Jet Lag Panda Style

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Pandas Andrew Oros China 1.jpg
Panda stretching at Beijing Zoo; photo credit: Andrew Oros; click image for larger version
Thanks to everyone for patience during the last couple of weeks. I’ve been engaged in two huge conferences back to back with trips to Beijing and Moscow in the few days between them.
Just finished helping to produce one of the conferences — the Washington Ideas Forum sponsored by The Atlantic, Aspen Institute and Newseum.
The next is a conference next Tuesday in Washington titled “Cutting the Fuse: Moving Beyond the War on Terrorism” encouraging alternative military strategies for thinking about and going after terrorists abroad. Here is the information for those interested in attending next week.
I return to the USA from Asia tomorrow and will be back to some turbo-charged blogging.
Note to the Beijing Zoo, which was mostly a pleasant experience: you should use part of your vast intelligence network in this country to discourage taunting of the lions and tigers at the zoo.
I couldn’t believe it when I saw grandmothers and children laughing and throwing empty water bottles at a magnificent lion in his outside enclosure. It was shameful and disappointing.
More soon.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

42 comments on “Jet Lag Panda Style

  1. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Just curious, Paul. Are you arguing that this award was not political in nature?
    And if in fact the poll results are credible, with the vast majority of the Chinese people comfortable with the direction their country is headed, how is Liu’s activism constructive or deserving of award? Perhaps the perception that Liu stands on the right side of activism is founded in our own perception of what government SHOULD be rather than an honest assessment of what is actually working in the interests of the Chinese people.
    They’re kicking our ass right now, so they must be doing something right. What, exactly, would Liu have them do different, and do these poll results justify his suggestions?
    Perhaps the Chinese should observe our exemplary tradition of grave concern for human rights, exhibited by our current overseas adventures, and the excellent form of “democracy” that now has our “representatives” engaged in their quest to see who can fuck us over the most, and to the greatest profitability.
    I find much fault with the Chinese, particularly as it applies to child labor. So when China walks over us with nary a backward glance, I can find solace in my righteous indignation. Meanwhile, that poor kid slaving in some Chinese sweatshop is tomorrow’s Porsche buyer. Progress never comes without pain.

    Reply

  2. Paul Norheim says:

    “…but you’d probably remark that we don’t actually know
    what’s in the envelope…”
    I know: it was a request for more troops to Afghanistan.

    Reply

  3. Don Bacon says:

    “still doesn’t convince me that Jagland
    picked Obama, and then Liu, due to direct influence from the almighty US influence. So far, this is empty speculation.”
    Paul, I have a photo of Obama handing an envelope to Jagland but you’d probably remark that we don’t actually know what’s in the envelope and so we shouldn’t jump to conclusions. 🙂
    Speculation? Speaking of jumping, if a large animal hops around like a kangaroo and has a baby in its pouch then it’s most likely a kangaroo.
    How does the baby get into the pouch?
    The newborn young crawls over the mother

    Reply

  4. Paul Norheim says:

    “Russia, as noted above, helped Thorbj

    Reply

  5. Paul Norheim says:

    Don said:
    “Paul, while you have been a strong critic of the USA and
    Americans but mysteriously you wonder why Americans
    are.”
    Nope, and I have no idea why you say so.
    “And when things get closer to home you shrink from
    criticism. You knew about Jagland. You seem to favor the
    strange idea that it is more proper to criticize other
    governments and other peoples than our own.”
    I wrote a post in an attempt to provide the Norwegian
    context. This implies criticism, not only of Jagland and
    Norway, but also of your empty claim that he was bribed
    twice. Your post regarding Kenya, and another post about
    Jagland which was obviously pasted, but with no links (Oct
    09 2010, 12:42AM) still doesn’t convince me that Jagland
    picked Obama, and then Liu, due to direct influence from
    the almighty US influence. So far, this is empty
    speculation.
    “There’s no doubt that:
    * Liu Xiabo is a good man, one of many good men and
    women in the world.”
    Well, I would assume so, but according to your former
    posts, he is just “somebody the Chinese government has
    determined to be treasonous”, and according to you and
    POA, he is some suspect individual whom the Chinese
    People and the government disagrees with, so why on
    earth give him the Nobel prize?

