The Corner

Politics & Policy

Obama Respects Dictators More Than Popes

Here’s a great editorial by the Washington Post. As Mona noted here earlier, the White House has no problem playing political games at the Pope’s expense. They’re inviting various activists — a gay episcopal bishop, abortion supporters, etc. — to the White House event for the Pope. But . . . well, here’s the Post:

What struck us as we read about this small controversy is the contrast between the administration’s apparent decision to risk a bit of rudeness in the case of the pope and its overwhelming deference to foreign dictators when similar issues arise. When Secretary of State John F. Kerry traveled to Havana to reopen the U.S. Embassy recently, he painstakingly excluded from the guest list any democrat, dissident or member of civil society who might offend the Castro brothers.

And when Chinese President Xi Jinping comes to the White House next week, shortly after the pope leaves town, it’s a safe bet that he won’t have to risk being photographed with anyone of whom he disapproves. Chen Guangcheng, the courageous blind lawyer, for example, lives nearby in exile, but he probably won’t be at the state dinner. Neither will Falun Gong activists, democracy advocates or anyone else who might, well, give offense.

Jonah Goldberg, a senior editor of National Review and the author of Suicide of the West, holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute.

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