BY JOSEPH J. HONICK
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Some many months ago, I offered in these pages a piece reciting what I called BAD or Bipartisan Asinine Diplomacy as it then related to Washington trying to play tough with Chinese folks. It’s time for another shot because those folks in Beijing must be laughing their heads off at what’s going on here again, this time over a particular person who has been resisting the retime there.
In 2008, when then candidate Obama took the unusual step to meet with Iraqi power folks during the campaign, he was warned by the Republicans that we only have one president at a time, and he is the “negotiator in chief” as well.
Comes now another especially sensitive time in US-Chinese relations, and guess who has decided to avoid presenting at least the appearance of a “united” American leadership? Why none other than the same Republicans who defended former president Bush’s turf a few years back, and, today, showing us to be in major disarray as a bunch of political chest thumpers…when it was more than possible the matter of the popular Chinese dissident could have been concluded with him and his family on their way to America.
In political negotiations as in any other arena, it is not advisable to try to embarrass the opposition into submission for one simple reason: it does not work. Anyone who has tried that in a family intramural argument should know that!
But, no, the same GOP power PR boys and girls who might have made major points with both Americans AND Chinese decided to take the distinctly childish,counterproductive and frankly disloyal decision to show they’re by golly tougher and can ram the Chinese up against the wall. Had presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney at least offered to take a “time out” from the heavy duty mutual campaign combat and suggested to President Obama the importance of their showing the American flag instead of the opposite, both the President and the Chinese would have been caught off guard, and American voters might have seen former consultant Romney in a new and positive light.
But that opportunity has been lost to the foolhardy right wing of the supposedly moderate Romney’s party, and the nation is left the embarrassed third party
As noted earlier, the process of persuasion and negotiation is to leave both sides with some comfort to get a desired result. This is a principle taught at the college level and thought not to be a necessary reminder to people spending tons of SuperPac millions on an election when the position at stake is supposedly the leadership of what’s left of the free world.
Is there still some chance of redemption? Only, and really only, if Mitt Romney can gather the guts to overrule whoever is doing those foolish things assert himself as the leader who sometime, in the interest of the nation, must speak privately to sitting president so they can show the world Peter Pan is not running the place.
Only then will the Chinese and even our allies show some respect.
JOSEPH J. HONICK WRITES FOR MANY PUBLICATIONS AND IS PRESIDENT OF GMA INTERNATIONAL, BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, WA.Can Be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org