Communist China is destined for the ash heap of history because they are not a country of virtues.
Republican Presidential hopeful Rick Perry.
For those unfamiliar with the expression "The pot calling the kettle black", it is an idiom used to accuse a person of being guilty of the very thing of which they accuse another.
I have been accused of anti-American sentiment in these columns before which, happily, American friends willingly deny on my behalf, but I have never (yet) been accused of being totally stupid. (And I am equally critical of other nations too, when warranted).
But I just wonder what Mr Perry had in mind by referring to China lacking virtue, and which country was he using as a benchmark - the USA? Does he really believe that the "American example" is the one that everyone else should follow? Does he seriously believe that the country that brought us the origins of the latest global financial crisis (not being well handled by European political leaders, in my view) is one whose greed is to be admired? There are surely, if one but reads or listens to the news, cases of rights abuses, fraud, shootings, and many other defects in the USA - in some cases many more than elsewhere.
Or is this "merely" electioneering rhetoric, not to be taken seriously? Let's face it "Destined for the ash heap of history" is pretty strong, but I don't think the Chinese leadership are going to be quaking in their shoes at Mr Perry's pronouncement.
I suspect, instead, that China is more inclined to the Kissinger view of US influence in China, when he said words to the effect "China managed to get through 5,000 years of history without significant advice from the United States. That is why they do not take as self evident that their domestic affairs should be prescribed by the United States." I have seen this written in a variety of ways, all attributed to Mr. Kissinger, but all say the same thing.
Don't get me wrong. I am not defending China from the comment made about virtue. Is China a country of virtues? Of course it's not, but I believe that it is making progress, which is slow at times, and it is determined to do more. But with a population four times the size of the USA it is going to inevitably be a long process. The USA has been trying to "get it right" since 1776; China, only really from it's re-entry into the modern world in the late 1970s. It is far from ideal - particularly from a Western perspective - and anyway frankly, is there a country anywhere that could truly describe itself as virtuous? Which one is the role model? Mr Mugabe's Zimbabwe doesn't seem to be criticised much these days - but then I suppose it is too insignificant to be considered a threat to America.
And why the China bashing anyway, are you really that scared of China's return to influence? Its return, if you like, to the prominent position it once held globally and long before a young America came onto the scene.
Actually, I wouldn't worry too much about it. China, along with much of the rest of Asia is much more likely to link up with South America, Australasia, Africa and the Middle East over the next century or two and will leave the USA and Europe to go and figure out the future for themselves.
It does worry me though that in this world of ours we are becoming increasingly nationalistic and protectionist. Although I do understand that when we have the sort of levels of debt and unemployment we are facing today, particularly in the West, that this is perhaps a natural reaction. But when you add inflammatory comments to the equation from politicians who, frankly, should know better - in the long run it will come back and bite us.
Oh, and by the way, isn't this the same Mr. Perry who just been accused of hypocrisy for an investment in America's largest pornography distributor? The pot calling the kettle black - perhaps?