Sunday, May 20, 2012

Chinese Dissident Who Made Headlines is Safely in the United States – Well Sorta Safe, He’s in Newark

Mitt Romney Once Again Looks Foolish – Not That the Press Will Report It

[Editor’s Note:  The Dismal Political Economist has been asked to apologize to Newark stuff in this Post, and he does so.  Sometimes he just cannot resist the cheap shot.]

For the last several weeks blind Chinese dissident Chen Guancheng has made the news because he sought refuge in the U. S. diplomatic mission in China and then was the subject of intense discussions between the U. S. and China over his fate.  When the U. S. reached an agreement with China and he left the embassy Conservatives rushed out to criticize the Obama administration for bowing to the Chinese.  Mitt Romney in particular was highly critical of the administration way before events played themselves out.

Of course what really happened, much to the chagrin of Conservatives was that the issue was settled, and Chen has been allowed to leave China and has indeed left the country.  As a result, an issue which could have upset U. S. and Chinese relations for months has apparently been settled, and in favor of human rights and the rights of Mr. Guancheng.

Chen’s dramatic escape one month ago from unlawful house arrest in his native Shandong province, and his emergence a week later at the fortified U.S. Embassy in Beijing, had threatened to derail U.S.-China relations at a time when Washington is seeking to engage China’s leaders on a wide range of global political and economic issues.

But the relatively quick resolution of Chen’s case — so sudden that Chen himself did not even know Saturday morning that he was leaving for the United States — also suggested that both countries were anxious to resolve the matter swiftly and not let it unduly affect their broader relationship.

It is hard to know if Mr. Romney’s belligerent and bellicose and downright inappropriate remarks reflect what he would have done if he had become President.  After all there is a campaign and people say and do dumb things in a campaign.  But if his position did reflect his policy, then once again Mr. Romney has shown he doesn’t have the right stuff to be President.

As for Mr. Guancheng, he has now landed in Newark and hopefully he will not be too disappointed.  Like many Americans The Dismal Political Economist has had the pleasure of flying into and out of the Newark airport, and if Mr. Guancheng wants to experience what American transportation systems are really like, well, Newark will do very nicely.

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