Organizing Asia: Politics, Trade, and the New Multilateralism in Global Forecast: the Top Security Challenges of 2008
November 14, 2007
Asian multilateral meetings often appear long on symbolism and short on substance. The 21-nation Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) is known for its photo-ops, with leaders like Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Hu Jintao being forced to pose in the costume shirt of the hosting nation (who could forget the purple silk mandarin jacket the president had to wear at Shanghai in 2003). The larger ASEAN Regional Forum, or ARF, is known for the skits performed by foreign ministers on closing night. Colin Powell once put on Western garb and sang “I Am a Lonesome Cowboy” to the Japanese foreign minister, and Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick did an Asian rearrangement of the Village People song “Y.M.C.A.” Condoleeza Rice was considerably more dignified, playing classical piano for her less-talented counterparts from places like Russia, China, Japan, and North Korea.
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