Mitt Romney might paint Obama as weak on foreign policy, but the Chen case shows just how calculating, even Kissingerian, he can be.
Can anyone doubt that the blind lawyer and dissident Chen Guangcheng, who apparently says that he feels a "little" lied to by American embassy officials in Beijing, was, more or less, hustled out and dumped into a hospital before he could further disrupt Chinese-American relations, especially with high-level meetings coming up between Hillary Clinton, Timothy Geithner and their Chinese counterparts? American ambassador Gary Locke says Chen wasn't encouraged to leave. But that denials are needed is itself telling and the brouhaha over Chen shows few signs of dying down as he now seems to be indicating that he would like to request asylum in America.
But as tensions rise with China over Chen's fate that's the last thing Obama wants to provide. If any episode crystallizes the ruthlessness of President Obama, it should be this one. Even as the GOP tries to depict him as an impotent president--and as Mitt Romney's campaign is mired in an ugly controversy over the sudden resignation of a gay foreign policy aide named Richard Grenell who was being hounded by the Christian Right--he is acting more ruthlessly and decisively than almost any American president in recent memory, including George W. Bush.
- Surge of the 'Second World'
- The Elephant and the Dragon
- The Cost of Clashing with Beijing
- Beware a Bad Deal with Tehran
Obama gives off every sign of taking coldly antiseptic positions in foreign affairs. Again and again, Obama has dismissed the notion that he should get involved in the internal affairs of other countries. The Arab Spring? He viewed it with caution. Libya? He tried to lead from behind. Syria? He wants nothing to do with it.