    Reply

  6. Don Bacon says:

    Russia, as noted above, helped Thorbj

    Reply

  7. Paul Norheim says:

    Don Bacon at Oct 09 2010, 12:42AM
    and Oct 09 2010, 10:09AM –
    Don, whatever the relevance of these two posts for the
    discussion, could you please provide some references or
    links? Or are you perhaps the sole author of the sentences &
    info in these posts?
    “And of course with the recent Nobel Peace Prize Jagland has
    again worked on behalf of the USA.”
    Yes, of course, Don. If you say so.

    Reply

  8. Don Bacon says:

    Paul,
    while you have been a strong critic of the USA and Americans but mysteriously you wonder why Americans are. And when things get closer to home you shrink from criticism. You knew about Jagland. You seem to favor the strange idea that it is more proper to criticize other governments and other peoples than our own.
    There’s no doubt that:
    * Liu Xiabo is a good man, one of many good men and women in the world.
    * The Nobel Peace Prize has obviously been perverted to political purposes.
    * The US is a huge human rights violator while being hypocritical on human rights in other locales.
    * One of our primary functions as citizens is to demand that our own government act legally and responsibly.
    “I know my own nation best. That’s why I despise it the most. And I know and love my own people, too, the swine. I’m a patriot. A dangerous man.” — Edward Abbey

    Reply

  9. Don Bacon says:

    There’s also the time when Thorbj

    Reply

  10. Paul Norheim says:

    Ok, so let’s try to get to the core here, but within the local
    context of TWN discussions. What surprises me in the
    discussion about the Nobel Prize is the gut reactions among
    some regular commenters here.
    Don Bacon said above on this thread:
    “The Norwegians blew it again with another sorry political
    choice, this time of Liu Xiaobo. (…) In this case it involves
    somebody the Chinese government has determined to be
    treasonous.”
    And here is PissedOffAmerican:
    “It is a travesty that he recieved such an award. (…) Does Liu
    Xiaobo really deserve this award if he is truly campaigning
    AGAINST a government that has seemingly won the mass
    approval of its people?
    [Martin Luther] King represented the interests of a people
    dissatisfied with their situation. The poll cited by Don would
    seem to indicate that Liu Xiaobo doesn’t share that distinction.”
    ———————-
    Ok, during the last three or four years I’ve been reading these
    cynical critics and constantly suspicious commenters at the
    Washington Note – DonBacon, POA, and others – incessantly
    questioning the the actions, the motives, the legality, the
    morality, and the policies of US administrations, past and
    present, as well as the policies of Israel. I admit that I kind of
    sympathize with the attitude. Every country, every government
    deserves such critics, such scrutiny, such skepticism and
    cynicism.
    Where should I go to find a Norwegian version of, say, a
    DonBacon or a POA? Actually, I think I know several people who
    sort of (but not completely) fill that role in my own country.
    They never accept government explanations and excuses at
    face value, and constantly argue about the policies, the
    motives, and the morality of the political decisions.
    Where should I go to find people who could fill that role in a
    distant country like Israel?
    Well, my impression from reading Israeli press and discussions
    indicates that I would have no problem finding someone there
    either who criticize their government with a similar spirit.
    And what about China?
    Coincidentally, after reading that Liu Xiabo won the Nobel Prize
    – the name sounded familiar, but until today, I couldn’t connect
    it to anything – this morning I suddenly remembered: 22 years
    ago I started working as a co-editor (for no money) in a then
    amateur literary magazine called Vagant. I worked in that
    magazine for six years. But in the first issue where I wrote an
    article about the french poet and critic Baudelaire (late autumn
    1988) there was an interview with a certain Liu Xiabo, then a
    33 old rebel doing research at the literary department in the
    University of Oslo.
    In the interview, done by a couple of friends of mine, he
    complained about the authoritarian traditions in China, going
    back, not only to Mao, but during centuries of feudal rule,
    producing a mentality of obeying the leaders, of not being
    capable of thinking critical thoughts, skeptical thoughts,
    questioning “truth”.
    My friend Alf took a picture of Liu at that time, a cool looking
    Chinese punk wearing sunglasses. A rebel in Oslo. Later he
    spent some time in the US, and then he went back to China, in
    1989, just before Tien an Men.
    So who is this Liu Xiabo?
    A Chinese version of people like POA, Don Bacon, Dan Kervick,
    JohnH, Kathleen, and others here who always scrutinize and
    question the official versions of “truth? Or perhaps someone
    who “campaigns AGAINST a government that has seemingly
    won the mass approval of its people.”
    Would you, POA, ever dream of campaigning AGAINST a
    government that had “seemingly” won the mass approval of its
    people?
    What would you say, POA, if Rasmussen and Gallup went
    against your opinions, would you then campaign AGAINST your
    own government?
    And would you, Don Bacon, if an issue involved somebody the
    American government has determined to be treasonous,
    question the reasoning and motives.”
    Is the idea of human rights just bullshit just because it gets
    abused by the US and others for political and geopolitical
    purposes?
    Or should we regard certain basic human rights as universal
    values, despite the political abuses?
    Or should we use human rights in a partisan way, just like our
    opponents – cherry picking, without really respecting the
    universal principle?

