America Through the Spectacles of an Oriental Diplomat - Wu Tingfang - Страница 1 из 223


America
Through the Spectacles of an Oriental Diplomat
[Note on text: Italicized sections are capitalized. A few obvious
errors have been corrected. Some footnotes have been added, and are
clearly marked.]
Introduction:
While this book is by no means famous, it is a remarkable chance to
look at America of 1914 through the eyes of an outsider. Wu Tingfang
shows evidence of having thought through many issues of relevance to
the United States, and while some of his thoughts are rather odd--such
as his suggestion that the title of President be replaced by the title
of Emperor; and others are unfortunately wrong--such as his hopes for
peace, written on the eve of the First World War; they are all
well-considered and sometimes show remarkable insight into American
culture.
Even so, it should be remarked that he makes some errors, including
some misunderstandings of American and Western ideas and an
idealization of Chinese culture, and humanity in general, in some
points--while I do not wish to refute his claims about China, I would
simply point out that many of the things he praises have been seen
differently by many outside observers, just as Wu Tingfang sometimes
looks critically at things in America which he does not fully
understand (and, unfortunately, he is sometimes all too correct)--in
all these cases (on both sides) some leeway must be given to account
for mutual misunderstandings. Still, his observations allow us to see
ourselves as others see us--and regardless of accuracy those


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