U.S. ambassadors represent the president’s interests in a foreign country, so cultural empathy is essential to the job.
This will not be a problem for Terry Branstad as his actions will serve to provide him with insight into the Chinese people. The governments of Iowa, the United States and China have become similar in their approaches to running government: utilizing budgetary swordsmanship to slash funds to programs they don’t like, treating laborers and public workers as expendable and voiceless serfs, slighting those who require assistance due to uncontrollable factors, such as mental capacity, health, age and income.
Branstad will appreciate how Chinese workers’ rights are ignored, threatened and denied. He has the experience to connect to a government that shows little respect for the people whose backs the economy is built on.
He can relate to the “lack of trained mental health professionals, poor access to mental health services, low investment, and high levels of stigma prevent individuals from accessing treatment” (www.theguardian.com) that exists in China.
He will be capable of illustrating how the Republican plan for health care works here — benefiting insurance and drug companies and placing health care out-of-reach for those who need it the most. The Chinese system is similar to the one that the Republicans are pushing on us: the wealthy have more than they need, the poor have none and those who have been stricken with disease pay for it all.
Hope you enjoy your work in China, Gov. Branstad. Looks like you will fit in just fine!