web analytics
March 30, 2015 / 10 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


J.E. Dyer: A Tale of Two Embassies

A Chinese guard in Tiananmen Square

A Chinese guard in Tiananmen Square
Photo Credit: Jorge Novominsky/Flash90

Jimmy Carter may have sounded grudging about his government’s support to the Pentecostals, but he was president in a time when Americans did not doubt that communist governments were brutally oppressive, and that helping their embattled citizens, however diplomatically discordant it might be, was simply the right thing to do.  We were prepared at different levels of government to deal with the possibility, because we knew what state collectivism was, and we knew that people would seek help to get away from it.

The preparedness was not universal, of course.  A Soviet sailor who leaped from his freighter – twice – as it sat pierside in a Louisiana port in 1985, hoped to obtain asylum in the US, but was turned back over to his Soviet superiors by two US Border Patrol agents.  (The freighter was loading grain, which the US was selling the USSR to relieve the suffering of the Soviet people, incident to their 67th annual crop failure since the 1917 revolution.)  The State Department became involved only after the sailor had been handed back over to the ship’s master, and although the interpreter who conveyed his wishes to the Border Patrol agents had been clear that Miroslav Medvid was seeking asylum, Time described what followed in this manner:

When the State Department belatedly learned of the incident 13 hours afterward, it persuaded Soviet officials to let Medvid be interviewed. He was examined and questioned by State Department representatives as well as by the Navy doctor and Air Force psychiatrist, both of whom concluded that he was not under the influence of drugs and was competent to decide what he wanted to do. While his ship’s skipper, its doctor and two Soviet diplomats watched, Medvid insisted that he had merely fallen overboard and had no intention of deserting.

The psychiatrist, however, said the evidence showed that Medvid had jumped “purposefully from his ship” and that when he was returned to it, he “probably felt very afraid of the consequences and very much trapped in a corner.” The Soviets apparently threatened to retaliate against the sailor’s family at home, and he became “rather guilty at having jeopardized their safety,” the psychiatrist theorized. The State Department ruled that he could not be held against his expressed wishes and let him return to the Konev.

There are parallels with the Chen situation in just about every previous instance of refuge-seeking by the oppressed from communist nations.  Of all the arms of the US government that ought still to be attuned to the likelihood of these cases, the US embassy in Beijing would seem to be at the top of the list.  The key difference today appears to be the basic posture of the US government. As regards China specifically, we should not pin that exclusively on the Obama administration.  There has very much been an attitude for the last 20 years that, with the Cold War over, it is outdated to see China through the human-rights lens of the Cold War.

When China proves clearly just how apposite that Cold War lens still is, it may be that a US administration is caught flat-footed.  The “tactical” particulars of the situation – Chen’s unexpected arrival at the embassy, the publicity, and his family’s peril in the hands of the Chinese authorities – meant that the embassy could not easily pursue a quiet plan to help his whole family leave the country.

But that is the sort of tactically inconvenient situation that is likely to arise with people in great trouble.  If we don’t see China, from a strategic perspective, as a source of such situations, we won’t be operationally prepared for them.

Once they do happen, a US administration has discretion over how it responds, and on that head, the Obama administration deserves criticism.  The whole world knows the peril Chen and his family are in.  The right approach here is not to seek a “solution” that gets the governments of China and the US off the hook; it’s to stand by Chen and demand that he be treated with the respect for his rights understood in the Helsinki Accords.  While China is not a signatory to the Accords, their standard for freedom, travel and emigration, and reunification of families is the touchstone to be invoked in this instance.

If we do not believe that, enough to stand up for it when it is inconvenient to our other diplomatic plans, then there was little point in winning the Cold War.  Indeed, if our fear of angering China is greater than our commitment to the freedoms Chen Guangcheng is relying on us to defend, then we didn’t win the Cold War after all.

http://hotair.com/greenroom/archives/2012/05/03/a-tale-of-two-embassies/

About the Author: J.E. Dyer is a retired US Naval intelligence officer who served around the world, afloat and ashore, from 1983 to 2004.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “J.E. Dyer: A Tale of Two Embassies”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
PLO / PA / Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas.
PA Back Down on ICC in Exchange for Frozen Tax Revenue
Latest Indepth Stories
Father Gabriel Naddaf with soldiers

My beliefs & actions have led to numerous death threats against me; my excommunication by my church

Islamic Relief Worldwide Logo

In November 2014, Islamic Relief Worldwide was classified as a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates.

Safran-032715

Too rarely appreciated for its symbolic weight; it can represent freedom and independence.

Erica Pelman is a spiritually-driven woman. She is founder and director of “In Shifra’s Arms” (ISA), an organization that offers aid to pregnant Jewish women of all religious backgrounds practically, financially and emotionally. Its arms are open to any pregnant woman in need whether single, divorced, separated, or from a financially-strapped family. “Presently, we are […]

Many so-called “humanitarian NGOs” frequently abuse Israel by applying false moral equivalencies

Israeli history now has its version of “Dewey Defeats Truman” with headlines from 2 anti-Bibi papers

In God’s plan why was it necessary that Moses be raised by Pharaoh, away from his own family&people?

In their zechus may we all come to appreciate that life is a fleeting gift and resolve to spend every precious moment of it as if it were the last.

In any event, Mr. Netanyahu after the election sought to soften his statement on Palestinian statehood and apologized for what he conceded were remarks that “offended some Israeli citizens and offended members of the Israeli Arab community.”

A worthy idea any way you look at it.

There is something quite distinctive about the biblical approach to time.

The Waqf kept control of the Temple Mount due to Dayan’s “magnanimity in victory” after 6 Day war

The event promotes “1 state” solution (end of Israel as a Jewish State), BDS, lawfare against Israel

I rescued you?! You’re doing me a favor letting me help you!

More Articles from J. E. Dyer
An oil tanker off Haifa's coast.

Israel has never invoked the agreement, but Israel sources say that its importance lies in its very existence.

McCaskill-McCain

The Senate formed a bipartisan panel investigating money from the Obama adm. to an anti-Bibi group

Bibi built the case for stopping Iran and showed there are more choices than “A Deal” or “Attack”

Making this deal with Iran would, in fact, guarantee an explosion of countermoves in the region.

An Israeli strike could theoretically damage Iran’s nuclear program; only US can terminate program

Obama’s Syrian policy failures created the current situation in the Golan Heights.

Remnants of Assad’s nuclear program are alive and well, under the control of Hezbollah and Iran

Under Obama, US foreign policy is losing sanity & common sense in diplomatic representation abroad

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/j-e-dyer/j-e-dyer-a-tale-of-two-embassies/2012/05/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: