Jeffrey Goldberg has a long piece on US Middle East policy in the midst of the “Arab Spring.” He interviewed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at length on the subject.
But what jumped out at Goldberg (and us) were her remarks about the Chinese government. In the diplomatic world, language is employed to obfuscate and obscure, for obvious reasons. You never know what an ill-chosen word might lead to.
Mrs. Clinton’s remarks to Goldberg regarding the Chinese regime were (and are) undiplomatically blunt. They were made in the context of China being afraid of events in the Middle East. Goldberg reports:
It was during this part of the conversation, when the subject of China, and its frightened reaction to the Arab Spring, came up, that she took an almost Reaganesque turn, calling into question not just Beijing’s dismal human rights record, but the future of the Chinese regime itself. The Obama administration has been ratcheting up the rhetoric on China’s human rights record lately, especially since the arrest of the dissident Ai Weiwei, but Secretary Clinton, in our interview, went much further, questioning the long-term viability of the one-party system. After she referred to China’s human rights record as “deplorable” (itself a ratcheting up of the rhetoric), I noted that the Chinese government seemed scared of the Arab rising. To which she responded: “Well, they are. They’re worried, and they are trying to stop history, which is a fool’s errand. They cannot do it. But they’re going to hold it off as long as possible.”
Clinton’s assertion that the repressive Chinese system will eventually collapse brought to mind nothing so much as Reagan’s statement, made to Richard V. Allen in 1977, about America’s goal in the Cold War: “My idea of American policy toward the Soviet Union is simple, and some would say simplistic,” Reagan said. “It is this: We win and they lose.”
Read the whole thing here.