The U S Must Act Cautiously In Chen Affair!
Chen Chuangcheng, Chinese Dissident
Romney’s China Position endangers National Security
In the midst very important negotiations on matters critical to the national security of the United States, matters of such gravitas both the Secretaries of State and the Treasury travelled to Peking, the US government has become embroiled in a major domestic conflict in China that could have proven disastrous.
Chinese activist, Chen Guangcheng, who opposes the forced sterilizations and abortions which result from violations of the Chinese government’s population control policy, escaped the house arrest he had endured since 2005 and showed up at the American embassy seeking asylum. Given the horrific nature of the issues, and that Mr. Chen is a lawyer who is also blind, makes him irresistibly heroic to Americans who fancy themselves “Defenders of freedom.”
This serendipitous event has placed the Obama Administration in a precarious situation. President Obama must turn a deaf ear to howls from the righteously outraged and political opportunist on the home front imploring him to take a firm hand with the evil Chinese government.
In order to avoid a serious rupture in US/Chinese relations the highest level of diplomacy must be employed. This is work for the surgeon’s scalpel not the butcher’s cleaver; artful language not belligerence is what the present situation requires. The public pronouncements of Mitt Romney demonstrate why he would be a catastrophe for the nation if he is elected President.
If we take him at his word, under a Romney presidency we would be fighting with everybody everywhere all the time, and our relations with China would be on the road to open hostility. A few wrong moves and we could find ourselves suffering the worse relationship with China since the Cold War. Not a good idea to have such an antagonistic relationship with your banker.
But as the Obama Administration scrambles to find a viable way out of this mess that does not antagonize the Chinese government, Mitt had this to say: “We’ve heard some disturbing things from across the world that suggest that, potentially, if the reports are true, some very troubling developments there. If these reports are true, this is a dark day for freedom and it’s a day of shame for the Obama administration.”
It is hard to imagine a more irresponsible statement from a person who wants to be taken seriously as a candidate for the presidency. The guy obviously has no concept of diplomacy, the national interest, or the importance of the US relationship with China. For instance in an interview with Robert Siegel of National Public Radio, James Sasser, who was US Ambassador to China from 1995-1999, was asked what he would have done if a Chinese dissident had shown up at the US embassy when he was Ambassador and the Secretary of State was coming on official business.
“Robert, that would be an ambassador’s nightmare.” Said Ambassador Stasser... “you’ve got the problem of the Chinese dissident. You’re trying to keep your secretary of state happy, and then you’ve got the problems with the Chinese government. This is a very, very difficult problem. It almost seems insoluble. But I am confident that we’ll eventually work it out.”
Former Ambassador Sasser went on to point out if this situation is mishandled “this could create an atmosphere there of anger on the part of the Chinese, an atmosphere of bitterness.” What makes this situation so explosive is that the issues involved go to the heart of the Chinese approach to managing their population growth. Although Americans refuse to even discuss the issue of overpopulation, for the Chinese it is a matter of national survival.
The Chinese population is approaching a billion and a half people. And while their middle class is the size of the entire US population, they still have over a billion people for whom that lifestyle is an impossible dream. Great mobs of people regularly move about China looking for work.
The Chinese are developing their country at a rapid pace in a race against time; a population explosion would devastate their hopes of raising the living standards of the masses and thus destabilize their society. Viewed from this perspective it is not at all clear that Mr. Chuangcheng has the moral high ground. The Chinese has instituted the ethics of triage on the population question.
None of China’s critics have offered a better plan for dealing with their population crisis; US moral outrage is not a plan, especially when it comes from Republicans that oppose birth control. And spurious attempts to compare Chinese birth control policies with the American Eugenics movement, when state governments engaged in forced sterilizations based on race and class considerations, is totally misguided.
The Chinese population control policies owe much more to the late Stanford Biologist Paul Erhlich’s book “The Population Bomb,” than Madison Grant’s “The Passing of the Great Race,” which became the basis of Hitler’s racial theories that led to racial genocide. Chinese population control aims to keep their population within manageable limits, not to produce a master race. Hence any such attempt to tie those policies to the aims of the American Eugenicist movment is dishonest, ignorant, claptrap
Furthermore, since the Chinese follow a strict policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of other nations, they find it particularly offensive when other countries interfere in the affairs of China. That’s why they have built and invincible army to defend against foreign invasion, and nuclear weapons to counter the nuclear black mail of the West. Hence this is no time for Jingoistic rhetoric. Alas, Mitt’s hawkish American exceptionalist pronouncements have a familiar ring.
Although they dread the comparison and have done everything to disguise it: Like George Bush, Mitt Romney is a Harvard MBA who doesn’t know beans about foreign affairs and international diplomacy – and what is worse, like Bush, he has surrounded himself with Neo-Con foreign policy wonks from the Project for a New American Century; people like Paul Wolfowitz and John Bolton, the same crowd that took over the foreign policy of the Bush Administration after 9/11 and persuaded him to invade Iraq, arguably the worst diplomatic blunder in American history.
Like Bush, when it comes to foreign policy and international relations, Mitt’s head is an empty slate on which any ideas can be written. Which makes the advice of Washington Post columnist Jonathon Capehard’s advice to The Mittster right on the money.
“When there’s a situation as fluid as what’s going down in Beijing between the Obama administration and the Chinese government over blind attorney Chen Guangchen,” writes Capehard, “it’s best for those not directly involved to sit back and watch, This is especially so of those running to unseat the sitting president.” I say ditto! Fortunately, even as I write, Secretary of state Hillary Clinton is announcing a deal with the Chinese Government to let Mr. Guangchen come to the US with his family to undertake advanced study. He has already been accepted by an american university and his papers are being processed. Yet another triumph of the Obama administration’s diplomacy. Bravo!
China is on a Path of Rapid Development
Building is Booming!
But they must control their population Growth
Or they will literally eat themselves out of house and home
Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
May 4, 2012