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Nancy Pelosi Is No Longer Heroic

Nancy Pelosi has apparently abandoned her one-time role as heroic advocate of human rights in China. That’s really too bad. Back in the Clinton years, when it really took some courage to fight that battle year after year, Pelosi provided invaluable leadership for those who cared about more in China than business deals. I had the greatest admiration for her, in part because she was not only bucking her own party and her own president but also the received wisdom of the smart set in international relations. In those days the Sinologists -- and senior Clinton officials, some of whom are now back in power -- argued for patience. Let’s just do business with China, they said, and once old guard of Jiang Zemin and his cronies pass from the scene, once the new generation of Chinese leaders gets in, we’ll start to see an opening. After all, these Chinese “technocrats” know that they can’t continue to have a successful economy unless they reform the political system.

Well, here we are a decade later. The technocrats are in power, the old “ideologues” are gone, and we are no closer to seeing any political reform whatsoever. The Olympics were supposed to signal an opening. Instead, they were an occasion for crackdowns. Yet we still hear the same old arguments, the same predictions of impending change, the same calls for patience, and, of course, the same insistence that business comes first. The only thing that has changed is that a one-time gutsy warrior for human rights has given up the fight.

By Robert Kagan  | May 25, 2009; 3:42 PM ET
Categories:  Kagan  | Tags:  Robert Kagan  
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How about some Human Rights for the residents of Gaza, Kagan?

Or would that not agree with you and your PNAC/JINSA/AIPAC/AEI buddies' ideals?

Posted by: pali2600 | May 25, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

That's not quite true that China has had no progress towards human rights and political reforms. They've just had local elections for the first time ever. They're expending serious efforts toward environmental cleanup for the first time ever. Most encouraging of all, I don't see the kind of backsliding away from reforms that has been the case in Russia over the past 10 years. And the various industrial scandals of the past few years with pet food, baby formula and others has kindled thoughts about having more rule of law other than just taking people out and shooting them when someone screws up. There's a lot more to be encouraged about the kind of direction China is headed toward, as opposed to India which is - on paper anyway - an elected democracy. But I would agree with Kagan that Pelosi should still voice criticisms instead of being more muted as she is now, as long as those criticisms are helpful and not just knee-jerk denunciations of policy.

Posted by: ripvanwinkleincollege | May 25, 2009 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Nancy Pelosi was never "heroic" on any issue. She spoke out on human rights in China because it was acceptable as a liberal in S.F./Marin to do so. (Was anyone approving of the Tiannamen Square massacre in 1989?) It allowed her to appear as less of an anti-anti-communist to the half dozen or so moderates and conservatives in her district, which is mostly populated by brain-dead liberals. Has anyone heard her make much noise over human rights abuses in Iran, Venezuela, North Korea or Zimbabwe?

Posted by: theduke89 | May 26, 2009 12:14 AM | Report abuse

"Nancy Pelosi Is No Longer Heroic"


Really, she never was.

Posted by: phoenixresearch | May 26, 2009 12:42 AM | Report abuse

Was she heroic about the waterboarding issue? Is the US ever in a position to preach? If the US think it is so virtuous, many people in the world beg to differ.

Posted by: hangkok_2000 | May 26, 2009 1:31 AM | Report abuse

"a one-time gutsy warrior for human rights has given up the fight."

What guts does it take to sit safely at home and denounce what another country does? (I suppose next Kagan will tell us Rush is heroic?)

How does it make one a warrior? What damage did Pelosi inflict on China? What human rights battles has the West won in China in the last 20 years?

Nothing against Pelosi - but I think Kagan is overdoing the praise so he can dump on her harder.

Posted by: j2hess | May 26, 2009 2:21 AM | Report abuse

Ha Ha Ha...

Israel? Waterboarding?

What else needs be said?

Kagan got his arse handed to him in under 10 comments.

Posted by: LeftwithNochoice | May 26, 2009 4:40 AM | Report abuse

I'm all for waterboarding all the neo-cons & Zionists that took America to a pre-emptive war of choice.

May we please start with all the Kagans, big nosed Wurmser & her hubby, Wolfowitz, Pearle, Feith, Irving Libby, Cheney, Addington, & everybody in AIPAC, AEI, PNAC, the Heritage Foundation punks, & let's throw in the Federalist Society facists for good measure.

Posted by: 2by2 | May 26, 2009 5:01 AM | Report abuse

You wrote it incorrectly, you should have said her "role POSING, POSTURING AND PREENING as a heroic advocate of human rights in China."

So what? It's no longer a politically convenient pose, so she walked away. Just like she walked away from her support for the war in Iraq when it became politically convenient.

Posted by: ZZim | May 26, 2009 9:05 AM | Report abuse

What would a chickenhawk like Kagan know about heroism?

Posted by: Marcaurelius | May 26, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

While I will agree that Madame Speaker Pelosi is inconsistent on human rights, I am not sure it is in the interests of the US to pressure China on this issue. China is a major creditor of ours and I am sorry to say it but the Tibetans really do not do anything for us. That may sound cold but it's the hard truth. International relations is not about moral absolutes, it's about self interests. On the flip side of the coin, I think it is in the interest of the US to pressure Israel on the issue of the Palestinians because Israel is the junior partner in this relationship and Israel needs the US more than the US needs Israel.

