Livingston dubbed Romney “very foolish” for wading into diplomatic issues such as this, especially when “he really didn’t have really any facts yesterday about what was going on… What happens in the U.S. embassy in China should be within the hands of the officials on the ground and the State Department,” Livingston said. “It should not be a political issue here in the U.S.” – Abby Huntsman: Romney’s Chen Guangcheng Criticism Was ‘Very Foolish’
THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION got very lucky this week.
After more than a week of high-level diplomacy over the fate of the blind activist Chen Guangcheng, the Chinese government was widely seen as making a major concession on Friday by agreeing to allow Mr. Chen to apply to leave for the United States. – For China, a Dissident in Exile Is One Less Headache Back Home
It was an impossibly difficult situation that would have been a bitch for any administration regardless of political affiliation.
However, I will never understand why officials in the U.S. embassy in China, including Ambassador Locke, let Chen leave the U.S. embassy, because there was absolutely no way for the U.S. to guarantee Chen’s safety once he did. It’s unfathomable that this was allowed to develop with Secy. Clinton due in China with Secy. Geithner. It couldn’t have been a worse moment or one fraught with more international peril. Diplomacy is made for these situations and you simply don’t allow a clearly unhealthy human rights activist under overwhelming stress to have the power to control a situation like this. Of course, you cannot force him to stay, but as diplomats your job is to make him understand the obvious danger he’d be in if he was to leave. You stall, continue to work on alternatives, or whatever options might be possible, anything other than let him walk out and hand the power to the Chinese.
That Mitt Romney chose to weigh in on an internationally sensitive situation when he obviously didn’t have enough facts, because no one did, raises questions about his foreign policy maturity and depth of understanding, beyond the economic, something I’ve doubted from the start.
The Administration got extremely lucky when the Chinese made a self-interested concession Friday, which looks like it will lead to Chen going into exile.
At this point, it looks like the Chinese unwittingly saved us from ourselves, while also getting rid of their meddlesome human rights star. This was a close one.