Friday, April 27, 2012

Would Turnabout Be Fair Play?

I know this is really terrible of me, and I feel really guilty about it, but I couldn't resist: Suppose the Chinese government surrounded the US embassy and played Beijing opera arias at top volume nonstop until the Americans surrendered Mr. Chen.  Would Americans think that was funny and cool, as they did when our forces used this tactic in a similar case?*  Or when our friends have done it?

I feel guilty for this idea because I hope Chen Guangcheng makes good his escape.  I'd feel the same way if Bradley Manning somehow managed to escape custody and seek shelter in an embassy somewhere, though I can't imagine what country would give him asylum; whistleblowers and dissidents aren't really very popular anywhere.

*Of course there's no real comparison between Manuel Noriega, who was driven from the Vatican embassy in Panama by high-volume recorded serenades of "Highway to Hell" and other American classics, and the Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng.  As this blogger said, Noriega was "a pimp, a human right abused [sic] and a drug dealer."  He was, however, our pimp, human rights abuser and drug dealer, like so many fine leaders and friends of democracy around the world.  "Washington also looked the other way during the 1984 elections in Panama," when Noriega's chosen presidential candidate conveniently won; as usual in US apologetics, "looked the other way" is of course inaccurate: the Reagan regime sent Secretary of State George Shultz, Noriega's longtime patron, to attend the inauguration of Noriega's proxy.  Five years later Noriega had become too full of himself, so the Bush I regime removed him, along with a rather large number of Panamanian civilians, and installed a more loyal and tractable client in his place.