My heart goes out to the Syrian people who are being killed, and I pray that the violence there would end soon. But I must note that the political rhetoric coming out of Ambassador Susan Rice’s mouth is a bit appalling. For one, to say that Russia and China have blood on their hands for vetoing the UN resolution conveniently ignores the fact that opposition groups the U.S. and Western nations have supported are just as bad or possibly worse than the ones deposed. Amnesty International has recently reported that there is widespread torture in Libya today by the freedom fighters that NATO backed. The Egyptian military who receives aid and training from the U.S., continues to torture its citizens as well. And now that U.S. troops have withdrawn from Iraq, Maliki ordered a wave of arrests, encircled ministers’ homes with tanks, and quickly consolidated power in the same fashion as Saddam Hussein. Many believe Iraq is now on the verge of a civil war. This is after hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths have already resulted from the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 as reported by Lancet. It is clear that something must be done to end the violence. But using charged political rhetoric to justify another invasion in order to install another dictator is the height of irresponsibility.
I had been invited to talk on KALW about my new book, but encountered push back from some callers accusing me of being anti-American because I tried to discuss China and its political economy in a rational manner. What became quickly apparent is the enormous prejudice people carry about China, which of course is reminiscent of the Japan-bashing during the 1980′s. My book never defends human rights abuses, yet callers, and even the radio host, could not seem to separate China from that single issue. Why single out and castigate China so severely when others have committed similar or worse offenses? To make an analogy, it is like hating your own father because he smokes and that is not agreeable with you. Who in his right mind would write off his own father for one mistake he is making? Similarly, why write off an entire country when its leaders make some mistakes? As I point out, no nation is perfect, and I don’t advocate all things China. But surely, China does do some things right, and the rational approach is to find out what that is. Here is what one commenter forwarded me in an email today after listening to the podcast: Continue reading