Surro-Gate II: Abercrombie ticks off China
In a curious interpretation of Barack Obama's philosophy of seeking global peace by talking to even "wacky" world leaders who hate America, U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, Obama's Hawaii co-campaign chairman, is calling for a boycott of the upcoming Olympics in China. If that happens it will enrage the country that makes all of our cheap plastic toys, poisons our dog food and basically holds the mortgage on the 300 million-room bungalow we call America.
It's hard to believe that Obama signed off on Abercrombie's sudden urge to righteously tick off a country that the United States has been slowly and painfully prodding into the 19th century for decades.
Abercrombie's beef with China is a good one, the recent despicable treatment of the citizens of Tibet. But with so many reasons to detest China -- the brutal suppression of free speech and democracy, theft of U.S. military technology, marketing of human organs from executed prisoners, deliberately painting kids' toys with lead paint (take a breath, relax, continue), shooting down satellites before we did, putting antifreeze in toothpaste, the aforementioned poisoning of dog food and bootlegging of counterfeit Britney Spears albums -- Abercrombie's outrage seems a bit, well, selective.
And not very timely for Obama. Especially when the big scandals of this election year aren't called "Watergate," but "Surro-Gate." It's the candidate's surrogates, like Obama's radical preacher buddy Jeremiah Wright and Hillary Clinton's irrepressible husband, Bill, and John McCain's entire U.S. military complex, who are making life on the campaign trail so hard. The last thing Obama needs is for one of his campaign chairmen to suggest slamming the door on one of the most financially, politically and militarily powerful countries in the world. But by suggesting the United States and its friends boycott the China Olympics, that's what surrogate Abercrombie is doing.
As I understand the Obama Doctrine of International Diplomacy, the idea is to keep a dialogue going with murdering idiots like North Korea's Kim Jong Il, Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and, I would assume, the leaders of China, with the hope of nudging them in the direction of good behavior and love for all mankind.
To do that, you kind of have to overlook their repulsive behavior, which, sadly, includes the vicious crackdown on Tibet. I'm not saying I'm on board with that line of reasoning, but I think that's Obama's game plan. And letting China get away with various outrages over the years, like the heartbreaking crackdown of protesters in Tiananmen Square, seems to be official U.S. policy.
So, ruining the Olympics for China (not to mention, all OUR athletes who have worked for decades for this chance to shine) isn't going to bring China into the brotherhood of nations or make life for the Dalai Lama and his followers in Tibet any easier. Despite Abercrombie's admirable, well-founded and clearly heartfelt disgust with China, I doubt Obama wants to poke the great Asian dragon in the eye with a stick right this minute.
Buy Charles Memminger's hilarious new book, "Hey, Waiter, There's An Umbrella In My Drink!" at island book stores or online
at any book retailer. E-mail him at email@example.com