China’s Tarmac Diplomacy

Did you know that our government had such a thing as a “Twitter operative?”

However, a Twitter operative of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) – a secretive spy unit within the defence department that advises on intentions and capabilities of foreign nations and entities – appears to have made things worse, the Wall St Journal reported.

The “Classy as always China” tweet linked through to a New York Times article on the protocol incident, it said.

The DIA felt compelled to issue a speedy apology, saying the posting did “not represent the views of the DIA. We apologize.”

Here’s what it was about:

When President Barack Obama arrived in Hangzhou there was no red carpet and he had to leave by a different plane exit.

There was also a row on the tarmac when a Chinese official shouted “This is our country!” as reporters and US officials tried to bypass a cordon.

[…]

More tensions between the two sides broke out at the West Lake State House, where Mr Obama met President Xi Jinping.

White House aides, protocol officers and Secret Service agents became embroiled in a row with Chinese officials as to how many Americans should be allowed into the building before Mr Obama’s arrival. At one point there were fears the confrontation could become physical, the New York Times reported.

The Chinese have done stuff like this since the emperors elaborately staged diplomatic visits right on to Mao’s legendary use of time and space to manipulate visits from foreign dignitaries. They do it to influence and control the visits themselves as well as for use in internal propaganda. And here they have done it again at the expense of our President. Don’t think for a minute that this wasn’t an intentional slight on the part of the Chinese government.

Unfortunately, Obama has brought this upon himself. His willingness to endure any slight from a foreign government – particularly one hostile to America – ┬áin the name of “diplomacy” invites such treatment. But that doesn’t make it any less infuriating. As an American, it angers me to see my president treated this way. I wish he had just sat in his office on Air Force One until the Chinese treated him as a President of the United States should be treated.