Mel Gibson and China
With whom would you be more comfortable – Mel Gibson or someone who is always politically correct, appears to care about others and claims that some of his best friends are…?
I would prefer Mel. At least, with Mr. Gibson I would know unequivocally where I stand and what he thinks of me and my people. With the other person, I might never know what he really thinks and whether I could trust him. Even though I might despise everything Mel Gibson stands for, I would be more comfortable and uninhibited in dealing with him. He is transparent and unambiguous. The other person, hiding behind the mask of political correctness, is opaque and ambiguous.
Consider another comparison: If you are a shareholder of a company, would you prefer a CEO, like Gordon Gekko in Wall Street, who claims without hesitation that he has only one goal, namely, to make as money as possible and create as much value as possible? Or would you prefer a CEO who rambles on about corporate social responsibility, ethics, sustainability and other mushy ideas, yet never once claims that he wants to maximize profits or the value of the company?
I would prefer the Gekko-type CEO, for there is only one goal, and it is to make money. Of Course, the CEO would have to take into account the reputation of the company, and the possibility that some actions might so tarnish the reputation that the company’s value could decline substantially (e.g. BP).
Or in the realm of international relations and politics: whom can the U.S. trust more – North Korea with its fanatical leader, or Pakistan with its multi-headed and unstable leadership? There is one exception and it is a big exception – is Kim Jong-Il so mentally unbalanced that he might push the nuclear trigger. In the case of Pakistan, it has become clear that the U.S. cannot trust the leadership.
One final example: is it easier for the U.S. to deal with Chavez and Venezuela, or with China? Again, the answer should be obvious. Chavez is not an ally and never will be. But there is little doubt where he stands on most issues. He is “scrutable”. On the other hand, the same cannot be said about China. The country and its leadership are “inscrutable”.
Transparency always should trump opaqueness and ambiguity. Political correctness unfortunately has muddied the waters.
I know what Mel thinks about me. I do not know what China thinks about me, although I can guess. Life is simpler dealing with Mel.
The opinions expressed in this blog are personal and do not reflect the views of either Global Brief or the Glendon School of Public and International Affairs.