Thursday, July 31, 2008

China Scrutiny

I'm glad I don't live in China, but they are moving in the right direction. As with any country, they are imperfect. Indeed, as a developing country, they are much less perfect than developed countries. But I think they need to ignore the brickbrats. China's president recently made a gesture to assuage their criticism, in light of the spotlight from the Olympics. I think it's good they understand their imperfections, but only in moderation. The WSJ reports:

Chinese President Hu Jintao, making an extremely rare direct address to the foreign media, defended his government's preparations for the coming Olympic Games in Beijing and pledged to continue reform policies despite increasing economic challenges.

Private apologies are often warranted, but public apologies are not. The Right was adamant that Clinton apologize for the Lewinsky affair, but that was just a camel's nose under the tent for more apologies and concessions. So too with the Left demanding that Bush apologize for getting WMD wrong. Every apology just leads to more requests: if you apologize for getting X wrong, why not do what you disagreed with when you asserted X?

As a prior litigant, I understand that there is a big difference between being reasonable with someone arguing in good faith, and being reasonable with someone who does not have good faith. A public apology will be used by everyone, and that will necessarily include lots of people with bad faith.

Your allies don't need apologies, they will understand mistakes are part of life; your enemies will use them against you.


Anonymous said...

"In 2007, each of China's 1.3 billion people emitted 5.1 tons of carbon, less than the 8.6 tons from each European and the 19.4 tons for each American"

Anonymous said...

So, by this post, you are equating/implying symettry:
Clinton's Lying About Sex with a tubby girl =
Bush invading a country over WMD's that didn't exist.

Also, FDR cheated on Eleanor = Hitler killed millions.
They should both appologize.

Eric Falkenstein said...

Clinton made a calculated lie, about something that is totally irrelevant. I don't think Bush lied, he just assumed they had WMD based on the data they had. Saddam was bluffing, but that's hindsight, most everyone thought he had the bad stuff and would use it. So, one could blame Bush for being wrong on something very important, but I think you can't lie if you believe what you are saying.

But that's kinda besides the point, which is: never make a public apology.