I love reading GJim DeMint, Wired,com, U S State department, arrison Keillor. He iseverything I am not. He is kindly. He is patient. He is thoughtful. He is, presumably,solvent. Not only that, he writes really well. Must be his education as an English major.However, in the commentary he published in yesterday's
, I think he got itentirely wrong. In his article, he praised Senator Harry Reid, D, Nevada. He praised theSenator, in essence, for being kind, patient, thoughtful and, presumably, solvent. All of these virtues are just swell. Unfortunately, none of these virtues are very useful if youwant to be a political leader in a rough and tumble arena.I suspect you could assign the same list of virtues to our President. How he could be thatway and have survived the politics of Chicago is beyond me but it is increasinglyapparent that he did just that.I think the "let's us just all get along" philosophy the President has taken toward hisdomestic detractors is an example of these sterling qualities. I also think this comesacross as political incompetence.Maybe the President or, at least, some of his subordinates recognize this tendency. Maybethat is why, all of a sudden, the U S State Department rose up upon its mighty haunchesand made a clear statement of policy about something. Of all things, the departmentdecided to draw a line in the sand over a "free" internet.Internet freedom, that is, uncensored internet access for everyone, is now official, front burner, U S foreign policy. The State Department has announced a major expanded policy statement by Secretary Clinton declaring that free access to all internet contentamounts to a basic human right.Of course, by "free" the United States does not mean monetarily free. It means free of censorship, once one manages to get on line. Still, this is quite a step. I would like tothink it illustrates that the folk in D. C. have figured out that the internet is a major weapon, effective in the fight against lingering pockets of medieval thought.A Reuters' report published today in
claims that Secretary Clinton'sannounced address for later today "could be seen as throwing down the gauntlet" to theChinese. While this observation was not attributed to anyone in particular, it is the sort of behind the scenes statement officials, or their subordinates, leak to the press to fortify theweight of their words without being directly offensive to the target. In this case theChinese.There is an awful lot at stake here. Internet based commerce and internet based foreign policy are two spheres, one commercial and the other political, in which the U S believesit has real advantages over the rest of the world. These policy areas are now so importanteither could be the flash point for larger breakdowns in international commerce and/or national alignment. Yet, knowing the potential dangers, Washington doesn't really haveany choice.