    Reply

  11. Paul Norheim says:

    Correction – in the third-last paragraph: “both as a social
    democrat, and as a Norwegian politician on the center-
    LEFT.” (Jagland is certainly not center-“right”).
    Further: when I said that Jagland “too often gets exited
    about new, grand, often somewhat lofty “visions”” – and
    mentioned his enthusiasm for Gorbachev, the social-
    democratic ideology, EU, and President Obama, I have to
    add that this was not a criticism of the objects of his
    enthusiasm, but of his approach.
    A “romantic social-democrat” – is that an oxymoron?

    Reply

  12. Paul Norheim says:

    So Obama helped Thorbj

    Reply

  13. Don Bacon says:

    The man who now serves as secretary general of the Council of Europe and chairman of the committee that chooses the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize has been ranked as Norway

    Reply

  14. Dan Kervick says:

    Don, I think your outlook on all this is incredibly US-centric. Not everything everyone cares about in this world is grounded in their attitudes toward the United States. Not every global statement is some coded anti-US or pro-US message. A quarter of the world’s people are in China. Maybe the Nobel Committee just wanted to make a statement about .. oh, I don’t know … China?
    A lot of traditional old-time internationalists in the world, which the Nobel committee tends to represent, have been hoping that China will step up and begin to play a more active role in sustaining and enforcing global standards and the global rule of law. If you read the press release, that’s precisely what the Nobel Committee has called on them to do. The criticism is mixed in with praise of China’s achievements. The message appears to be: “OK, China. You’ve pretty much arrived, now. Time to take the next step, stop acting like a paranoid and introverted “emerging nation”, and start acting like a responsible global leader.”
    You seem to think the pro-Pentagon fix is in because the Nobel Committee didn’t address your particular pet peeves. But I doubt there are a whole lot of people in the Pentagon who are singing the tune the Nobel folks are singing. I doubt all those US generals are saying, “Hey China, more global leadership please. And how about some more pro-active behavior in the Security Council. Chinese introversion and reticence suits US hegemonists just fine.
    If you look at past winners of the prize, you will see that it is fairly typical for the Nobel Committee to move around among the fields of peace activism, economic development and human rights. There is nothing stunning about yet another human rights-based award.
    What China has done, emerging from the nightmare pit of Maoism to its stunning dynamic position, is absolutely amazing, and has given hope to a quarter of the world that was bent over in hideous economic straits under Mao. Mao was not just a psychopath, but a totally incompetent and genocidal psychopath, who wrecked the country economically and starved his impoverished people while he was oppressing the society politically and giving it nutjob cult-communist marching orders. And there is no doubt that China’s people are incomparably more free now than they were just a few decades ago – particularly more free from destitute poverty. This prize is just a kind of kick in the pants to get them to complete the transformation and open up.

