Chen and Family Coming to America

It looks as if the diplomatic dance is proceeding for Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng and his wife and two children to come to the US, where Chen will study at NYU.

You have to wonder how happy the GOP is for the Chen family.  My guess — not so much.

The successful negotiation for Chen’s safety won’t win President Obama votes come November, but if this crisis had dragged on, it would have dragged the President down with it, with the GOP invoking Jimmy Carter.  He needed to get it off the table, and it appears that he has.

We Can Pretend Chen Is Studying, Not Defecting

It looks as if a way out of the Chen Guangcheng mess may be for the Chinese government to give him permission to come to the U. S. to study law, with his wife and children joining him here.  Then they’d just never go back.

There remains the concern about the safety of his mother and brothers, as well as other Chinese dissidents who helped him escape and get to the U. S. Embassy in Beijing.

“If the Reports Are True”

Mitt Romney couldn’t stand up to Bryan Fischer from the American Family Association over his hiring of Ric Grenell, who happens to be gay.  Now Mitt is faulting President Obama for not standing up to the Chinese over the dissident Chen Guangcheng.

With conflicting reports swirling and a lot of confusion as to Chen’s exact situation and wishes, Mitt irresponsibly blasted the President today for a “day of shame” and a “dark day for freedom.”  But he had to preface his condemnation with qualifiers like “if the reports are true” and “if they’re accurate.”  When you have to use language like that, you have no business attacking anyone, you simply don’t have enough information yet.

So aside from the hypocrisy, we have Mitt going off half-cocked while President Obama is in the middle of a tough and messy foreign policy crisis.

Republicans in Congress also held an emergency hearing on Chen in which they criticized the President.

If it had just been about putting Mr. Chen on a plane when he was in our custody, that would be simple.  But he has a family as well, who did not escape with him, a wife, two children, a mother, and brothers, all of whom are at risk.  So the GOP effort to paint this as a situation where President Obama threw Chen under the bus to save his broader negotiations with the Chinese this week with Secretaries Clinton and Geithner conveniently ignores the complicating factor of the safety of Chen’s family.

The brighter the public spotlight that is shone on Chen, the harder it is for the Chinese government to back down.

What’s the real GOP goal here — helping Chen or making Obama  look bad?  If the GOP wants to hurt Obama, they will keep running their mouths.  If they want to help Chen, they will push for him privately and pipe down publicly.

A day of shame?  Definitely —  for Mitt Romney.

Mitt Should Keep His Mouth Shut

This is a challenging moment in our relations with China.  We have been getting cooperation from them on Iran, Syria, North Korea, and the valuation of their currency.  Now, relations are strained because of dissident Chen Guangcheng’s escape from house arrest and flight to the U. S. embassy in Beijing.  The Obama Administration wants to help Mr. Chen and his family without derailing the progress we have made with China on vital national security issues.

The timing is especially bad, given that Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner are on their way to China for long-scheduled meetings.

So when he should just shut up and let the President handle this crisis (which some are calling the most serious with China since Tiananmen Square back in 1989), Mitt Romney jumps in to declare that we must confront the Chinese on their one-child policy.  The President is in a delicate diplomatic situation, and Mitt uses the moment for a purely political shout-out to the pro-life Republican base.

Great pandering, Mitt!  Leadership?  Statesmanship?  Not so much.