Monday, September 17, 2007

Quote of the (Yester)day

As so often is the case, my quote of the day comes from quite some time ago. This one comes from a Chinese Newspaper (one year prior to the communist takeover) commenting on the application of segregationist law in Alabama:
We cannot help having some impressions of the United States which actually already leads half the world and which would like to continue to lead it. If the United States merely wants to 'dominate' the world, the atomic bomb and the U.S. dollar will be sufficient to achieve this purpose. However, the world cannot be 'dominated' for a long period of time. If the United States wants to 'lead' the world, it must have a kind of moral superiority in addition to military superiority.

Ta Kung Pao (Shanghai), May 1948 (quoted in Mary Dudziak, Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy (Princeton: Princeton UP 2000), 32).

Dudziak's book, incidentally, is quite good and a must-read for anyone who wants an accessible history for the way the moral atrocities of Jim Crow impacted America's crucial Cold War image as a beacon of democracy and hope.

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