Six Term Iowa Governor Terry Branstad [R] Appointed U.S. Ambassador to China.
Branstad is considered a longtime friend of China. He is a great choice. Yet, Trump has somewhat confused Americans about his diversity of proclivities concerning his cabinet choices.
On one hand, he appoints an old time insider, Elaine Choa [born In Taiwan], former Secretary of Labor, to the exalted role of Secretary of Transportation.Despite her innate talents, Ms. Choa is also married to the US Senate Majority Leader, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Such a marital union could serve as an effective conduit for the passage of massive infrastructure legislation/ budget allocations.
From my POV, Trump’s most impressive appointment so far is that ‘old friend of China’, Iowa Governor, Terry Branstad [R], to become our new ambassador to China at a time when our relations are somewhat turbulent. For Chinese, the designation ‘old friend’ connotes a person who has been involved for many years with the Chinese people at every level of commerce or cultural exchanges.
Let me quote from Binyamin Appelbaum’s N Y Times article, Dec.7, 2016:
“Terry Branstad, the Iowa governor who has long embraced China as a market for his state’s pork and soybean….”
“It’s a good pick because he [Terry] knows President Xi, he can represent the heartland of the USA… and the fact that President Xi has been in his state twice is very positive thing…It creates a personal relationship that is very hard to replace.” [Robert Hormats, Vice Pres. Kissinger Assoc.].
The Chinese word for personal relations is ‘quanxi’ pronounced ‘guanchi’. It means that there is a relationship between two people which transcends the boundaries of a formal commercial/introductory relationship. In Terry, Trump picked an ex-US Army Military Police who had first met a 31 year old official from rural Hebei Province, name Mr. Xi and then befriended him.
“Mr. Xi has fondly recalled his time in Iowa. He stayed in Muscatine, a small city in eastern part of the state, where he was hosted by a couple and slept in their boy’s vacated bedroom, filled with “Star Trek” action figures…
“You can’t imagine what a deep impression I[Xi] had from my visit 27 years ago to Muscatine, because you [Iowans] were the first group of Americans that I came into contact with… For me you [Iowans] are America.”
When I said that all of politics is about people and their feelings, I wasn’t kidding.Trump and his prescient transition team really scored a major success with this mild mannered, softspoken Iowan Governor, Terry Branstad.
I would like to end this blog with a Chinese proverb:
kai tian pi di [pronounced key tien pee dee]
Literal meaning: open heaven break the earth.
Idiomatic meaning: advance by leaps and bounds; take giant strides; make superhuman effort.
Congratulations to Trump and his team for this excellent choice!