    Reply

  15. Paul Norheim says:

    If you had seen the modest lifestyle of the politicians in the
    comitee, you’d be surprised.
    Perhaps the choice was influenced by political pressure, but
    not from the US. The Chinese Embassy warned Norway re.
    Chinese-Norwegian relations some days ago. This put
    pressure on the Nobel comitee to GIVE the prize to Liu, to
    show that the Comitee wouldn’t be dictated by pressure from
    a powerful country.
    On the other hand, generally speaking, it is a fact that the
    members of the comitee are not exactly pro guerila Marxists.
    The chairman is a NATO-supporting former Prime Minister.
    So they will in generally not deviate too much from the
    accepted line within the so called “international community” –
    i.e. the West. They get payed by remaining a member of the
    NATO alliance.

    Reply

  16. Don Bacon says:

    Paul,
    The claim that these things just happen out of the blue w/o much thought certainly has some basis in last year’s selection, but I don’t buy it.
    First, in 2009 the committee selects the green-as-grass US president who is in the process of expanding a war to get a peace prize. The whole world says big mistake. Requires blowback.
    Second, the committee seems to be concerned this year 2010 not with peace but with human rights. Big switcheroo. That raises a red flag. I mean, it isn’t like there is a lack of war — the US is ceratinly doing its part.
    Then, with all the many human rights violations in the world, which (except for the US’s) have been chronicled in the lengthy US State Department annual report, the committee selects a dissident in China — the recognized principal opponent of US world hegemony. What a coincidence!
    So here they’ve switched from peace to human rights and then they’ve selected somebody who has advocated a change of government in America’s chief antagonist a year after their big mistake. And guess what, the president, secretary of state and the speaker of the house of the government that has recently overthrown two foreign governments have similar statements ready to go calling for the freedom of the would-be government overthrower.
    And all of this posturing is happening just when the aforesaid politicians are waist-deep in the political swampy with an election coming up. Another coincidence.
    Myself, I don’t believe in coincidences. I think the Nobel committee was bought and paid for. It’s the way things are normally done. Like the Olympics, for one example.

    Reply

  17. Paul Norheim says:

    Well DonB, Amnesty International has a lot to say about the
    conditions of human rights in China too, as well as in many
    other countries. Neither Amnesty nor the Nobel were
    constructed solely for American self-criticism. The reach of
    these institutione is global, and the fact that the Nobel goes
    to a human rights activist in China this year, will make it more
    difficult to ignore it if they give it to a Palestinian activist next
    year.
    This is exactly why Amnesty International is (even more)
    credible: during the cold war they criticized both the US and
    its allies AND communist countries. You can’t just cherry pick
    your pet activists or victims and expect to remain credible in
    the long run – allthough I would be the first to admit that the
    Nobel Comitee has made some horrible choises during the
    years.

    Reply

  18. Don Bacon says:

    Clinton did chime in as a (hypocritical) human rights champion. “We urge China to uphold its international human rights obligations and to respect the fundamental freedoms and human rights of all Chinese citizens. We reiterate our call for Liu Xiaobo’s immediate release from prison.”
    human rights? Amnesty International USA:
    “Human rights don’t start at the water’s edge

    Reply

  19. JohnH says:

    Question–which of the two major parties will be the first to formally adopt this panda as its mascot? Mules and elephants mean nothings. Panda is the name of the game!
    Or maybe Obama will adopt it as a symbol of his own personal, post-racial, black and white pandering style.

