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Friday, May 04, 2012


Erik Sean Estep

KB: Thanks so much for posting this, it has been a tough week, had a mini stroke on Wednesday and have been out of the loop. As always, I appreciate your analysis. We don't always agree, but you always make me think.

Bill Fleming

What would your recommended solution have been, KB? What would you have done differently?

Ken Blanchard

Bill: Getting Chen out of China was obviously the only real option once he set foot in the embassy. The deal that seems to have been worked out now, if it holds, is a solution. The original deal was a half-baked fantasy.


This affair can certainly be used as more fodder to demean and discredit Obama--as long as one limits one's characterizations to knaves and fools. Of course, career diplomats who know something of the Chinese culture, who must find ways to deal with the Chen business while advancing negotiations on other vital interests that are the reason for U.S. diplomatic presence there, and who are crucially aware of the limits of diplomatic power would have nothing to do with the agreements made. As long we are assigning blame for knavery and foolery, let us add Daniel Pearl and Travohn Martin and every other casualty of injustice to Obama's list of transgressions. My god, the diplomats were so feckless and cowardly in not invoking our nuclear ability.

The Washington Post and those who might think this was a tremendously difficult situation that some hardworking career diplomats worked hard to find an agreement on and eventually came up with what promises to be a good resolution can simply rest in the graveyard of fools. We should better follow the example of intransigence and failure set by the partisan resolve in Congress.

Donald Pay

This post seems like a classic attempt to coverup of your bungled analysis. You said Chen was "betrayed." Yet your solution to this issue (get Chen out of China) would have amounted to kidnapping, since that's not what Chen himself wanted. Chen wanted to move to a different place and attend university. That is not so far-fetched, as our diplomats and people who understand what's going on in China understand there are many academic demographers who are pushing an end to the one-child policy, and many in the government and party who are moving in that direction. My guess is Chen would have preferred to stay in China and contribute to that work.


This post is just one more example your selective response syndrome/baffle em with bullshit blogging style KB. It didn't work on Bill, Anne or Donald and it won't work on me. So come on, what would you have done that would have been so different? And here are a few specifics:

Would you really have insisted he come to the U.S. even though he preferred to stay in China--as Donald says, kidnapped him?

Would you have continued to keep Chen at the embassy even after he said he wanted to leave?

How and where would you have treated the broken bones in Chen's foot if not in a hospital outside the embassy?

What would you have done differently to rescue his wife and children from the local authorities that held them--or would you have left them behind as Chen had done?

Would you also have rescued/protected the guy who gave Chen a ride and the lawyer that visited him and if so, how?

Chen is concerned about retaliation against other associates. Would you protect them all and if so, how?

There are no doubt other dissidents in China with stories equally compelling as Chen's. Are you not obliged to protect them too?

How would you attain an "iron-clad" commitment from the Chinese regarding anything?

And finally, where do you and the cynical so-n-so's you quote get off projecting the idea that the administration had some sort of magic wand they could have waved to solve all these problems but were too incompetent to use it?

There actually is something in these exchanges that is unintentionally hilarious and grim: Your acting as though China is the equivalent of 1983 Grenada in economic and military might and thus subject to the will of the United States. Last time I checked, that wasn't the case.


A.I. sounds like he's been there and done that and knows the "science" in "political science."

Ken Blanchard

One thing I am sure of, A.I.: NOTHING will work on you, or Donald, or Anne. It's you guys against me, the LA Times, The Economist, The Christian Science Monitor, human rights activists and, I note, Chen Guangcheng. The fact that he lost all confidence in whatever the embassy staff thought it had brokered as soon as they left him alone tells us how he sees the deal. Sorry, Anne, but I think his opinion weighs more than "career diplomats who know something of the Chinese culture".

Bill alone seems the least bit thoughtful or concerned about Chen. What should the diplomats have done? They might have discouraged him from leaving, at least until they could work out something reliable. A.I. is right that there are not really any "ironclad guarantees" when working with Beijing, but some promises are better than others. Those made between figures at high positions in both governments are worth more than ambiguous wording from lower level apparatchiks. Protecting Chen's family and friends would have been very difficult, but at least we could protect him while he was on our soil.

If you think that calling my post bullshit is witty repartee, A.I., be my guest. Funny that I keep turning out to be right. The initial deal indeed amounted to a betrayal. As for the subsequent deal that the diplomats thought they had brokered, one which you and Bill expressed confidence in, have you been paying attention to how that is going?

Donald Pay

KB said: "They might have discouraged him from leaving..." Yeah, then what? Should they have cuffed him to the water cooler when he insisted on leaving? Do you think kidnapping is good foreign policy?

You just keep moving the football because you don't have a clue what you're taling about. You have had a very limited understanding of the facts of this case and you painted yourself into an untenable position early on. Now you imagine yourself backed up in every stupid little whim of yours by your faulty understanding of the articles you say you are reading, and grasping at any small detail that you think others might not catch. Game's over, KB.

Here's from Phillip Pan. Tell us again, when Chen decided to leave the embassy, were embassy staff supposed to physically detain him?


Ken Blanchard

Donald: I read the piece you link to. Did you? I quote:

"American officials said the Chinese government pledged to relocate Mr. Chen and his family to a safe environment and to allow him to study in the nearby city of Tianjin. But by nightfall, the deal was coming apart: American diplomats had left him alone in the hospital as the police blocked visitors from reaching him and fellow activists warned him by phone not to trust Beijing’s promises."

Chen left the American embassy believing that a deal had been brokered to guarantee his safety. Had it? No. By the evidence you produce, I am right an you are wrong.

Donald Pay

You're like Lucy with the football, KB. You keep pulling it up. Everyone knows what you're doing, so don't think you're fooling anyone.

Chen left the embassy on his own free will, because he wanted to stay in China. You thought Americans should kidnap him, and keep him in the embassy, irrespective of Chen's wishes. The fact that any "deal" fell through or wasn't honored as Chen thought it should be or that he was subsequently convinced by others to change his mind comes after his initial decision to leave the embassy.

Now should American embassy personnel have continued to mind Chen in the hospital? Under what authority would an American offical be allowed to babysit a Chinese national? What would KB think if Obama would allow a Chinese minder to intervene in our domestic affair like that? Have a little common sense for once.

Bill Fleming

What is it you are trying to be "right" about, KB? It seems we are all agreed that human rights and solidarity with those fighting to secure them should be — and are in fact — our first national priority. Are you suggesting that anyone here on your blog, or in the Obama Administration doesn't see it that way?


I value you pointing this out beucase I've hardly ever seen like like that. For that reason I might possibly mention several of your factors by myself blog; Hopefully you're Okay with this. Do you assume possibly from the long term we can do the job together someway between our websites? Let me know what you feel.

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