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Munk Debates: The Clues Are in the Shoes!

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Another chapter in what is now regarded as a national institution was written Friday night when Henry Kissinger and Fareed Zakaria of CNN fame took on Niall Ferguson, a well known business writer, and David Li, a Chinese bureaucrat, on the topic: the 21st century will belong to China.

The audience was treated to all that good stuff of which great debates are made -- knowledgable speakers, strong personalities, hot facts, humour, some personal shots -- all great.The pre-debate count was 39 per cent pro, 40 per cent con, with 21 per cent undecided.

After the game, the pro was 38 per cent and the con climbed to 62! Clearly Kissinger and Zakaria won the night, but the truth of the evening was that many are afraid that the 21st century might see a China dominating the world, and Li knew that, which is why he tried to soften the blow by claiming that the modern Chinese government is really Confucian -- peace-loving and mild.

Both Ferguson and Li argued that China will dominate (but don't worry) while Kissinger spoke of cooperation.

But enough of the debate -- tens of thousands saw it or heard it and if you missed it, catch it on

On to the important matter -- the SHOES... they tell it all!

Kissinger wore classic Oxfords -- well-polished, thick soles and SOLID.

Fareed had brand-new traditional black business shoes -- the soles were untouched! Now there's a man who takes his performance on the boards seriously.

David Li sported what served him well-reasonable black leathers.But it was Ferguson who let his side down -- hard to imagine an Englishman transplanted to Harvard with rather shabby, thin-soled shoes -- not a spit of polish on them! What's next -- fisticuffs at Ascot! Good grief!

Rudyard Griffiths simply shone as moderator, showing just the correct amount of deference to Kissinger, and thoughtfully and skillfully guiding the thoughts from one speaker to the next. Kissinger looked remarkably hale and hearty -- much like Canada's Senator David Smith in appearance and demeanor, exhibiting self-deprecating humour and thoroughly enjoying himself!

Hats off to Peter Munk! A great Canadian institution has been created.

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