Commentary Magazine


“A Little Nostalgic”

President Bush, in Lima for the APEC summit, participated in his last meeting with China’s Hu Jintao in his capacity as the free world’s leader.  How did Dubya react to saying goodbye to the Chinese autocrat on Friday?  “He said he felt very comfortable in their personal relationship and that he believes the relationship between our two countries is on solid ground,” said White House spokeswoman Dana Perino.  Bush told Hu he “felt a little nostalgic” about their final meeting.

Is that so? But imagine, for just a moment, what Mr. Hu must have felt at that sit-down.  My guess is that the enigmatic supremo is panicking at this moment, as he is about to lose the best friend his authoritarian state has had in decades.  Almost from the get-go, the Chinese have had their way with Bush.

Let’s go to the videotape.  Dubya apologized to the Chinese after they imprisoned the crew of our Navy EP-3 and stripped the plane of its electronic gear.  Then he acceded to a Chinese demand for payment for the crew’s food and lodging.  Bush then said nothing when Beijing attacked at least one of our satellites in 2006, and he’s been quiet about China’s daily cyber assaults against our military and civilian networks.  He has failed to protect American workers against grossly unfair Chinese trade practices, refusing to demand reciprocity.  He looked the other way as the Chinese supplied adulterated medicine and toxic products to American consumers, killing some of them.  He almost always took Beijing’s side against democratic Taiwan.  President Bush said nothing while China supplied small arms and components for roadside bombs to insurgents in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan.   His officials talk about China being a “responsible stakeholder” while it supports the nuclear weapons ambitions of Tehran and Pyongyang by blocking effective international sanctions at every turn and even supplying technology and materials.

So Beijing’s senior leaders will certainly feel “nostalgia” for President Bush after he leaves office.  But I certainly will not.  I put my country first.