Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Why All Roads Lead Through China

This article appeared on

Why All Roads Lead Through China -

By John S. Wilson

Amnesty International and other human rights groups were outraged when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, on a diplomatic sweep in Asia, clarified US-China relations going forward as, “We know we’re going to press them to reconsider their position about Tibetan religious and cultural freedom and autonomy for the Tibetans and some kind of recognition or acknowledgment of the Dalai Lama and we know what they’re going to say...[b]ut our pressing on those issues can’t interfere with the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis and the security crises. 

We have to have a dialogue that leads to an understanding and cooperation on each of those.” Why Amnesty and other groups were aghast at these comments is clearly evident. Human Rights will no longer play a dominant role in trade relation talks, and this will lessen the likelihood that the US will force China's hand on the freedom of Tibetan peoples and the burgeoning struggle for independence in Taiwan. And if the message wasn't bad enough, the messenger it came from was.

Clinton has been a long-time critic of China's human rights abuses, and regarding China's one child policy has said "It is a violation of human rights when women are denied the right to plan their own families, and that includes being forced to have abortions or being sterilized against their will." When China strong-armed protesters in Tibet last year during riots, Clinton pushed for a strong US stance against China's subjugation of religious freedom. Additionally, just last summer she asked former George W. Bush to boycott the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics to further send a message. So, is it that Clinton is being a hypocrite in the name of pragmatism? Or could it be that previous unsuccessful diplomatic efforts, which were predicated on other countries making improbable concessions (e.g., China conceding ground on human rights and Taiwanese independence), have now gained way to realpolitik-style strategic function?


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Obama Taking Cues From Sweden, Really?

This article appeared in Wiretap magazine on February 17, 2009:

Obama Taking Cues From Sweden -

Obama Takin Cues From Sweden, Really?

By John S. Wilson

Word out of D.C. is that the Obama administration is looking to glean some insight from Sweden's nationalization of their banks some 30 odd years ago. Not that nationalization is the demonic word it used to be considering even Senator Lindsey Graham (R) of South Carolina mentioned it as a possible option this past weekend. And we certainly do need a fresh approach to the housing/banking/credit situation (at this point they are certainly interwoven). But why should we take cues from an ocean away when we have our very own recent history to learn from?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Republicans Ask for Financial Restraint in Stimulus Bill

This article appeared in Wiretap magazine:

Republicans Ask For Restraint on Stimulus Bill -

Republicans Ask for Financial Restraint in Stimulus Bill

By John Wilson

Republicans have finally found their rallying cry against President Obama’s recently passed stimulus plan: fiscal restraint. They are bolstered by polls claiming public support for the stimulus package is lessening each week, as the American people brace for a Democratic onslaught of irresponsible spending on pork conceived through ill-timed partisanship. Yes, the GOP has changed its ways, folks. Remember the original Trouble Assets Relief Program (TARP) bailout money that was doled out to nice principled folks at places like, oh, Merrill Lynch (home of the $87,000 office rug), AIG, and last but not least, Citigroup?

Friday, February 6, 2009

Wanna Talk About It?

Wanna Talk About It?

A few days ago I had the opportunity to meet and hear Michael Eric Dyson speak at my university, Virginia Commonwealth. I had yet to read any of his books but had followed him in the media, especially CNN, during the Democratic primaries and leading up to the general election. Around campus it was advertised as "A Conversation with Eric Michael Dyson."