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Embassy Row: ‘Stain’ on the U.N.
Question of the Day
Susan E. Rice this week denounced the U.N. Security Council for failing to condemn Syria's government, calling its inaction a "moral and strategic disgrace," in her final remarks as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
Although she avoided mentioning China and Russia in her rebuke, her words were clearly aimed at the two nations that repeatedly vetoed Security Council resolutions that would have cited President Bashar Assad for human rights violations in Syria's 27-month-old civil war. She noted that the "majority" of the 15-member panel supported resolutions.
"The repeated failure of the Security Council to unify on the crucial issue of Syria, I think, is a stain on this body and something that I will forever regret," Ms. Rice said. "The council's inaction is a moral and strategic disgrace that history will judge harshly."
Russia and China used their veto powers to block resolutions once in 2011 and twice last year.
"We have been paralyzed, and I don't know how in any circumstance one could ascribe that to a failure of U.S. policy or U.S. leadership when the vast majority of the council was ready and willing to move ahead," she said.
Mrs. Rice is leaving the United Nations to serve as President Obama's national security adviser, a position that requires no Senate confirmation.
Mr. Obama had considered nominating her to replace Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state, but she withdrew after Republicans in Congress objected to her misleading televised statements after September's terrorist attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Libya.
COMMUNISM STILL LIVES
A Chinese dissident who was awarded a major anti-communism prize in Washington this month recalled that he was a starry-eyed protester 24 years ago, when he joined pro-democracy protests in Beijing's Tiananmen Square.
Yang Jianli said he was as guileless then as many China hands in Washington are today in thinking that Beijing's communist government eventually will embrace democracy because it adopted a form of state-controlled capitalism.
"This is very naive thinking. It is as naive as I was in 1989 in Tiananmen Square. Never did it enter my mind that any reasonable, legitimate government would turn on its citizens with such brutality," he said, referring to the Chinese military that crushed the unarmed demonstrators.
Mr. Yang, now a U.S. resident, was imprisoned for five years when he returned to China in 2002 to investigate labor unrest. U.S. pressure helped free him in 2007. He is the latest recipient of the Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom from the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.
Foundation Chairman Lee Edwards dismissed those who believe communism died with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
"Ask political prisoner in China's laogai whether communism is dead," he said, referring to Chinese labor camps.
"Ask Cuba's Ladies in White whether communism is dead," he added, referring to pro-democracy protesters in Havana.
"Ask the Christians and Buddhists of Vietnam who are not allowed to practice their faith whether communism is dead."
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who fled Cuba with her family in 1960, called herself a "victim of communism who understands the horrors" of "this misguided ideology."
"The Cold War may be over," said the Florida Republican and former chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. "But let us not forget that our fight against communism is far from over and much work still needs to be done.
• Embassy Row is published on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. James Morrison can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @EmbassyRow.
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About the Author
James Morrison joined the The Washington Times in 1983 as a local reporter covering Alexandria, Va. A year later, he was assigned to open a Times bureau in Canada. From 1987 to 1989, Mr. Morrison was The Washington Times reporter in London, covering Britain, Western Europe and NATO issues. After returning to Washington, he served as an assistant foreign editor ...
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