April 28, 2012

A New Down

After promising not to "spike the football" by "trot[ting] out this stuff [bin Laden's killing] as trophies" President Obama's re-election campaign is now spiking the football. Fair enough, I say. But the "game" of leader-of-the-free-world isn't over. China's fear-society now offers "quarterback" Obama a chance to score another touchdown.

"You must see to the bottom of this," the activist said. "Even though I am free, my family ... are still in their grasp. While I was there, they were repeatedly harmed. Now that I'm gone, I can only imagine how it has blown up."

Chen's rescue appears to have been timed to coincide with U.S.-China discussions on human rights this week. His case has attracted global attention.

It was easy enough for the President to say "yes" when his defense secretary told him, "We have found Osama bin Laden and planned an operation to capture or kill him. May we proceed?" Let's see if he has the loins to tell China, "Protect your citizens from their government."

China Obama Administration Posted by JohnGalt at April 28, 2012 4:18 PM

Big topic.

I am of course appalled at the human rights abuses of China. But I do not wish for the United States -- certainly under this Commander-in-Chief to play world police here.

Perhaps the President could welcome the Dalai Lama against China's objections or refuse to visit certain places there. I could appreciate a statement of sorts.

Yet, I believe ultimately in the liberating power of trade and economic freedom. We're not going to do regime change on our bankers and best customers. Let's let trade work its magic.

Posted by: jk at April 29, 2012 12:04 PM

Regime change is not called for, just an "I disagree" from the President of the United States. A "Tear down this wall" sort of statement, in the spirit of the "power of the solidarity of the free world." Think we'll see it from President Obama? Me neither.

Thanks for weighing in. The topic is discussion worthy.

Posted by: johngalt at April 29, 2012 2:12 PM

And it can't just be ignored - the dissident, Chen Guangcheng, is a refugee on U.S. soil ... our embassy in Beijing.

Assuming it has Chen, it is inconceivable that the United States would turn him over to the Chinese authorities against his wishes, said current and former U.S. officials.
Posted by: johngalt at April 29, 2012 7:47 PM

And a dozen years ago, I had thought it inconceivable that the United States would turn Elian Gonzalez over to Cuba - much less take possession of him at gunpoint. If those "current and former U.S. officials" mentioned include either Janet Reno or the current Secretary of State (who, not to rub it in or anything, happens to be married to the former President who oversaw that fiasco), it's very conceivable, and not even Vizzini would call it otherwise.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 30, 2012 12:46 AM

Two things.

One: All hail Brother Keith, the undisputed King of the allusion! I am unfit to handle your backup tapes, my friend.

Two: jk will be travelling for fun this week and needs to rethink his position; I clearly underestimated where we are. I meant every word I typed but need to contextualize this is in the Walter Russel Mead view.

Last fall, the Obama administration pulled off a diplomatic revolution in maritime Asia -- the coastal and trading states on and around the Asian mainland that stretch in an arc from Korea and Japan, down to Australia and Indonesia, and sweep around through southeast Asia to India and Sri Lanka. Via Meadia has been following this story closely; it is the biggest geopolitical event since 9/11 and, while it builds on a set of US policies that go back at least as far as the Clinton administration and were further developed in the Bush years, the administration's mix of policies represent a decisive turning point in 21st century Asian history.

Posted by: jk at April 30, 2012 10:01 AM | What do you think? [5]