Video: Reid calls Chinese president a “dictator”

posted at 4:12 pm on January 19, 2011 by Allahpundit

I’m trying to muster some partisan outrageous outrage over his impolitic language, but … he’s right, isn’t he? At the very least, he’s closer to the target than the diplospeak being used by Obama and the State Department to welcome Hu for his state visit. In fact, the only reason this qualifies as “news” is because Reid, in his own inimitable way, inadvertently captured the angst many Americans feel at China’s leverage over us. They own a ton of our debt and make a ton of our goods and so we’re obliged to watch what we say about them, no matter how true it might be or what noble end it might serve. Thus does it become a minor international faux pas for the U.S. Senate majority leader to aptly label an authoritarian an authoritarian. Sorry, Hu!

My only issue with what he says is whether it’s accurate on its own terms. Hu isn’t a “dictator” the way Kim Jong-il is, a point Reid himself nods at in correcting his statement; it’s the regime’s totalitarian apparatus that’s all-powerful, not the leader of it. If Mao was Stalin, Hu’s more of a Khrushchev or Brezhnev. But that’s a quibble. The more important question is, precisely how much control does that apparatus still retain over China’s military? I didn’t blog it last week but here’s an ominous detail from the LA Times’s report on Gates’s visit to Beijing:

China’s military conducted the first flight test of an experimental stealth fighter Tuesday, apparently without informing the country’s civilian leadership in advance and only hours before U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates met with the Chinese president to discuss ways of improving military ties…

When Gates mentioned the test in an afternoon meeting with President Hu Jintao at the Great Hall of the People, it was clear that neither Hu nor the other Chinese civilian officials present were aware it had occurred, a senior U.S. Defense Department official said.

After confirming the test flight, Hu told Gates that it was not timed to coincide with his visit.

“He said that the test had absolutely nothing to do with my visit and had been a preplanned test,” Gates told reporters, “and that’s where we left it.”

I’m sure Obama isn’t notified in advance of every weapons test that the U.S. military conducts, but China’s stealth fighter isn’t just any weapon. It’s a potential gamechanger in Asia and a direct threat to U.S. air superiority and doubtless is well known as such to Hu and Gates. It’s unthinkable that that test wasn’t deliberately timed to coincide with Gates’s visit, which in turn means either (a) U.S. officials were flatly lying about Hu’s innocence in order to downplay the incident before his visit or (b) China’s military is now internally powerful enough to conduct a major weapons test with foreign policy implications without regard for whether it might embarrass the civilian leadership. Frankly, the first explanation — the “dictator” theory — is the less ominous of the two.

Exit question: That upcoming meeting between Reid and Hu might get a little awkward, huh?


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Reid should know.

catmman on January 19, 2011 at 4:15 PM

I’m confused, is this “smart diplomacy”?

Socratease on January 19, 2011 at 4:15 PM

Takes one to know one.

jeanie on January 19, 2011 at 4:16 PM

Whoops!

Ward Cleaver on January 19, 2011 at 4:17 PM

Harry Reid, defender of Truth and Liberty. I can’t wait until he rhetorically takes on Castro and Chavez – I’m sure Reid will just tear them up. But in the meantime, maybe we should just teach that Chinese dictator a lesson and stop borrowing his money.

Laura Curtis on January 19, 2011 at 4:18 PM

In fact, the only reason this qualifies as “news” is because Reid, in his own inimitable way, inadvertently captured the angst many Americans feel at China’s leverage over us.

Actually it is news because Reid is the Senate Majority Leader, and made a huge political gaffe.

It’s not like he slipped up and said North instead of South Korea.

portlandon on January 19, 2011 at 4:18 PM

He seemed to say it with deep admiration.

darwin on January 19, 2011 at 4:18 PM

“Maybe I shouldn’t say dictator. He’s a despot who persecutes Christians and other religions, and maintains slave labor camps. Yeah, despot. Or tyrant. But not dictator,” -Dingy Harry.

Akzed on January 19, 2011 at 4:19 PM

I’m sure Obama isn’t notified in advance of every weapons test that the U.S. military conducts

Did we ever get confirmation on those missile contrails off California?

John the Libertarian on January 19, 2011 at 4:19 PM

Reid = pot
Hu = kettle

Badger40 on January 19, 2011 at 4:20 PM

Oh Dingy..THIS is when you tell the truth?

NJ Red on January 19, 2011 at 4:20 PM

Almost sounded like Reid was envious of Hu’s authority.

fourdeucer on January 19, 2011 at 4:21 PM

Blind pig and the ACORN, they seldom meet.

tarpon on January 19, 2011 at 4:21 PM

Almost sounded like Reid was envious of Hu’s authority.

fourdeucer on January 19, 2011 at 4:21 PM

That’s what I heard…he said Hu can accomplish all kinds of things without elections and stuff.

NJ Red on January 19, 2011 at 4:22 PM

He seemed to say it with deep admiration.

darwin on January 19, 2011 at 4:18 PM

Yes it did indeed.

fourdeucer on January 19, 2011 at 4:22 PM

Wonder how Hu will react? Don’t they have a thing about losing face or something?

jeanie on January 19, 2011 at 4:22 PM

Obama will make Reid commit hari kari on the Senate floor.

