Deng Xiaoping did not have much time for small talk, at least not with outsiders. He was an old man in a hurry; he saw visitors, but only if they could advance the central goal of his life--to make China great again. In the many hours of talks I attended with him, he expressed little personal interest in his foreign visitors except for their technology, which he wanted immediately. Once I brought some books for his beloved grandchildren. Without looking at them, he handed them to an aide and started lecturing me about the need for Washington to lift all export...

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