Saturday, October 25, 2008

"Blue Europe, Red Asia"? Methinks not.

This stunning piece of tripe appeared in the Taipei Times today:

Blue Europe, Red Asia

...and I am agog with...well, not just with surprise at the inaccuracy, but with the generality of it, the lack of attention to detail in the overall assessment, and with then supporting those generalizations (when dealing with entire continents one has to be general, fair enough) with precious little evidence.

Anecdotally, it's pretty clear to me that Asians do not, in fact, generally support McCain. Looking at Taiwan, despite the fact that there is a line of argument saying that McCain would be better for Taiwan (something I disagree with, but hey, I covered that in a previous post) the general public consensus is that Obama is the better candidate.

At least when the author discusses China, she uses the term "may very likely" - as in she may very likely not have enough research and is basing that assertion on conjecture. The Chinese people hated Bush - this was all too evident during my time in China, and not just anecdotally. Many now seem to see McCain as an extension of Bush. Whether he is or is not is not worth getting into just now (I think he is, but that's a personal opinion).

I've spent quite a bit of time in India and keep in touch with plenty of people there. This is again anecdotal, but so far the questions I've asked my desi friends about the general consensus of the Indian populace - if there can ever be such a thing - is that Obama is far and away the better candidate.

Of course, surveys awhile back on the Indonesian opinion of Obama held him in favorable regard, and that does not seem to have changed.

So where are these "Red Asians" who lean towards McCain for all of the reasons listed in the article (a preference for traditional security measures, traditional US involvement, and being able to snatch the "mantle of hope" from the USA should McCain be elected)? I certainly don't know any of them. I'm sure they're out there - Asia's big, in case you haven't noticed - but the generalities expressed in this article seem questionable at best, blatantly false at worst....rather like the assertion that McCain will be better for Taiwan just because the party platform language contains more wording about Taiwan. Very shaky indeed.

I won't address Japan - I know precious little on Japanese foreign policy and public consensus so have nothing to add there.

Moisi may have a point that there are governments out there who favor McCain. I could see the Chinese government doing so, though I don't know for sure (I'm not sure anyone really knows for sure; can one really trust anything the Chinese government says about its policies, actions, alliances or...frankly, anything at all?)...I'm less convinced about India. I could go into detail as to why, but this is a blog on Taiwan so I would rather not devote the space to it here.

But the people? Sorry honey...but no. It doesn't seem as though Dominique Moisi has even been to Asia, or she'd have a much better general idea about how people feel here. Even then, it would only be very, very general.

This, however, is brilliant. Very wordy and dense article on alternatives that Asian institutions have at saving their financial markets in lieu of the bank bailouts currently in vogue in G7 countries. Quite intelligent and I have nothing to add lest I sound like an uneducated boor. [name drop] Plus I know the guy who wrote it, and he's a smart fella. [/name drop]

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