Image credit: Gage Skidmore.
Jon Huntsman, who was appointed Ambassador to China by US President Barack Obama but quit the position in order to lose the Republican primaries to Mitt Romney, now isn’t allowed back into the country after Chinese officials allegedly blocked his visa.
Huntsman was seen by many centrists and leftists as the least bad Republican candidate for President, in that he believed in evolution and man-made climate change, and didn’t pander to the far-right Tea Party base. However, that lack of pandering cost him the nomination, as the Republican primaries saw all candidates either lurch dramatically to the right or be forced to drop-out.
Huntsman spoke to Foreign Policy magazine about China, losing the primaries, and the upcoming US Election. On not being allowed into China:
I was supposed to be there a month ago giving a speech, but they canceled my visa. Why? Because I talk too much about human rights and American values, and they know that. And at a time of leadership realignment, the biggest deal in 10 years for them, they didn’t want the former U.S. ambassador saying stuff that might create a narrative that they would have to fight. I understand that. But when the transition is done, the crazy American ambassador will be let back in, and I can say whatever I want. As they used to tell me when I was over there was “Women zhongguo ye you zhengzhi“—“We have politics too in China.”
On whether his China ties and “intelligence” hurt his chances in the primaries:
I was an imperfect messenger, so I only have myself to blame. But here’s the context. You’re coming out of the most compartmented, sensitive, confined relationship probably in the U.S. government, where a lot of your work is being done behind closed doors. A lot of it is stuff that no one will ever read about, and then you jump on to what is probably the most public stage in the world: that of running for the president of the United States. So the mental gymnastics that go from one job to the other — it takes a little bit of settling in.
Read the entire interview.
Update #1: Hunstman’s staff have issued the following correction to the FP story: “The governor’s invitation to speak, not his visa, was rescinded for political reasons. The governor misspoke in the interview, citing a canceled visa when he meant to say cancelled invitation.”
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