Lives Matter.” China’s communists turned the Biden Democrats’ cheap-shot attacks on Trump’s and Republicans’ “systemic racism” and “white supremacy” against America itself.