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Secretary Clinton in Tokyo *updated*

May 21, 2010

Secretary Clinton arrived in Tokyo.

Here is her schedule for today:

PM LOCAL (EDT + 11 hours) Secretary Clinton arrives in Tokyo, Japan.

4:00 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada, in Tokyo, Japan.

5:25 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton and Foreign Minister Okada hold a joint press availability, in Tokyo, Japan.

6:00 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, in Tokyo, Japan.

PM LOCAL (EDT + 12 hours) Secretary Clinton arrives in Shanghai, China.

And for those of you who are interested, here is an Op-Ed written by Secretary Clinton touting the wonderful bilateral relationship with Communist China.

Ok, criticism alert. I think this administration is waaaaaay too deferential to China (ie. our Banker) and I have yet to see any real concrete attempt to address China’s deplorable human rights situation. That Human Rights Dialogue that was hosted by the State Dept. the other week and which hardly anyone heard anything about, seems to have been geared more towards preventing the human rights issue from rearing its head on this current trip to Asia, than toward any real substantive attempt to have an actual human rights policy or plan with respect to China. And that is why I didn’t bother posting anything about it. After I read the briefing by Assistant Secretary Posner and saw that not only did Secretary Clinton have no real part in the dialogue, but that the US had agreed to not make the subject-matter of their human rights discussions with the Chinese delegation available publicly, I got really annoyed.

If the administration is going to argue that publicly discussing China’s human rights problems is ineffective, then how do we rationalize publicly denouncing the human rights abuses of nations like Cuba, Burma, Iran etc.? Basically, it would seem that human rights abuses are worth addressing publicly only if there is no political cost to doing so. And that sends a confusing, dangerous message. It also damages our moral authority on the topic.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, arrives at Haneda international airport in Tokyo, Japan, Thursday, May 20, 2010. Clinton's three-nation Asia tour is likely to be dominated by a new crisis with North Korea, this time accused by sinking a South Korean naval ship with a deadly torpedo attack. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama)

14 Comments leave one →
  1. Kate permalink
    May 21, 2010 5:46 am

    I love the stripes 🙂
    She always looks so beautiful.

  2. Jackie permalink
    May 21, 2010 10:26 am

    It looks kind of nautical. She is very beautiful.

    I think the Pres. doesn’t wan’t Hillary to say too much about the human rights issue. I’m sure if she did, she would let it all out. She has a strong record on standing up for these issues. I am sure she want’s to tell them exactly how she feels, but unfortunately she is not the President.

    • May 21, 2010 11:27 am

      Jackie- I know she has a strong record on it, which almost frustrates me more because I want to hear her speak out more forcefully on the issue.

      I think Obama is too deferential to China to the point where we seem weak. While we certainly need China, but they need us just as much and I wish Obama would remember that. We concede way to much.

      I just don’t like the strategy of essentially allowing “important” countries to violate human rights at will with very little condemnation by the US while we harshly criticize countries like Cuba and Iran because it’s politically popular to do so.

      • Jackie permalink
        May 21, 2010 11:48 am

        I completely agree with you, but I think if she was the President she would have some choice words for all human rights violators.

      • discourseincsharpminor permalink
        May 21, 2010 1:56 pm

        Her strategic silence on China’s abysmal human rights record irks me to no end. I know that she isn’t president and that she is there merely to deliver his message and ideas to the world, but I can’t help remembering that she wasn’t president in 1995 either. She was a lot closer to that president than this one, but if anything she should’ve had less power as first lady.

        In 1995, it was “women’s rights are human rights.” In 2010, it’s “what some call a right others call a privilege and we have to accept that.”

        I would love to say that I believe that if she were president she would take all human rights abusers to task, but her silence has eroded my confidence. I’m a bit too cynical for that. Honestly, I trust her a little bit less now.

      • plural permalink
        May 21, 2010 3:54 pm

        You are making the point: It’s the president who decides the policy. The president in 1995 approved her saying what she did; this one has a different policy.

        In neither case was she in charge.

        If she were president, she would decide what to say and how and when to say it. Sadly, we won’t get to know what that is.

      • rachel permalink
        May 21, 2010 4:11 pm

        I agree plural.

      • Kate permalink
        May 21, 2010 7:07 pm

        I think one of the reasons she is not speaking up that loudly in public, is the fact that in opposite to 1995 when she was first lady she is secretary of state today which makes her an official part of the administration (back then she was more of an above all, close to the president person in a position that never before and never again been occupied by anyone in that special way).
        As an official part of the administration she has to follow certain rules of culture and diplomacy and that includes in china:
        1)smile and be polite
        2)do not let the public and the press know of potential diffrences or at least try to put on a show that creates the impression everything went well
        3) discuss pressing business and huge disagreements behind closed doors


        4) if you want to convince china to be more forthcoming and more open towards anything that has to do with human rights
        – have a lot of patience

        There is also one more thing. You cannot criticise china openly by telling all the world something like: “china violates human rights because…” – you have to do it indirect like hillary did in 1995: “It is a violation of human rights when women are denied the right to plan their own families, and that includes being forced to have abortions or being sterilized against their will.”
        I do think hillary pushes the issue to some degree (behind closed doors) whether Obama likes it or not.

  3. rachel permalink
    May 21, 2010 1:00 pm

    Basically a rant alert

    Yeah well, it seems that this administration has gotten into the habit of letting other countries criticize us. It’s not cool to be pro american we can do no right right now, so why would we go criticize our banker China? A little off topic how much do you want a bet that when Hillary goes to nations to criticize their policy that she doesn’t get a standing ovation like half congress gave the president of mexico. I cant beleive we didnt at least question his immigration policy which is much worse than ours.

  4. pondskipper permalink
    May 21, 2010 5:48 pm

    I agree with your feelings over human right abuses Stacy and the comments of all those above. It is really hard when you feel strongly about something to see it apparently being side lined or treated with less urgency by those who can speak out, and that includes Hillary. But politics is a messy imperfect business and I guess sometimes other pressures and needs take centre stage instead. It is difficult I think to draw a comparison between the actions of a First Lady (who I think has no official constitutional role, is this right?) speaking at a Women’s Conference about Women’s Human Rights and the Secretary of State undertaking an official diplomatic tour to countries whose support is needed in vital area such as a UN resolution on sanctions against Iran etc. Does that excuse the silence? In a perfect world probably not but politics is the art of the possible and that sometimes means having to choose when and where to speak out.
    I love the nautical stripes, very chic.

  5. May 21, 2010 7:51 pm

    I would certainly not expect Hillary to go to China and be disrespectful and lecture them on human rights in their own backyard. And I do understand the need for pragmatism in light of our utterly infuriating dependence on China (you’d think we as a country would be doing more to LESSEN that dependence!). I also agree with Secy Clinton that it’s important to pursue human rights in a way that hopefully will produce results. But my problem is that we have been so overly-deferential to China from day one, it seems unlikely that China feels any pressure whatsoever.

    I also think that with China, we simply can’t completely separate economic issues from human rights issues- one of the many reasons China is kicking our ass economically [in some ways] is because they have provided an environment where greedy US corporations (and others) can relocate and do business dirt cheap by taking advantage of slave labor, no environmental, labor or safety regulations [among other things], thus allowing them an inherent advantage in terms of business and trade. So trying to get China to play by generally accepted international rules regarding human rights has an impact on economics.

    Because of Secretary Clinton’s stature on the world stage and the fact that she is admired around the world, she is uniquely suited to be able to promote change on the human rights front, more so than any of her predecessors. I believe that it is possible to forge a positive economic and foreign policy relationship with China while still making it clear that we have certain expectations with respect to human rights. And we don’t have to go it alone- there is strength in numbers- the EU and other countries could help us send a unified message. China HATES bad press and will do almost anything to avoid it. And thus for the State Dept. to apparently agree to keep all discussions of human rights behind closed doors and going so far as to refuse to discuss issues which are raised with China, seems overly-accommodating. If China believes the U.S. ultimately will let them get away with anything, no matter how horrific, undemocratic and draconian, then there is no incentive for them to change. And of course, if the State Dept. believes that private encouragement works better than public discussions about human rights, then why do we constantly berate Cuba, Venezuela, etc. publicly and VERY harshly? We can’t be seen as picking and choosing when and where we’ll take a stand on human rights and democratic principles, can we?

    The U.S. is the world superpower and we like to throw our weight around when we so choose. The fact is, many in the world look to the US as an example on a lot of issues- defense, economics and also human rights. Yes, we have faults- just look at the War on Terror and indefinite detentions and torture etc. But one of the great things Secy Clinton has done is to speak honestly about how those faults are problematic to our foreign policy and how we still have to improve- something Bush & Co. would NEVER have done.

    • Jackie permalink
      May 21, 2010 11:21 pm

      I agree with you, though I do think Hillary want’s to speak out.

    • Carolyn-Rodham permalink
      May 23, 2010 11:52 pm

      Stacy, I’m coming in a day late on this discussion (and dying to get to The Bomb!) but I think the key phrase in your last comment is “…has agreed to keep all discussions about human rights behind closed doors…” — meaning, it’s quite possible she IS engaging the Chinese privately on this issue without resorting to calling them out publically. Aren’t there many examples of accords reached privately where one party (the US) is able to persuade another party (China) to meet halfway and make concessions without losing face on the international stage? Isn’t that the essence of diplomacy? I have no idea if Hillary is getting into more of a spirited debate privately with the Chinese, but I like to think that’s the case!
      Ok, on to the Bomb!

  6. PYW permalink
    May 21, 2010 9:08 pm

    I agree with plural. Obama is ultimately in charge on this. Perhaps Hillary wants to be more outspoken; we just don’t know.

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