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The Discrete Charm of Being President George Bush : Opinions from newspapers and magazines around the Pacific Rim.

January 06, 1991

JAPAN — "I envy American presidents. They can look forward to spending a month at Camp David."

--Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu talking about his year-end vacation plans

"A survey conducted at Ibaraki University showed that even in the English Department, only 10% of the students interviewed knew anything about the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr."

--A Japanese professor, in the Asahi Shimbun, explaining why the Japanese are ignorant and apathetic about the problems of ethnic minorities


"It is unseemingly arrogant (for America) to continue treating the world's 13th largest trading nation as a 'satellite' nation."

--China News editorial on U.S. threat to punish the Taiwan government for its monopoly over liquor sales "I think President Bush should have attacked the Iraqis right away, then we wouldn't be in this quandary. He should have acted as Maggie Thatcher did in the Falklands. Dragging it on is detrimental to the Americans and Iraqis and to the rest of the world."

--Nancy Chiang, vice chairman, Kingvic International Development and Investment Co. "The Americans have their own interests in the Middle East, so why can't the Iraqis? The Americans are fighting for their interests, not for justice."

-- Hou Dejian, pro-democracy activist and musician "The United States is walking in the right direction. War would be a catastrophe, and no one knows what the effect would be on the oil fields."

--Paul Lee, Taiwan TV News anchorman "The Republic of China's new law requiring AIDS testing of 'all foreigners' . . . should be repealed . . . . It is bad public policy, because it makes official government policy the idea that AIDS is a foreign problem brought to Taiwan by foreigners. Endorsement of that notion subjects the obvious foreigner to resentment and suspicion from the people of the island."

Letter, by Tom Hodges, to the China News


"If Iraq does not pull out of Kuwait by the middle of January and war comes, there is only one thing to be said: It is sometimes necessary to go to war to preserve . . . not physical peace but the moral basis of peace, without which the world will slip into unholy anarchy."

--The Straits Times "The West can no longer lecture. It has to pause, listen and learn from the East."

--Brig. Gen. George Yeo, acting minister for information and the arts


"To look at Bangkok during the Christmas and New Year holidays, you wouldn't think that Thailand's Christian population is less than 1%."

--A columnist for the Nation "The Japanese spirit is turning American. The spirit of the Toyko people is extremely dry, similar to the American spirit."

--Masanobu Fukuoka, pioneer of "natural farming," quoted in the Bangkok Post "Where the environment is concerned, many good things happened in 1990. The celebration of the 20th anniversary of Earth Day in the United States helped increase environmental awareness throughout the world, including Thailand."

--Bangkok Post columnist


"Embarrassed by budgetary and trade deficits, the United States finds it difficult to use monetary and financial policies to stimulate the economy. If oil prices skyrocket because of short supply this winter and spring, inflation will intensify, individual consumption, enterprise investment and exports will be curbed and economic growth will stagnate, causing an economic decline."

--The Beijing Review "U.S. coal production was 10.8 times bigger than China's, but now we have surpassed the United States as the world's No. 1 producer, which, one must say, is a success."

--People's Daily "There are many reasons why U.S. banks are facing difficulties. The biggest . . . is that banks gave out too many loans to real-estate businessmen in the '80s . . . . Now that the real-estate business is in a state of recession, many businessmen are unable to pay their debts."

--People's Daily

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