Friday, May 21, 2010

State Department Deputy Says His Comments About China And Arizona Were Taken Out of Context

I quoted a substantial section to give it some context, but here is his explanation.

"Now comes the spin:

[T]hose comments were taken out of context and the discussion of the law was meant to show the differences between how a free society handles human rights issues and the restrictive practices enforced in China, Posner tells The Cable in an exclusive interview.

“The broader context in which this was raised was to discuss the political openness of this society and the value of an open debate,” Posner said. “We never did get into the merits of the Arizona law. It was not in any way a comparison between that law and any specific law or practice in China.”…

“I should have been clearer, what I was saying is that there is broader issue in [American] society about discrimination and we need constantly and always to be addressing that issue,” he said…

“The only thing that was said [about Arizona's law] was that the debate is about a law that some critics would say has the unintended consequence to discriminate against legal or illegal residents. We did not comment on the particulars of whether that’s true or not,” Posner explained.

In other words, supposedly State offered no opinion to the Chinese about whether Arizona’s law actually does violate human rights but brought it up — “early and often” — as an example of how mature democracies debate sensitive issues like discrimination. Okay. (1) By Posner’s own account, the statute was introduced in the context of confessing our national sins so as to make the Chinese more forthcoming. That would seem to imply a certain … value judgment about the law, would it not? Which, of course, dovetails nicely with Posner’s own description of the statute just last week as part of a “troubling trend in our society.” I’ve given up on expecting administration officials to actually read the law, but if you’re going to badmouth it, own it."

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