Has the Obama administration bungled his case? Did President Barack Obama use people who were capable of correctly interpreting the signals in China? Or was there a gap in translation?
We learned earlier this week that Chen was released from the U.S. Embassy with the Chinese government's assurance of his "safety" and a promise to facilitate his study of law in an unspecified place outside his home province of Shandong. It sounded like a win-win solution. But those who have intimate knowledge of China and its political system had reasons to worry.
In many ways, the deal was almost made to be broken, because it was based on three erroneous assumptions on the part of American officials.
The first false assumption is that the Chinese government's assurances are ironclad. To be sure, there has to be some trust among negotiators. But the Chinese government has meted out overly harsh treatment to dissidents in recent years. What confidence do we have that it will make an exception in Chen's case? The American trust that the Chinese government will honor its promises was misplaced, if not outright naïve.
Second, U.S. officials assumed the word "safety" means the same thing for both sides. The Chinese negotiators may have had a totally different arrangement in mind when they spoke of safety. For them, Chen was "safe" when he was confined in his home in Shandong, surrounded by armies of security guards.
That's probably what happened and should you ever doubt it, remember the way so much of the media is whoring for Barack and rushing to put the blame on Chen. This was a diplomatic failure. Barack kept his distance from the problem which signaled to the Chinese government that it wasn't a big issue. This rests on his shoulders. People can blame Hillary as well because she heads the State Dept. I'm not going to rush to rescue her. Most of us have repeatedly insisted she needs to step down before the stench of Obama is on here as well. It appears she didn't heed the warning and now has to pay for it.
I like Hillary. I supported her over Barack in the Democratic Party primary. But as I have always said, "It is what it is." She shouldn't gotten out while the getting was good.
One of the few reporters and outlets not trying so spin is Carol J. Douglas (Los Angeles Times):
After U.S. diplomats persuaded the 40-year-old activist on Wednesday to leave the protection of the U.S. Embassy, he was driven to a Beijing hospital to reunite with his family and get treatment for a foot injury suffered during his escape from house arrest two weeks earlier. And there he was left alone -- ostensibly because his U.S. escorts had to leave when visiting hours ended -- to ponder the sincerity of promises reportedly made by a regime that has so far reacted to his human rights activism with detention and beatings of his family members and supporters.
No wonder that in the dark of night Chen was overcome by doubts about the fate awaiting him once the U.S. delegation decamped from high-profile economic and security talks, which had been thrown into turmoil by the controversy over his six-day refuge at the U.S. Embassy.
Jerome Cohen, a New York University law professor who has advised Chen over the years, told journalists that the deal cut by U.S. officials with the Beijing authorities was supposed to have been publicly endorsed by President Obama. That was expected to put pressure on China to live up to assurances that Chen would be left in peace to study law at a university of his choosing, free of the mistreatment previously meted out in punishment for his exposure of forced abortions and other abuses under China’s one-child policy.
The White House never got the chance -- or didn't use it -- to tout its successful resolution of a human rights standoff, as Chen, left alone to contemplate his worst fears, began telling friends and Western journalists he wanted out of China.
By the way, CNN's also been honest about the Chen crisis. They are two of the few who have. Barack didn't say a word. Not one damn word.
I want to quote myself from Wednesday night here:
Monday, Wally's "THIS JUST IN! CAN HE GET A DIALOGUE COACH?" and Cedric's "He's nothing without his Teleprompter" went up. In it, they noted that Barack couldn't say a word about Chinese dissident Chen Guangchen who managed to break free of house arrest last week.
Wally and Cedric were right. They were right on Monday. And Barack never said a damn word. Wednesday
Was he away from the press? Here's his Tuesday schedule:
Why lookie-lookie, he had time for campaign events -- both the official ones in the evening and the pretend-it's-not-one at the community college.
Here's his Wednesday schedule:
Candy ass Barack never made the time to do what he was supposed to: Speak out on behalf of Chen. He was too busy campaigning, he was too busy doing everything but his job. Fundraising is not his job.
Today the Chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, US House Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen released the following statement:
Don’t Assume Chen Saga Over, Ros-Lehtinen Warns(WASHINGTON) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, commented today on reports that China will allow Chen Guangcheng, a human rights activist who recently escaped house arrest, to apply for permission to study in the United States. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“While China has reportedly agreed to let Chen leave, U.S. officials must not assume that Beijing will actually allow this to happen. Only when Chen arrives on American soil and is granted political asylum will we know that this issue is resolved and his freedom and safety are assured.
“U.S. officials made a mistake by escorting Chen away from the safety of the U.S. embassy and into an uncertain fate. To avoid another harmful error, the State Department must press China to carry out its commitments. We cannot assume that this saga has been resolved.”
Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"