NJ Red on January 19, 2011 at 4:24 PM

What did Reid do? Look in the mirror?

MeatHeadinCA on January 19, 2011 at 4:25 PM

Blind pig and the ACORN, they seldom meet.

tarpon on January 19, 2011 at 4:21 PM

Damn it. I’m over there on the baby killer thread, and missed this by mere minutes.

But I was going to say:

Even a blind pig finds an acorn every now and then.

BobMbx on January 19, 2011 at 4:25 PM

It was meant as a compliment … you don’t want to know what he calls his mistress Nancy.

MeatHeadinCA on January 19, 2011 at 4:26 PM

I’m trying to muster some partisan outrageous outrage over his impolitic language, but … he’s right, isn’t he?

Hu got that right. (See what I did there?)

amerpundit on January 19, 2011 at 4:26 PM

At least he didn’t say “light-skinned China man with no Mandarin dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”
Nope, just called him a dictator.

Electrongod on January 19, 2011 at 4:26 PM

I doubt he meant it as in insult.

SouthernGent on January 19, 2011 at 4:27 PM

Reid was given permission to call the Chinese president a dictator by China. 2012 is around the corner, the dems needs to look strong. Remember, 1) action speaks louder than words and 2) dems hate our military.

-

TwilightStruggler on January 19, 2011 at 4:29 PM

Dear Americans,

Can you please not pi$$ off the Chinese? I get my paychecks from them, and would like to be able to sell my house one day. You don’t have to like them, just accept they own us for the time being.

Thanks

di butler on January 19, 2011 at 4:29 PM

Reid must think Hu is a Republican.

DamnCat on January 19, 2011 at 4:29 PM

Reid jealous? No. It’s Hu who’s jealous, wishing he had the Commerce Clause.

“If onry I have Commelce Crause, sky’s da rimit,” -Hu.

Akzed on January 19, 2011 at 4:30 PM

OT/
speaking of dictators:

http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=252833

joshlbetts on January 19, 2011 at 4:30 PM

“FA ra ra ra raaaa, ra ra, ra, raaah.”

Akzed on January 19, 2011 at 4:30 PM

Well at least someone said it.

Did anyone both to translate it for the benefit of Hu?

Probably not. Why would they?

I wonder if most Democrats are not secretly jealous. That is the whole goal of the Democratic Party these days, and I hear that Mao is a favorite role model.

petunia on January 19, 2011 at 4:33 PM

The fact that he said it at all, given the reasons for Hu’s visit, is testament to his arrogance. I wonder if it will be reported on Chinese media?

jeanie on January 19, 2011 at 4:33 PM

Reid must think Hu is a Republican.

DamnCat on January 19, 2011 at 4:29 PM

Hey, Hu is probably to the RIGHT of our current crop of extremist Dems.

MeatHeadinCA on January 19, 2011 at 4:33 PM

Even a clock that has stopped, is right twice a day.

doufree on January 19, 2011 at 4:37 PM

Almost sounded like Reid was envious of Hu’s authority.

fourdeucer on January 19, 2011 at 4:21 PM

Tom Friedman is secretly inhabiting Dingy Harry’s body. Somebody call an exorcist! Whom should be exorcised from whom, I am not sure.

steebo77 on January 19, 2011 at 4:37 PM

joshlbetts on January 19, 2011 at 4:30 PM

!!!

I know. This illustrates pure naivete.

His assumption was that liberals are honest, so Obooba’s birth certificate must be on file.

“As governor I oughta be able to gain access to a document produced and maintained by the state. All I gotta do is produce that BC and I’ll get all kindsa points with the press,” right?

The only problem is, it either doesn’t exist or shows Obooba’s name as Barry Marshall Davis or whatever.

Ha ha haa!

Akzed on January 19, 2011 at 4:38 PM

Obama should have pasted it to his forehead, like he said, while he had the chance.

Emperor Norton on January 19, 2011 at 4:40 PM

Democrats: they’re Gaffetastic!

And we didn’t even need Wikileaks to break this story!!!!

search4truth on January 19, 2011 at 4:41 PM

At the very least, he’s closer to the target

Tsk! Tsk!

Have we learned nothing in the past week?

pain train on January 19, 2011 at 4:43 PM

Now if Sharron Angle had done this, she would have been labeled a racist… just saying.

MeatHeadinCA on January 19, 2011 at 4:44 PM

I’m trying to muster some partisan outrageous outrage over his impolitic language, but … he’s right, isn’t he?

What if Palin had said it?

Amadeus on January 19, 2011 at 4:47 PM

Did he also say that he could smell the Chinese tourists when they came to visit the capital or does he reserve those sorts of remarks for American citizens?

scalleywag on January 19, 2011 at 4:47 PM

He was smiling when he said it. I couldn’t tell that he intended it as an insult. And he immediately apologized for any bad connotations of the word. If anything he seemed wistful when he was talking about how the Chinese government could implement any policy it wanted without worrying about whether the public liked it.