    Reply

  20. Don Bacon says:

    from reuters:
    “Most likely we will see that the free-trade agreement between Norway and China will be delayed at best, and at worst placed in the freezer,” said Kristian Berg Harpviken, director of the PRIO peace research institute. “It’s obvious the political costs of giving the prize to Liu will be great.” The bilateral free-trade deal would be the first between a European country and China.
    Eight rounds of negotiations on the trade deal have been held in the past two years, with a ninth due in December — about the same time that Liu or a nominee is due to collect his Nobel medal.
    Norwegian seafood exports to China have surged 50 percent in the past year, and producers have hopes for even faster growth. Fisheries Minister Lisbeth Berg-Hansen is due in Shanghai next week for a celebration to mark China’s import of its 10 millionth Norwegian salmon since 1988.///
    What will the Panda do? I think I saw him move. He’s got to scratch an itch. It’s called Norway.

    Reply

  21. PissedOffAmerican says:

    But of course this pathetic piece of shit Obama had NOTHING to say about this……
    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/144568.html
    Israel jails Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
    Wed Sep 29, 2010 7:8PM
    Nobel peace laureate Mairead Maguire has been sent to an Israeli jail after she refused to go back upon being denied entry to Tel Aviv, Israeli officials say.
    Maguire from Ireland was blocked from entering Israel and arrested at an airport in Tel Aviv on Tuesday because she had taken part in an attempt to break the crippling Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.
    Israeli authorities, however, could not manage to send her back to Britain.
    The 66-year old activist is now fighting a legal battle over her right to enter Israel and would challenge the ruling at a full court hearing in Tel Aviv on Friday morning.
    Maguire, who won the peace prize in 1976 for her work with the Peace People, traveled to Israel to lead a delegation of women on a week-long tour of Israel and the Palestinian territories to highlight the work of women peace activists.
    Maguire was one of the 19 activists onboard the Irish-owned ship, the Rachel Corrie, trying to deliver humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza in June, a week after Israeli forces attacked a Turkish-flagged aid flotilla, killing nine civilian activists.
    Maguire’s arrest comes as Israeli navy intercepts the Irene, another aid ship bounding for Gaza. The latest boat that tried to break Israel’s deadly blockade of Gaza carried seven Jewish activists and two journalists.
    The passengers of the Irene have refuted Israel’s claims of non-violent takeover, saying they were treated harshly when Israeli troops seized their vessel.

    Reply

  22. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “We call on the Chinese government to release Mr. Liu as soon as possible.”
    And the thousands of Palestinians rotting in Israeli gulags? The three Americans that Israel has maimed or murdered, while they were engaged in peaceful protest?? And what of the nameless and forgotten humans that Obama has renditioned to some hell hole, who knows where, so they could be subjected to torture?
    Who does this posturing piece of shit think he is fooling?

    Reply

  23. Don Bacon says:

    No, it’s not Clinton with the follow-up speech, it’s Obama: “We call on the Chinese government to release Mr. Liu as soon as possible.” Like a well-oiled machine (in this case).
    Obama maybe thought he was helping, but of course Mr. Liu definitely won’t be released now. How will China react?
    This comes on the heels of the Senkaku Islands dispute where Japan held a Chinese fishing boat captain for awhile. One factor was that Obama backed off support for Japan regarding the islands, a change from Bush. So this is sort of a well-orchestrated compensation, involving Norway. China did escalate that dispute in various ways, including a reduction of rare earth supplies (necessary for electronics) to Japan.
    This is getting interesting.

    Reply

  24. Don Bacon says:

    Isn’t it “odd” that the Norwegians couldn’t find some dissident in Israel, Morocco, Egypt, Jordan or Saudi Arabia, or a Palestinian, or perhaps one of the innocents languishing in US military prisons in Cuba, Iraq or Afghanistan. But any of those would have pissed off the US government, which is forbidden. The clear intention of the Norwegians in this case was to piss off China. They knew what they were doing. It worked.
    Oh well, they gave it their best shot and hit the US’s main rival in the world, but we all know that Chinese human rights is important to us all. Human rights in China and Iran, which must have come a close second, is something we all should worry about. Not those other countries I mentioned, US allies. Not them. I bet Clinton has a follow-up anti-China speech ready to go.
    This means that the Nobel Peace prize is still relevant, according to the TWN Oslo bureau chief anyhow. But relevant to what, kissing US butt?
    PS: There’s got to some money involved in this, somewhere. It’s too obvious. I’ll ask the Oslo guy to check it out, now that he’s back from Oz.

