There I was this morning, enjoying a cup of coffee in the warm autumn sun and reading the staid old Financial Times, with its distinctive yellow paper that always puts me in the mind of reliable centrism, when abruptly my equanimity was broken by this:
Here’s an interesting question ahead of Barack Obama’s arrival in Tokyo on Friday for the first leg of his Asia tour: would Mao Zedong have approved of the US president’s itinerary? Or would he have worried that Obama was not doing enough to make sure that Japan felt loved?
It might be surprising to some, but the late Chinese chairman was an astute observer of the impact that trip scheduling could have on sensitive Japanese sentiment. So much so that he discussed the matter in forceful terms with Henry Kissinger way back in 1971.
I wasn’t following international affairs back then, but I remember well the doubt and concern that swept some Japanese policymaking circles in 1998 when then US president Bill Clinton skipped Tokyo on an Asian tour that included a long multi-stop visit to China. [. . .]
Mao would certainly have chastised Clinton, had the great dictator not long since been transformed into a waxy corpse on grisly show in a Tiananmen Square mausoleum.
Here's an even more interesting question: what's the easiest way to continue getting good press 50 years after contriving the murder of tens of millions? Answer: do it in the name of Communism.