God help Mr. Chen and his family. He made a critical error in seeking American assistance. Now he and his family will experience prolonged agony at the hands of the faction of the Chinese Communist Party that hold them.
- Colonel Paul YinglingNobody who wins a war indulges in a bifurcated definition of victory. War is a political act; victory and defeat have meaning only in political terms. A country incapable of achieving its political objectives at an acceptable cost is losing the war, regardless of battlefield events.
Bifurcating victory (e.g. winning militarily, losing politically) is a useful salve for defeated armies. The "stab in the back" narrative helped take the sting out of failure for German generals after WWI and their American counterparts after Vietnam.
All the same, it's nonsense. To paraphrase Vince Lombardi, show me a political loser, and I'll show you a loser.
A President needs a bold and coherent vision and the leadership capacity to rally the nation via investments in education, science, etc. Transformational leaders along the lines of an FDR, JFK, or Reagan who could do so are also not common. Given the absence of transformational leadership, it is not too surprising that the nation lacks a broad vision and appetite for risktaking in the critical sectors of tomorrow ranging from space to alternative energy. Instead, the nation's overall aspirations have continued to narrow. As a result, the U.S. is at growing risk of becoming a status quo state, even as the world around it continues to change. With enormous fiscal imbalances looming in the medium- and long-term, the current lack of vision and boldness could well result in a temptation to make drastic but shortsighted reductions in investment, in a bid to avoid politically contentious but essential structural changes to taxes and mandatory spending programs. Such an outcome could further limit the nation's strategic flexibility. Today, the U.S. still has a lot of flexibility. Maintaining a business as usual course will lead to far less flexibility tomorrow. The opportunity cost will be the increased possibility that another country or group of countries will achieve qualitative breakthroughs that make it possible to leapfrog the U.S. in one or more critical sectors or technologies, some of which may have military as well as consumer implications.
Finally, a President also has only limited latitude. If the nation is to become more competitive, the private sector will also need to join the effort. Corporate R&D will have to increase markedly. Yet, with the economy still recovering, the private sector remains abnormally risk-averse, focusing on increased short-term profits via cost minimization, but at the risk of foregoing much larger future profits due to reduced R&D, etc.
Last edited by donsutherland1; 05-02-12 at 08:50 PM.
America can't turn things around for itself without a transformation of the political culture. Domestic opponents in America treat each other as if they were Nazi Germany.
The divisions within the American body politic blot out a consciousness of a common fate and shared interests. This lack of shared consciousness has been experienced by other peoples in the past. It usually results in bad things happening to those people.
"...'I would like to say to President Obama: please do everything you can to get our family out,' Chen told CNN, according to a translation of his quote.
He also accused US embassy officials of pushing him hard to leave the safety of the embassy on Wednesday where he had sought refuge for six days after fleeing his home in the eastern province of Shandong.
'The embassy kept lobbying me to leave and promised to have people stay with me in the hospital, but this afternoon, as soon as I checked into the hospital room, I noticed they were all gone,' Chen told CNN by phone."
China activist appeals to Obama to get him to US - Yahoo! News Canada
The state security bureau that had Mr. Chen under house arrest has been humiliated that he escaped and sought shelter in the US Embassy of all places.
The Party is going to make an example of Mr. Chen, and make Mr. Obama lose face in the process. That's why Chen was allowed to invoke the name of Mr. Obama for protection. The Chinese people are going to see that invoking American protection comes to naught.