    Reply

  25. Paul Norheim says:

    The nobodies from the fjords have made many bad choices in the
    past. Remember Kissinger?
    I think this year they made a good one. CNN screens went black
    in China. And even here at TWN (despite Steve’s’ attempt to
    ignore it and demonstratively complain about the bad treatment
    of lions in the Chinese Zoos instead), all the regulars discuss the
    choice. Doesn’t it show that the Nobel Peace Prize, despite all
    past mistakes, is still relevant?
    BTW: I’m surprised that the rightwingers at this site haven’t
    endorsed it. Human rights in (certain) authoritarian states is
    usually a favorite among those crowds.

    Reply

  26. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Can you think of some prominent global figure who has been particularly active over the past year in protesting US behavior in Pakistan and Afghanistan?”
    You and me, Dan. And billions of other common folk around the world.
    Tongue in cheek, yes.
    But these days its rare that the voices of the common man are echoed by those who can be considered “prominent global figures”. Does the recipient Barack Obama reflect your opinion of what a “man of peace” acts like? Do you think he commits to action with the basis of your and my welfare, and the welfare of those people abroad whose lives are affected by his policies, in mind?
    It is a travesty that he recieved such an award. And there are literally thousands of “Liu Xiaobos” scattered acrost the globe, engaged in protest over tyranny and social injustice, in populations that ARE truly dissatisfied with their treatment under tyranny. The relative satisfaction of the Chinese, noted in the poll Don cites, is really quite telling. Does Liu Xiaobo really deserve this award if he is truly campaigning AGAINST a government that has seemingly won the mass approval of its people?
    King represented the interests of a people dissatisfied with their situation. The poll cited by Don would seem to indicate that Liu Xiaobo doesn’t share that distinction.

    Reply

  27. Dan Kervick says:

    “I’m sorry the guy’s in prison but his actions to change the form of government in China have met with disfavor by that government, which is hardly surprising and not unusual at all.”
    Surely you are not suggesting that Peace Prize awards should be restricted to people who have earned the favor of their governments, and have stayed out of prison.
    This isn’t much different than the award to Martin Luther King in 1964. King had spent some time in prison in 1963 as a guest of some of the good people of Alabama.

    Reply

  28. Dan Kervick says:

    “People in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, those still alive that is, are no less human than people in China, believe it or not.”
    Well that’s a good point. So who’s your candidate? Can you think of some prominent global figure who has been particularly active over the past year in protesting US behavior in Pakistan and Afghanistan?

    Reply

  29. Dan Kervick says:

    Ah, WigWag, I think you’re just irked that the Nobel Committee didn’t give the prize to Mary Robinson (who was rumored to be in the running). You probably wasted time writing a long-form anti-Nobel harangue that you now have to file away. Don’t throw it out – there’s always next year.
    As you all know, I think the world would be a lovely place if it were run according to the socially and economically progressive ideals of politically correct Social Democrat Norwegian nobodies, or like-minded PC nobodies from like-minded Scandinavian countries.

    Reply

  30. Don Bacon says:

    “Here’s the Nobel Committee’s Press release. I think they do a good job of calling on China to take the next step in accepting increased responsibility for sustaining the global rule of law,. . .”
    Well isn’t that just special — the Norwegians calling on China to sustain the global rule of law. I bet that press release was written in Washington, not Oslo. Otherwise how could the Norwegians have overlooked what the rest of the world knows, that it is the US of A which has trampled the “global rule of law”.
    Let’s see — invasions, occupations. torture, renditions, assassinations — do people associate those events, which have gone on for ten tears currently and show no signs of abatement from the previous “peace prize” recipient with China? No.
    People in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, those still alive that is, are no less human than people in China, believe it or not.

