May 2nd, 2012
07:55 PM ET

Letters to the President #1199: 'Breaking China?'

Reporter's Note: Each day I write a letter to President Obama. Sometimes he responds. No, just kidding. He never does.

Dear Mr. President,

Glad you made it home safely from your big trip overseas. Did you pick up any souvenirs? My guess is no, since you seemed fairly busy and it’s not like you were in the Kabul airport killing time in the gift shop.

I imagine now you are involved in talks about what to do…or not do…about this Chinese dissident who wants to come to the United States. Tough call, I suppose. We certainly have a long history of harboring those who suffer abuses and injustice at the hands of their own governments, however, we also have some pretty important common interests with the Chinese which could most certainly be affected if we handle this situation badly.

Note that I am not saying what we should or should not do; merely that it is a delicate situation.

Part of the issue is, in a way, the very thing you addressed in Afghanistan. Even when other governments around the globe ask for our help, that doesn’t necessarily mean they want us calling the shots. They may want our military might, or our economic clout, or our powers of diplomatic persuasion, but they rarely want us to flat out tell them what to do. And those are our friends!

So I would not be surprised if China chafes a bit over this whole matter. Again, depending on how it is handled.

Anyway, good luck with that. Otherwise, what’s new? Seems like we never talk.


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