The Right Opinion

Bad News Abroad, Good News at Home

By Rich Galen · Sep. 21, 2012

As part of the continuing success story that is the foreign policy of Barack Obama, the U.S. Ambassador to China, Gary Locke, found his car surrounded by protesters, blocked, and pelted with plastic water bottles.

This, directly in front of the American embassy.

He claimed he felt he was never in any danger and the Chinese have “expressed regret” and, the U.S. State Department has expressed the same exact level of outrage as it has exhibited in the attacks on other Embassies around the world.

Which is to say, none.

The protesters were apparently expressing their disagreement with the Japanese over some islands that appear to be in dispute between China and Japan.

Here are the new rules around the world. Angry at a film on YouTube? Attack an American embassy. Mad about a cartoon in a French newspaper? Burn an American flag. Cranky about some islands in the East China Sea? Throw things at the American Ambassador.

Leading from behind, my friends. Leading from behind.

Meanwhile Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared all USAID workers personae non gratae as he continues to consolidate power. The over/under on Putin naming himself Tsar is three months to one year.

Most of the USAID workers involved in democracy building which, CNN reported:

“Senior Russian officials have said that some of the agency’s programs, such as some human rights groups and election monitoring, have undermined Russia’s sovereignty, according to the state news agency RIA Novosti.”

I have to be honest. If the Russians sent a bunch of government employees to muck around in our political process – hanging around the conventions, slipping notes under the doors of voters, and holding meetings to talk about what’s wrong with the American system – I suspect we’d be very happy to toss them out on their Russian butts.

But the USAID mission was more than democracy-building. According to NBC the mission in Russia included working to “fight AIDS there, fight tuberculosis, help orphans, help the disabled, combat trafficking, support Russian programs in the environmental area, wildlife protection.”

To the tune of $50 million per year.

Help me out here. Russia is not Kenya nor Tanzania. It is not Cambodia nor Laos.

It’s Russia.

Used to be a superpower. Has (according to the CIA World Factbook) the world’s 7th largest economy; the world’s 8th largest reserves of oil (just behind the UAE); and, the second largest natural gas reserves (behind the U. S. of A.)

Why would we be spending 50 cents, much less $50 million on any kind of aid to Russia.

Obviously it is not helping to establish democratic institutions; Putin is trampling them as quickly as they spring up.

If the Russians – with all their resources – don’t want to help orphans and the disabled; or protect wildlife and the environment, well then, how does that fall to American taxpayers to fill in the gaps?

I am certainly not anti-foreign aid. Nor am I anti-US Agency for International Development.

Their work in third world nations saves many lives and makes many other lives better.

But, at some point we have to look at these things program-by-program and say to countries who can afford to do these things themselves: “We’ll send in subject matter experts, but the host country has to hire USAID to provide them, including salaries, travel, housing, and all the other expense that come along with having an American in Russia or China.

"China,” you ask? Yes. From the USAID web page you and I are paying to teach the Chinese how to advance “clean energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is working with China to improve environmental law and environmental governance.”

Hell, we can’t even do that in Texas much less Shanghai.

* * *

I am writing this from Nationals Park where the Nats clinched their first post-season position since 1933 when they were the Washington Senators.

The Nats came to Washington in 2005 and, from the All-Star break in that year onward have been not just a bad team; but an awful team. As post-game analyst Phil Wood said last night “for most of their history in Washington, the turning point in the season has been the National Anthem on opening day.”

Last night, reliever Drew Storen came in for the 9th inning against the LA Dodgers, and struck out the side to clinch at least a wild card spot in the post-season.

It was a bigger deal to the crowd than to the players. The crowd of 30,300 went nuts on the strike three call; the players went through their usual hand-shaking at the pitchers mound.

I also recognize it was a bigger deal to me, than to you; but thanks for indulging me.

On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: A link to the video of Ambassador Locke’s car being attacked and to the CNN report on USAID being thrown out of Russia.

Also a Mullfoto of the final pitch in last night’s historic Nationals game.

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