There I sat at a round table in Beijing’s Great Wall Hotel dining room some 21 years ago, with a vice chairman of the People’s Insurance Company of China on one side and an attractive young lady, who was AIG’s Beijing Branch Manager, on the other, trying to eat an abalone with chopsticks. My wife sat scowling at her own gastronomic delights, while I wondered just how foolish we looked to these sophisticated people (to whom I was just another bumbling American businessman, traveling with his wife).

As uncomfortable as I was in that strange land where I knew neither the customs nor spoke the language, imagine how uncomfortable foreigners and immigrants in America must feel when they encounter our systems of doing business. Of all the places in the world, America has the greatest diversity of customs and nationalities, and that is what makes it the great nation it is. I tend to cringe when I hear immigrants being bashed by Americans who ought to know better. “Why don’t they just go back to where they came from?” they complain.

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