We Realize You Have a Choice of Carriers, Mr. Hu

By James Fallows

By Jorge and Paola Guajardo

If there is an image from Hu Jintao's U.S. visit that spoke to me more than any other, it's this one:

Hu arrival.jpg

At a time when China is making a lot of Americans nervous, what could be less threatening than its leader arriving in a Boeing-747, made in Seattle and bearing the Star Alliance logo?  In the bad old days of U.S.-Soviet summits, it was a zero-sum game, and imagery was everything.  Soviet premiers arrived in a Tupolev plane and were whisked away in Russian-made Zil limousines.  It was the era of the kitchen debate, as each side tried to show the other that its people, its ways and its products were superior.  Fast forward to President Hu on his jumbo jet.  It appears that, in this case, the aircraft is the message.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/01/we-realize-you-have-a-choice-of-carriers-mr-hu/70039/