Was it something he said?

The Chinese government found a new way to express its contempt for Barack Obama and the United States yesterday. The authorities snubbed Obama upon his arrival in Hangzhou before the start of the G20 conference. According to the Guardian: “[Obama] was forced to disembark from Air Force One through a little-used exit in the plane’s belly after no rolling staircase was provided when he landed in the eastern Chinese city on Saturday afternoon.”

And that’s not all! “When Obama did find his way on to a red carpet on the tarmac below there were heated altercations between US and Chinese officials, with one Chinese official caught on video shouting: ‘This is our country! This is our airport!’” I think that’s what Secretary of State John Kerry calls nineteenth-century thinking.

The Guardian quotes the New York Times report: “The reception that President Obama and his staff got when they arrived here Saturday afternoon was bruising, even by Chinese standards.”

Was it something he said? The Guardian considers the possibilities, including the possibility that Obama declined the standard red carpet treatment. I think we can rule that out. The execrable Susan Rice didn’t have a face-saving explanation ready to offer. Rice commented: “They did things that weren’t anticipated.”

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