In a new cold war, if the US wants to inspire leadership, it is going to have to justify things like the Connecticut primary school massacre to itself and the world. Comparisons are already being made to a recent spate of knife attacks in China. Expect more of these kinds of comparisons of national tragedies, causes and reactions.
Commentators in the US and elsewhere will hold up the tragedy in Henan and use it to say “See, these attacks happen everywhere”, and indeed, the potential for massacres, attacks, and rampages of the sort that happened in Henan and Newtown is inherent in every society. But societies which allow their citizens easy access to firearms, of any type, are placing their citizens at a far higher risk of death and injury than those that do not.
But there are other examples of this comparing disasters and responses.
The Telegraph compares the Chinese response to the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan to the efforts of the Bush Administration during Hurricane Katrina.
Compare the professionalism of the operation with the way the United States, the world’s other superpower, responded to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which killed fewer than 1,000 people but fatally wounded President George W. Bush’s reputation for administrative competence.