On May 14, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Michael H. Posner held a briefing on the U.S.-China Human Rights Dialogue. It was one of those briefings, you know — then somebody lobbed an innocent enough question to A/S Posner.
QUESTION: Did the recently passed Arizona immigration law come up? And, if so, did they bring it up or did you bring it up?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY POSNER: “We brought it up early and often. It was mentioned in the first session, and as a troubling trend in our society and an indication that we have to deal with issues of discrimination or potential discrimination, and that these are issues very much being debated in our own society.”
Apparently, that was not a very nice response to make from the podium. According to Josh Rogin of The Cable, “Arizona Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl released a statement Tuesday calling on Posner to issue a formal apology. They called his remarks “particularly offensive” and said he “seemed to imply [the Arizona law] is morally equivalent to China’s persistent pattern of abuse and repression of its people.”
Josh reports in an exclusive interview with Posner that the 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,” according to the DRL secretary. “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.”
Blake Hounshell asked in FP, “Can we have a grownup discussion about human rights?”
I don’t know, can we?
Oh, yes! Pleeeease — an apology, please. For saying these are issues currently being debated across this country. Because obviously that’s not true. Even I, have never heard of folks talk about such and such things, even in political rallies and such. Have you? Also an apology for saying that this is a troubling trend. Because we do not consider it a trend unless you get to a tipping point. And I get to say when is the tipping point. Right. Finally, an apology for saying that we have to deal with issues of discrimination or potential, potential discrimination. Because saying that obviously means we have some kind of discrimination here. And we know that simply is not true.
So yeah, go ahead and make that Mr. Posner apologize … force him to apologize for saying such things. And if he doesn’t apologize … what, ten lashes? We do that here, now?
Just so you know — I think, somewhere the Paramount Leader and Top Foreign Holder of US Treasuries at $889.0 billion is laughing his head off. Seriously. You can’t see him rolling on the floor, laughing at us, dudes?