This is notable.
Last week, we noted the unrestrained praise of Paul Ryan by prominent Democrats like Bill Clinton, Erskine Bowles and Oregon Senator Ron Wyden. Conversely, today brings criticism from Democratic Senator James Webb (Virginia) of the Obama Administration response to two years of Chinese aggression:
Over the past two years Japan and China have openly clashed in the Senkaku Islands, east of Taiwan and west of Okinawa, whose administration is internationally recognized to be under Japanese control. Russia and South Korea have reasserted sovereignty claims against Japan in northern waters. China and Vietnam both claim sovereignty over the Paracel Islands. China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei and Malaysia all claim sovereignty over the Spratly Islands, the site of continuing confrontations between China and the Philippines…
For all practical purposes China has unilaterally decided to annex an area that extends eastward from the East Asian mainland as far as the Philippines, and nearly as far south as the Strait of Malacca. China’s new ‘prefecture’ is nearly twice as large as the combined land masses of Vietnam, South Korea, Japan and the Philippines. Its ‘legislators’ will directly report to the central government.”
Senator Webb then criticizes our “muted” response in the face of Chinese expansionism:
In truth, American vacillations have for years emboldened China. U.S. policy with respect to sovereignty issues in Asian-Pacific waters has been that we take no sides, that such matters must be settled peacefully among the parties involved. Smaller, weaker countries have repeatedly called for greater international involvement. China, meanwhile, has insisted that all such issues be resolved bilaterally, which means either never or only under its own terms. Due to China’s growing power in the region, by taking no position Washington has by default become an enabler of China’s ever more aggressive acts.”
The Obama Administration’s behavior comes as no surprise to conservatives, given Obama’s lifelong inclination to vote “present” in the face of tough choices. The fact that Democrats so openly criticize him, however, must come as troubling news to the spin machine in Chicago.