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   Rarely in the history of First Ladies has an occupant made a more impactful and timely visit to a counterpart nation, in time of strategic challenge. Dolly Madison Eleanor Roosevelt and Jacqueline Kennedy charming Europe at the height of Cold War and the crisis in Berlin come to mind   And now in our times, the most important of all? We have First Lady Michelle Obama in China.  
     in a pleasant contrast to the current regional tension in Western Eurasia The First Ladies of The United States and China are giving beautiful and strategic witness to a promised future of world peace, mutual prosperity and shared cultural respect.  
      The importance of the visit to the host was caught in the surprise appearance of China’s President, Xi Jinping along with First Lady Peng Liyuan  standing together to greet America's First Family Mrs. Obama, her daughters Sasha, Malia and First Mother in Law Marianne Robinson.

. The trip to China comes days before U.S. President Barack Obama is scheduled to begin bilateral talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping in the Hague on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit next week.
Xi greeted the first lady Friday evening and said he was looking forward to seeing her husband in the Netherlands.
"I cherish my sound working relationship and personal friendship I already established with your husband," Xi told Obama through a translator.

   The First Ladies  Michelle Obama and Peng Liyuan, poised and glamorous ground breaking and influential are showing why they at the top of the world stage. In the age of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth ll, they are fulfilling an unspoken but real promise of her starry reign; women coming into their own in a far better and more capable world.  Indeed Soft diplomacy, was on the lips of a billion Chinese and as many more looking on around the world through a largely favorable global press. Most looking for such a high level visit to their country.  
    The value of this type of cultural exchange in breaking down barriers for business, trade, popular rights and the free flow of ideas, is golden.   These Lady's emphasis on our joint human heritage and our growing Common Wealth is priceless and the potential endless as the human imagination.

    It is long past time for women to take the stage and show what they do to lead and inspire. The question famously asked  How many divisions does The Pope command? Can also be applied to these two spectacular First Ladies at a time of challenge to a prosperous and peaceful International System. Influencing men of power to be their better selves is essential to move the world forward.          
     One has to wonder where is Russia’s First Lady. Her guy is riding around 'half bare' on a horse in a regional hot house of largely his own creation. Abusing smaller neighbors drawing isolation and rebuke.  Could she actually fit in with these icons of style smarts and purpose. Will Mr. Putin find and give her a chance.      
     It should be noted  Great Nations spare no expense in putting their best foot forward with their global counterparts.

CHENGDU, China — Michelle Obama’s weeklong trip to China seemed to start as a spring break holiday with her mother and daughters but has turned out to include far more substance — and politics — than the cheerful advocate of fitness and healthful eating often displays at home.

At a high school here on Tuesday, Mrs. Obama pointedly told students that the United States championed “the right to say what we think and worship as we choose,” even as she conceded that Americans still lived those ideals imperfectly and that minorities had struggled to overcome a legacy of discrimination....

...her remarks have been less thunderous than the call for women’s rights delivered by Hillary Rodham Clinton as first lady in Beijing in 1995...  Although the speech transformed Mrs. Clinton’s image overseas, it is remembered sourly to this day by some Chinese officials.... Mrs. Obama has been more intimate in bringing her own personal story to China. On Tuesday, for example, she told students about her uphill journey from the South Side of Chicago to Princeton and Harvard Law School, both coveted destinations for the children of China’s elite...  In 2008, Laura Bush, then on her way as first lady to the Olympic Games in Beijing, visited a refugee camp in Thailand for Burmese citizens fleeing their repressive government, which was backed by the Chinese government. Beijing condemned the trip.

China is investing billions all over the world. Yet The US still represents the ideal. But China's is learning fast the modern power of culture and class.  It's First Lady is favorably compared to our own Michelle Obama to great national pride and delight, in her country of 1.3 billion people and the Asian region. They understand the power of culture family and respect embodied in Mrs. Michelle Obama and want the similar for their own
     Indeed with First Lady Michelle and President Barack Obama at the helm, The United States of America  has effortlessly risen, once again, 'in a new global game' to the summit of leadership. In a Multi-polar world? Team Obama has put The USA back in the saddle for real. Despite the difficulties, caused during the early Bush Years. - Where a promising Presidency was virtually ‘hi-jacked’ by a VP imbued with the same type of 'small ball' penny wise pound foolish 'regional' thinking we see playing out in the Ukraine.  Sadly, one can still hear the shrill echoes today the mean mentality that landed the USA into Iraq and Afghanistan - We should all know, Trying to 'force' ways on people? Does not work.  Here or abroad. In an blossoming world driven by modernization it’s opportunities and new appreciations for once distance global cultures?  People are leveling and can see it all. like never before in human history; judge for themselves what is real and desirable. Winning hearts and minds is the real goal. 'Why not the best.'
  Today the First Ladies of China and the United States are showing the way to the better future.

    As for the regional situation counter-pointing this wonderful visit by The First Lady of The United States.  The NATO allies really don’t have to do much, beyond ratcheting sanctions and moving to systematically reduce the need for resources, from the current aggressor nation. The alliance has global reach and power to globally defend itself and contain regional threats, through a variety of means, including the timely 'soft diplomacy' now on display. Which, has helped China politely distance itself from past entanglements and more easily align with the international system and its expectations of conduct.    
     The Ukrainian and Russian people, their business interest and shared community will soon handle Mr. Putin should he stay on an aggressive course. The Berlin Wall fell and the Iron Curtain was raised for real reasons. It is a good bet, Global culture and shared values, the internal dynamic of people to lead better lives, filled with abundant health wealth and security as they find happiness will again beat out the Cold War mentality to move us forward.

    The Russian President might do well to find and listen his own First Lady and start acting like a gentleman in dealing with his neighbors and seeking redress for alleged grievances within the international system of sovereign nation states. As it stands the Russian people deserve better.    

And like a silver clarion rung, The accents of that unknown tongue.

Originally posted to empireport on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 12:09 AM PDT.

Also republished by Way of Dragon.

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