    Reply

  31. Linda says:

    Re: 2010 Nobel Prizes–so far U.S. has fared worse than in any other year; i.e., so far, only 1/3 of the chemistry prize. There’s only economics left on Monday, and since they already have awarded it to Stiglitz and Krugman, if it’s an American, wonder who it will be.
    At any rate, this is just another measure of how U.S. is falling behind other nations.

    Reply

  32. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “You mean because Obama has escalated the war in Afghanistan?”
    Dan, I’m sure Wiggie can’t see the hypocricy, or disconnect, of her (his?) argument. Its ironic that a President who is playing Wiggie and Nadine’s hand so faithfully is such a target of derision for them. In many areas Obama is better than a wet dream for those two.
    But surely one must agree with Wiggie that awarding Obama such a prize diminishes the whole Norwegian dog and pony show. This award,given to someone such as Obama, HAS been rendered irrelevent. I know nothing of Liu Xiaobo, so really can’t pass judgement on the fellow, deserving of the award or not. But due to Obama’s having had been awarded the prize, my immediate reaction to Liu’s award was skepticism. Just another political decision on the Norwegian’s part, that has nothing to do with actual constructive peace activism by the recipient???? Thats not my claim, but it is a reasonable assumption considering Obama’s award.
    The Norwegian’s diminished their own credibility, and will now pay the price. Unfortunately, so will recipients of this award who are actually deserving of it.

    Reply

  33. Don Bacon says:

    I’m sorry the guy’s in prison but his actions to change the form of government in China have met with disfavor by that government, which is hardly surprising and not unusual at all.
    The idea that while a fruitless ten-year war is raging in the world, with people being wantonly killed by a “peace prize” recipient, a new “peace prize” should be given to a human rights activist in China is ridiculous. How many people in the world think that human rights in China is a larger problem than the expanded AfPak war? I guess half a dozen people, and they’re all in Norway. They’re apparently aren’t many in China.
    Pew Global Attitudes Project
    June 17, 2010
    “In 20 of 22 countries surveyed, less than half the population is satisfied with the direction of the country, including only 30% of Americans. Lebanese (11%) are the least satisfied. Only in China does an overwhelming portion of the population (87%) express satisfaction with national conditions.
    “China is clearly the most self-satisfied country in the survey. Nine-in-ten Chinese are happy with the direction of their country (87%), feel good about the current state of their economy (91%) and are optimistic about China

    Reply

  34. Dan Kervick says:

    “Hasn’t the decision to soil the award by giving it to Barack Obama made the Nobel Peace Prize irrelevant?”
    You mean because Obama has escalated the war in Afghanistan?

    Reply

  35. WigWag says:

    “Liu Xiaobo wins the Nobel Peace Prize. Good choice.” (Dan Kervick)
    I have nothing against Mr. Liu, but the Nobel Peace Prize itself has become a joke. The science and economic prizes go to professional academic researchers who have made extraordinary contributions to their fields. The Peace Prize, as often as not, goes to the recipient representing the flavor of the month as determined by a bunch of politically correct Norwegian nobodies more concerned about advancing their warped view of the world than selecting worthy candidates. Sometimes, despite themselves, they make a decent selection; Mr. Liu may be one of those.
    Hasn’t the decision to soil the award by giving it to Barack Obama made the Nobel Peace Prize irrelevant?
    If not, it should have.

