Hillary Clinton, who for some unknown reason thinks that she is qualified to be President of the United States, said today that President Bush should boycott the opening ceremonies of this summer's Beijing Olympic Games, because of ". . .the violent clashes in Tibet and the failure of the Chinese government to use its full leverage with Sudan to stop the genocide in Darfur."
Senator Clinton thinks that gratuitously slapping the diplomatic face of one of our largest foreign creditors, not to mention insulting a major military power, is one of those precious "opportunities for presidential leadership." Somewhat like, I suppose, St. Barack of Obama's ideas on invading Pakistan. Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who doesn't have to be responsible for anything, agrees with Hillary, and thinks Bush should stay away. Maybe Mrs. Pelosi needs to visit Syria again.
I'm sure the Chinese Foreign Ministry will be real impressed with our concern over Darfur and Tibet next time we want them to buy our Treasury bills (or refrain from, God forbid, dumping them suddenly); hold off on selling Iran weapons, or not use their veto in the UN. We have plenty of real problems with China, which is going to be a much, much more dangerous great power rival for the United States than the Soviet Union ever was in our wildest nightmares. Given our current real and our future probable difficulties with China over matters like, um -- oil, debts, balances of trade, resources, the Taiwan Straits, Korea, not to mention Chinese arms and diplomatic cover for every anti-American tinpot on the planet -- why would we deliberately look for more trouble ?
Because to liberals, the real world is trivial. To the left, the only foreign policy issues that are worth making a crisis over are those from which the United States can derive no conceivable benefit. This tempest in the tea-house surely fills the pot -- stirring up trouble with China for the sake of Tibet: a place that has never in modern memory been independent, and which (absent a war) has about as much chance at independence as South Carolina (less, actually) -- sounds like a sane foreign policy move to me.
Are the Democrats on the same planet as the rest of us ? No, stupid question, they're still in orbit around Planet 60's, where every crisis is Selma in another form; where Nixon never resigned, and all problems can be solved with a big faculty senate meeting and lots of touchy-feely facilitators. For the Democrats foreign and military policy are not tools for accomplishing real tasks that are in the interest of the United States, but exist simply as tools to bash the evil right wing, and as cost-free vehicles of social protest.
There are valid reasons for the US to regard China as a hostile power, and there are definitely quarrels with the Chinese that we need to have. But over Tibet and Darfur ?