Author Archive

Patrick Mendis

Professor Patrick Mendis, a former commissioner of the United States National Commission for UNESCO at the State Department and a Rajawali senior fellow of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, is a distinguished professor of Sino-American relations at the Yenching Academy of Peking University in Beijing, China. This article is partially drawn from his most recent book, Peaceful War: How the Chinese Dream and American Destiny Create a Pacific New World Order. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not represent the organizations he has been affiliated in the past or present.

The iconic statue of the first American postmaster general Benjamin Franklin greets visitors to the Old Post Office Pavilion in the heart of the US capital: Washington, DC. The edifice is now home to the luxurious and controversial Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue at the mid-point between the US Capitol Building and the White House. The hotel webpage invites guests to “share tea” in the Benjamin Bar to discuss “social and economic affairs” as it was the “‘established custom’” in colonial America. It further states that “we agree with Franklin” and delight to “serve tea from China.” The page indicates that Franklin had stated “‘at least a million Americans drink tea twice a day,’” Yet, he was “unable to …