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How Dare You Mention Human Rights, Hitch!

Left-wing bloggers are ashudder at Christopher Hitchens's latest Slate column, in which he plainly lays out the rather obvious case that the People's Republic of China is an expansionist, thuggish bully. Both to to the countries in its own neighborhood … Read More

By / October 4, 2007

Left-wing bloggers are ashudder at Christopher Hitchens's latest Slate column, in which he plainly lays out the rather obvious case that the People's Republic of China is an expansionist, thuggish bully. Both to to the countries in its own neighborhood (namely, Taiwan), as well as to the unfortunate souls who happen to live in the countries ruled by the the friends of the Chinese Central Communist Party (Burmese, Darfurians, Zimbabweans et. al). The following is the offensive passage:

China also maintains territorial claims against India and Vietnam (and, of course, Taiwan) and is building a vast army, as well as a huge oceangoing navy, to back up these ambitions. It seems an eon ago, because it was before Sept. 11, 2001, but we should not forget what happened when an American aircraft was involved in a midair collision over Hainan island in the early days of this administration. The Chinese acted as if the accident was deliberate, impounded the plane and the crew for several days, and mounted mass demonstrations of hysterical chauvinism. Events in the Middle East have since obscured this menacing picture, but actually it is in that region that China's cynical statecraft is most obviously on display. If Beijing had had its way, Saddam Hussein would still be in power. Iran is being supplied with Chinese Silkworm missiles. Most horribly of all, China buys most of the oil of Sudan and in return provides the weaponry—and the diplomatic cover at the United Nations—for the cleansing of Darfur."

To this, the leftist blog "Lawyers, Guns and Money" asks "Is there anything that Bill Kristol says that won't eventually find its way into Christopher Hitchens Mouth?" (which the always lovely Eric Alterman cites, Matthew Yglesias snarks, "Oh, good. Word on the street is that back in the CPA days they said 'real men go to Teheran.' Obviously, though, the really real hawks of the world are the China hawks."

None of Hitchens's assertions are false. He's merely stating the cold, hard facts about the despicable regime in Beijing. And what can the left muster? Smear Hitch as Bill Kristol's butt-buddy. Make light of the Chinese connection to the murder of thousands of Buddhist monks. Ignore Sino-American relations completely. The netleft doesn't have time for policy analysis when it comes to these difficult foreign policy issues; they're too busy being wiseasses. They don't have anything to offer about foreign policy today, so they just ignore the actual, geo-political issues at stake and just hurl insults at anyone who dares express concern for the plight of captive peoples abroad. Because to do that would be tantamount to neo-con warmongering. We've really come to the point now where, for the most widely read of liberal bloggers, the mere mention of human rights abuses in foreign countries is met with cries of "Warmonger!" or, even worse, "Neo-con!" Well, if talking about Iran's murdering of American troops in Iraq or China's support for the Burmese junta qualifies me as either of these epithets, I'd rather be a "neo-con warmonger" than adhere to the nihilism expressed by the likes of Matthew Yglesias and Eric Alterman.

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