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Nixon and Pandas

This week, I read the Pandas article. I know that it is a little short, but I figured that I simply HAD to know about it. Clearly from these articles, we have established a relationship with China because it benefits us both economically. However, we have not become one of their closest friends because they won’t let lots of their most precious national symbol come to our country.

The main article said that no more western incursions would be made into Indochina. Given that this promise was made during the Vietnam War, whose purpose was to stop the spread of Communism in that same geographical area, it is clearly an empty promise meant to reassure Mao Zedong and his fellow Communist party members, who were still leery of imperialism. After all, this speech was made only about a quarter of a century after Japan’s attempts to take over China and since India’s and Burma’s revolutions to overthrow British rule. Also, this was just about fifteen or twenty years after the Chinese gave emotional support to the American Civil Rights movement, who were also trying to throw off the classist imperialist system.

One does also have to wonder why exactly Nixon mentioned several American customs, like freedom of the press. One would certainly think that the Communist leaders would already have known those things. Thus, one assumes that this reiteration of them was partially to emphasize American culture and what he perceived to be its strengths.

I’d say that American zoos should try using modern reproduction methods to gain more pandas. For example, instead of trying to get one from China, they could try using in vitro fertilization. As a matter of fact, they could try putting the embryos into not just a female panda, but also a more common bear, like a black bear or grizzly bear. Such techniques have been used successfully in terms of cloning and trying to bring back species who literally only have a handful of grown females remaining. The host species just has to be physically similar, not the same. And although I know that financing is tight, one does have to wonder just how the New York City mayor thinks that he can possibly have something resembling a complete zoo without pandas. After all, they are literally the symbol of China, a very ancient and strong country. It’s like having a zoo without giraffes and zebras (to represent Africa), camels (to represent the Middle East), penguins (to represent the mistaken view that they all come from Antarctica), or gorillas and chimpanzees (to represent our closest genetic neighbors.)

Image courtesy of: Google Images

Information courtesy of:

Richard Nixon and Zhou Enlai, “Toasts at a Banquet Honoring the Premier“, February 25, 1972.

Richard Nixon: Speeches, Writings, Documents. Edited by Rick Perlstein. James Madison Library in American Politics. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010.

Cunningham, Maura Elizabeth. “Panda-monium at the Bronx Zoo: A History“. Mauracunningham.org. February 8, 2018.

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