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May 24, 2011
Jon Huntsman: The Mandarin Candidate 'Resets'
Jon Huntsman has come home from China. He gave an address this week in Manchester, New Hampshire. Many are expecting the former U.S. Ambassador to the People's Republic to announce that he is running for president as a Republican. In the "Live Free or Die" Granite State, Huntsman declared:
That was a "broad statement that will required more explanation," wrote noted columnist Dan Balz of the Washington Post. For once, I have to agree with the liberal commentator.
What exactly does this mean? Why does Ambassador Huntsman employ this particular word -- reset? That word was basically unheard outside of techie circles until two years ago. Then, "reset" was associated with the Obama-Clinton policy on Russia, not China.
Recall, Hillary Clinton famously presented Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with the red, plastic "reset" button. It meant that we would let the Russians take a Mulligan on their brutal aggression against Georgia in 2008. We wouldn't mention anything about those Russian journalists who keep turning up, mysteriously dead. We wouldn't get pushy about Russian pressure against Ukraine.
Let's just reset. The only problem with resetting with the Russians was that Hillary got the spelling of the Russian word for reset wrong. Her State Department cookie pushers translated the word in Russian as "overcharge." Well, we are still paying the Russians to dismantle their nuclear arsenals (the effect of which is to allow them to modernize their rusting missile silos and send us the bill. So, overcharge is exactly what they are doing to us, but that's not what Hillary meant. It was a mere screw-up, she laughed. Hillary knows all about screw-ups. Sergei Lavrov was not amused.
He should have been. No sooner had we reset our relations, than we discovered that Mr. Lavrov had sent spies to the U.S. The Obama administration announced their capture with great fanfare -- and just as quickly packed them up and sent them back to Russia.
No harsh interrogation. They didn't even wanded or patted down at the airport.
The president and Hillary didn't want anything to come between them and a successful summit with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev. Obama took the Russian official shot to a Northern Virginia eatery for hamburgers. The president seemed not to notice when Medvedev was stealing his French fries.
It was not until last December that the Russians really ate our lunch. That's when Obama and Hillary Clinton rammed their one-sided reset START treaty with Russia through a lame-duck Senate
We will hear a lot, no doubt, about how skilled Ambassador Huntsman is and how well he represented us in Beijing. Every story about the former Utah Governor marvels about the fact that he is fluent in Mandarin Chinese.
Diplomats, of course, are skilled in the use of words. So, why is it he chose to use that Obama-Clinton word, reset? Did he apply that word to our relations with China while he was there? Can he tell us one good thing that happened in U.S.-Chinese relations while he served as Mr. Obama's envoy there?
Did the Chinese give up their publicly stated plans to take Taiwan, by force if necessary?
Did the Chinese agree to pressure North Korea to stop its nuclear program? Did the Chinese relent in their "one child" policy that has led to millions of forced abortions?
Did they help us apply tough sanctions to Iran?
In short, what did we Americans gain from his having been President Obama's choice to represent us in China? It seems that when Obama was riding high, Jon Huntsman was riding behind him in the saddle. When the ride got rougher, Huntsman jumped off and claimed he was only going along to serve his country. If only Charlie Crist could speak Mandarin. Wouldn't he be the perfect replacement for Jon Huntsman in Beijing?