I don’t recall him ever speaking that kindly about a Republican.

logis on January 19, 2011 at 4:47 PM

He’ll have to change his tune when Hu starts signing his checks.

jeanie on January 19, 2011 at 4:48 PM

At the very least, he’s closer to the target

Tsk! Tsk! Have we learned nothing in the past week?

pain train on January 19, 2011 at 4:43 PM

Darned straight. He should have said “Wal Mart.”

logis on January 19, 2011 at 4:49 PM

Oh…There is a reason behind it i’m sure. Soon it will be “Well, none of us like it, but hey we aren’t China.”

tomas on January 19, 2011 at 4:59 PM

At the very least, he’s closer to the target than the diplospeak being used by Obama and the State Department to welcome Hu for his state visit

Uh oh!

angryed on January 19, 2011 at 4:59 PM

Silly DemoRats and their predilection for projection…

phreshone on January 19, 2011 at 4:59 PM

Oh Dingy..THIS is when you tell the truth?

NJ Red on January 19, 2011 at 4:20 PM

If Reid would have actually thrown this on purpose, as a jab and a statement of principal, I would pat him on the back for it. As it is, he just kind of meandered into the truth in a gaffe-ey way. And then started to back pedal from it. Just Stupid.

samuelrylander on January 19, 2011 at 5:00 PM

“Hu is a dictator!”

Who is?

“Hu!”

That’s what I’m asking, who?

“Hu is the dictator!”

WHO?!?!?!

“Hu is!!!”

(… I’ll be here all week, try the veal, and don’t forget to tip your waitress.)

Seven Percent Solution on January 19, 2011 at 5:01 PM

I have an easy solution to the China issue. Let’s default on the debt. What will they do? Invade? And lose their biggest consumers of Chinese made junk? I don’t think so. Sure they will never lend us another dime. But that’s a good thing. We are addicts, addicted to the cheap Chinese money. If the dealer stops selling to the user, it forces the user to go clean.

angryed on January 19, 2011 at 5:04 PM

Reid clearly meant “dictator” in a good way, as in, “I wish we had a dictator so we could get more done.” The rest was just to cover his a$$ with the masses because they cannot see the beauty of dictatorship and still cling to selfish, antiquated ideas of personal liberty and freedom.

ROCnPhilly on January 19, 2011 at 5:07 PM

If he really thought this, then why did he help pile up our debt to the Chinese.

INC on January 19, 2011 at 5:19 PM

I’m sure Reid will ask for pointers on how to get things done.

GarandFan on January 19, 2011 at 5:27 PM

we’re obliged to watch what we say about them, no matter how true it might be

That’s why we still call them the People’s Republic of China instead of the Oligarchy’s Junta of China.

itsnotaboutme on January 19, 2011 at 5:36 PM

Very good, Harry. Now what is the thing you drive called?

capejasmine on January 19, 2011 at 5:39 PM

I ain’t the President of the Harry Reid Fan Club, but give the man credit for speaking truth to power.

Little Boomer on January 19, 2011 at 5:54 PM

President Hu, meet Senator Who.

n0doz on January 19, 2011 at 6:55 PM

AP sure seems worried about the J-20. Every single time he mentions it, he uses words like “game changer”, even though numerous industry analysts have expressed skepticism of the threat.

Here’s the latest from the WSJ: China’s J-20 Fighter: Stealthy or Just Stealthy-Looking?

Bottom line: building a true stealth aircraft is like building an iPod. Sure the Chinese assembly lines can crank out a hardware facsimile, but they can’t duplicate the software, the usability, the ecosystem. As the article points out, by the time China figures out how to make a usable and useful stealth fighter equivalent to the F-22, the US will have moved on to something much better. When Microsoft finally crapped out their brown Zune, it was a decent competitor to an Apple product of two years prior.

I suppose I should give AP the benefit of the doubt and assume he’s doing his part to increase demand for F-22s and F-35s. Still, a bit less hysteria would be appreciated.

Splashman on January 19, 2011 at 7:24 PM

Dingy the pawn of the Harrahs mafia speaks the truth for once in his life and gets in trouble for it.

viking01 on January 19, 2011 at 7:48 PM

Reid calls Chinese president a “dictator”

Projection rears it’s ugly head once again!

DSchoen on January 19, 2011 at 10:40 PM

Sorry, I only heard the first part where he said “the President is a DIC…”.
I actually thought he was talking about somebody else!

gullxn on January 19, 2011 at 10:57 PM

He said dic, hehehhehehehe…

Of course, being a DWE himself, Reid should be able to recognize one…

Gohawgs on January 20, 2011 at 12:03 AM

Blind pig and the ACORN, they seldom meet.

tarpon on January 19, 2011 at 4:21 PM

Damn it. I’m over there on the baby killer thread, and missed this by mere minutes.

But I was going to say:

Even a blind pig finds an acorn every now and then.

BobMbx on January 19, 2011 at 4:25 PM

The problem with your analogy is that pigs find most of their food by their sense of smell.

Besides Dingy was speaking out of envy.

Slowburn on January 20, 2011 at 7:51 AM