Posted by: samiles96 | May 26, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

To expand on that, it would go towards greater PR in the Arab world (with the common Arab on the street) to be more even handed with the Palestinians. By showing fairness, we can show the Arabs that the US is decent and we can counteract Islamist propaganda.

Posted by: samiles96 | May 26, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

This article is a waste of breath. She never was anything but what she is; the pH agents reacting on the far left of litmus paper burn people up just as bad as the agents on the far right do.

Posted by: TramplingGrapes | May 26, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Kagan, the ultimate Israel firster, the prime Jewish neocon...
talking about Nancy Pelosi's human rights record?

Kristol and Kagan flip off two of the most
disgusting little blogs this morning...perhaps there's not better evidence that the WASHINGTON POST is

1) nearly broke and can only afford free propoganda from it's usual flacks

or 2) The Post and the Israelis are getting desparate, throwing out garbage no one else would print.

This paper should join it's sister paper and muse, the Jerusalem Post or go bust.

Posted by: whistling | May 26, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

China, the human right lover

* Contrary to popular belief, it is a fact.
30 years ago, many Chinese died of starvation, did not have a roof over their heads…
Not any more now.
Are these the basic human rights?

* Why you’re lied to.
The media wants to create controversy to sell their stuffs.
The politician wants to establish a common enemy, so you ignore more important problems that they cannot fix.
The offense companies have more reason to expand.
They all assume you are stupid and cannot analyze.

* Why US is human right violator.
How many we killed and how many Chinese killed abroad last year?
How many innocent people we have to kill in Iraq before we stop?
How many national guards are sent to the killing field against their will??
Should we destroy another country accusing them to have ‘mass destruction weapons’?
Why it is OK for us to own nuclear weapons that can destroy the entire world with a push of a button?
Why we need a new carrier powered by two nuclear generators?
How many citizens die of obesity as we encourage “good” food?
How many poor remain to be poor for generations due to our generous welfare system?
How many our children are killed every year due to our lack of gun control law?
Gun control is not even an issue for both political parties.
How many teenage mothers we encourage starting from the top politicians?
How many Indians stay in their reservation forever and got drunk by not providing them with jobs?
How we use up the world’s oil and blame China who uses less than ¼ of ours per capita?
In addition, a good portion of China’s oil is used to manufacture our stuffs that we do not really need.
How we blame China for military expenditure while ours is 10 times theirs?
How we encourage our citizens to spend on credit and buy houses we cannot afford until the entire financial system collapses?
After the reckless bailouts, what is the average debt of a US baby? Do they have a human right?
When special interest groups donate millions to politicians, how can they make unbiased decisions for us?

The list is endless.

China has its own problems and we have our own. Let each work on her problems and we’ll have a better world.

Your yardstick is good for your country but not mine, and China’s yardstick is comparing China 30 years ago. It is laughable to use the yardstick of a developed country (US) to measure a developing country (China), and vice versa. Depending on which yardstick you’re using, China could be a human right lover and US a violator – that could sound funny!

Posted by: TonyP4 | May 26, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

The thought of the Kagans, the Wolfowitz' and Perles, Libbys and Addingtons and Netanyahoos, etc., of the world

pouncing on a nice clean Amerian congressman like our speaker, or any other
decent American office holder, reminds me, at least, of how vile and dirty the Jewish neocons are.

Since changing their stripes...declaring they were anti-Iraq war in some cases, is getting only a universal laugh...maybe they're going to try nibbling at the Kagan's sorry case going after the Speaker.

Enough, really enough. Too much. Americans are angry, it won't go on, as in history.

Posted by: whistling | May 26, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Kagan you are a jerk

Fei Hu

Posted by: Fei_Hu | May 26, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

"I'm all for waterboarding all the neo-cons & Zionists that took America to a pre-emptive war of choice."

Who is going to do it? You and the other pointy-headed armchair dictators of geriatric hippie set?

The left in this country is too morally and intellectually bankrupt, not to mention too physically out of shape, to do anything besides contract such work out.

So who will you contract it out to? Your buddies in Al Qaeda? Hamas? Hezbollah? Venezuela?

Posted by: NoDonkey | May 26, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Are you talking about the California barby doll wanna be? Plastic Pelosi? ? ?

She is so much a sign of the times...political correctness (lying), and now the latest (in vogue with our amoral POTUS), SECULARISM (the Obama version of E Pluribus Unum).........

Next she will be building mosques all over the country to embrace Obama's ambitions to be "inclusive"....

To all these lousy politicians who give not a darned about human rights....e.g., terroristic about America's version of terror: skull crushing of infants? Yes, that is murder of an individual (unique DNA) in utero, with NO civil protections whatsoever!!!!!!!!


Posted by: DiscerningCitizen | May 26, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

"Are you talking about the California barby doll wanna be? Plastic Pelosi? ? ?"

A $5.00 plastic silicon doll would make a better Speaker of the House than the hopelessly corrupt and utterly incompetent Nancy Pelosi.

The very notion that the Worst Speaker Ever could possibly advance the cause of Human Rights in China, is like hoping that an Irish Setter could learn to play Mozart on a violin. Pelosi is a career event planner who is only in the House, because her billionaire husband wanted her annoying/horrifying presence out of his house.

Posted by: NoDonkey | May 26, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Gee, a liberal hypocrite. Just like Clinton attack GHW Bush over human rights in China. And what did Clinton do? Sold missle technology and accepted bribes from China.

Posted by: combat18 | June 1, 2009 7:01 PM | Report abuse

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