Archive for March 2009
About six years ago, when I was in the middle of writing “Losing the New China,” my friend Terry Halsey called me and asked how I was doing. “Slow” I said. “I’m a slow writer. And when I’m done, no one will care. It’s about China, Terry. Americans like to read books about themselves.”
In fact, Terry doesn’t really like to read about China either. He’s a typical trendy New Yorker (with an atypically large brain, one that is always chafing against the conventional cage that he has erected for himself—which his large brain tells him it is futile to resist). Anyway, Terry had a high-tech promotion idea. We would place webcam cameras all over my house, in the backwoods mountains of Vermont—and the video would stream into a website called “THE MAKING OF Losing the New China.”
I told Terry that all it would capture was me padding around in a bathrobe, scratching myself, smoking, and then going into the badly lit kitchen to make myself a snack. What a freaking stupid idea.
This blog is an admission that Terry was, in some way, right.
Yesterday was Purim, and appropriately enough for the conspiracy-minded, Chas Freeman resigned as the Chairman of the National Intelligence Council.
If you want a quick postmortem (I don’t want to dwell on this either), check out the WP editorial. The China human rights crowd may have actually done the lion’s share of the work here. I haven’t looked at the Newsweek piece that the WP references–something about Pelosi being “incensed” by Freeman’s statements on Tiananmen–but perhaps there’s some life in Pelosi yet? And did the Obama admin reveal their China card too early?
UPDATE: I should mention that my own minuscule contribution to the Freeman pile-on was published in this week’s Weekly Standard. It’s worth reading anyway because my point was much wider than one man: The Obama administration has sent clear signals to the Chinese leadership that they are no longer interested in human rights and democracy in China. The consequences will be truly horrific.