    Reply

  36. Dan Kervick says:

    Here’s the Nobel Committee’s Press release. I think they do a good job of calling on China to take the next step in accepting increased responsibility for sustaining the global rule of law, while lauding and not at all disparaging the tremendous accomplishments and progress China has made in building a better life for its people.
    “The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2010 to Liu Xiaobo for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China. The Norwegian Nobel Committee has long believed that there is a close connection between human rights and peace. Such rights are a prerequisite for the “fraternity between nations” of which Alfred Nobel wrote in his will.
    “Over the past decades, China has achieved economic advances to which history can hardly show any equal. The country now has the world’s second largest economy; hundreds of millions of people have been lifted out of poverty. Scope for political participation has also broadened.
    “China’s new status must entail increased responsibility. China is in breach of several international agreements to which it is a signatory, as well as of its own provisions concerning political rights. Article 35 of China’s constitution lays down that “Citizens of the People’s Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration”. In practice, these freedoms have proved to be distinctly curtailed for China’s citizens.
    “For over two decades, Liu Xiaobo has been a strong spokesman for the application of fundamental human rights also in China. He took part in the Tiananmen protests in 1989; he was a leading author behind Charter 08, the manifesto of such rights in China which was published on the 60th anniversary of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 10th of December 2008. The following year, Liu was sentenced to eleven years in prison and two years’ deprivation of political rights for

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  37. Dan Kervick says:

    Don, exactly what issues do you have with Liu Xiaobo? The Nobel Prize has frequently gone to political prisoners and dissidents working on behalf on human rights and political reform, especially when those individuals endorse a peaceful and non-violent approach to reform, as Liu has.

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  38. annie, oakley and buddy says:

    Hey, what’s with the panda pix? What are we, chopped liver? (okay, we kinda have that coloring, but still….) Our fan club want to see US!!!
    😉

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  39. Don Bacon says:

    Michael Cohen’s good and remember that George W. Bush is available as an elder statesman. I kind of miss him and his take on the terruh war.
    Bush: “They can’t stand the thought of a free society in the midst of a part of the world that’s just desperate for freedom. These people don’t like freedom. You know why? Because it clashes with their ideology. We actually misnamed the war on terror, it ought to be the struggle against ideological extremists who do not believe in free societies who happen to use terror as a weapon to try to shake the conscience of the free world. (Laughter.)
    “No, that’s what they do. They use terror to — and they use it effectively, because we’ve got good hearts. We’re people of conscience, they aren’t. They will cut off a person’s head like that, and not even care about it. That’s why I tell you, you can’t talk sense to them. Maybe some think you can, I don’t. I don’t think you can negotiate with them.”
    That panda pictured above makes more sense, actually.

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  40. Don Bacon says:

    The Norwegians blew it again with another sorry political choice, this time of Liu Xiaobo. It’s a dump-on-China decision that the stumbling Nobel committee has determined would be the best popular remedy for its mistake in naming a war-monger last year. As with Obama, it has nothing to do with peace. In this case it involves somebody the Chinese government has determined to be treasonous. (I wouldn’t go that far with Obama but I’m tempted.)
    I guess Norway needs better information. There is a major war raging that perhaps they haven’t heard about. Unlike in China, there are deaths, kidnappings, torture, imprisonment w/o due process, assassinations and all the other niceties of war. The Afghanistan war is currently expanding into Pakistan as ordered by the previous Nobel Peace Prize recipient.
    There are real people trying to end the war and working to promote real peace and this award again shows disdain for them. What part of peace doesn’t the Nobel committee understand.

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  41. Dan Kervick says:

    Liu Xiaobo wins the Nobel Peace Prize. Good choice.
    Steve, what do all your new Chinese friends think?

    Reply

  42. Dan Kervick says:

    “… encouraging alternative military strategies for thinking about and going after terrorists abroad.”
    Steve, I don’t see Michael Cohen’s name on the program. But you should try to encourage him to attend, since this is an issue he has been working for almost two years now in his Democracy Arsenal blog.
    Yesterday, Cohen Presented some initial reactions to the Woodward book. After citing a Jim Jones rah-rah GWOT pitch that would have been right at home in the previous administration, Cohen writes:
    “How did a President who ran as a candidate on the message that he would “change the mindset” of American foreign policy end up with a national security advisor completely mired in conventional, unnuanced, Cheney-esque thinking about American power? And keep in mind this is one of the people in the Administration who was opposed to the Afghan surge.”

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