Persistence

From the first of my posts in this blog I have tried to make the point that the big, complex issues we face with China are not amenable to a quick fix.  We need to pursue such issues aggressively, but with realism about what we can expect to achieve and what we can’t and in what kind of timeframe.

Just finished listening to President Obama’s press conference this evening.  His closing set of remarks on the need for “persistence” struck a chord with me.  Here, excerpted, is what he said:

“…if you are persistent, then — then these problems can be dealt with. That whole philosophy of persistence, by the way, is one that I’m going to be emphasizing again and again in the months and years to come as long as I’m in this office. I’m a big believer in persistence… And we are going to stay with it as long as I’m in this office, and I think that — you look back four years from now, I think, hopefully, people will judge that body of work and say, “This is a big ocean liner. It’s not a speedboat. It doesn’t turn around immediately. But we’re in a better — better place because of the decisions that we made.”

Obama was referring to the broad set of challenges he is dealing with domestically and in foreign affairs.  He did not mention China in this context.  However, if we are “the big ocean liner” then surely China is the huge super tanker with an even larger turning radius and slower speed.  Persistence over the long haul may indeed be the single most important quality needed in our China policy.

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