The President is in Tokyo for the G-8 summit this week. While he was there - and it hurts to say this, as I voted and volunteered for his re-election - he embarrassed himself and the rest of us in discussing North Korea and Communist China.
I'll start with the latter. President Bush insisted on going to the Olympics in Beijing next month, and defended his decision with the old "engagement" shibboleth that to do anything else "would be an affront to the Chinese people" (CNN). I wonder if the President has taken into account what the Communist regime thinks of the American people, in particular, the Americans they are trying to silence in New York City (Epoch Times and more Epoch Times). Is their safety less important than the oft-bruised egos of the cadres in Beijing?
Moreover, the President implies that the Chinese Communist regime and the Chinese people are one and the same. Perhaps if he paid more attention to the measures the Communists are using to stifle any dissent (Asianews), the rampant fleecing of the people by the regime (Asian-Pacific Post), the Weng'an outrage (CNN and Epoch Times), the earthquake aftermath (Epoch Times), the persecution of Falun Gong (Epoch Times), and the slow erosion of freedom in Hong Kong (Epoch Times), he might be more careful with his words.
Sadly, the President seem uninterested even by his own standards from the recent past. His policy on North Korea continues to react like a fungus (the more light shone upon it, it shrivels up and dies - BBC and One Free Korea). As Eutelsat tries to silence the dissident NTDTV once more (see also Epoch Times), the Administration, which came to the network's rescue three years ago, has been silent. Even the efforts to move closer to India were left for dead until India itself revived them (Washington Post).
So what happened? Those with long enough memories will remember that this is what we initially expected from the President. "Engagement" was clearly Bush's policy during the 2000 campaign. Yet for many years, the Administration shifted back and forth between that policy and a surprisingly robust anti-C0mmunism - until just after the November 2006 elections.
What was the major change in the Administration at time? The departure of Donald Rumsfeld.
I think, in time, history will look far more kindly on Rumsfeld than his contemporaries have. He was arguably the most anti-CCP Defense Secretary in sixty years. It was his Pentagon that presented the only reports on the Communist military that focused on the actual threat (despite the efforts of many within the Department to thwart him), and it was under his tenure that the Pentagon stuck its neck out for NTDTV. I'm also starting to wonder how much of a coincidence it was that the most dramatic and unjustifiable concessions to the Communists' Korean colony came after Rumsfeld was replaced by Robert Gates.
Many defense analysts will tell you that Rumsfeld had flaws (particularly those who focus on Iraq), but for anti-Communists, it has become clear - if only in hindsight - that he was our guy in the Administration. In many respects, Donald Rumsfeld was the best friend we never knew we had. May we be more aware, and more supportive, of our future friends.