Gary Locke Nomination Another Milestone for America

In this day and age, when we have already had four Asian American cabinet secretaries, most of us consider President Obama’s nomination of Gary Locke to succeed Jon Huntsman as China Ambassador a no brainer.

It was on February 19, 1942 that President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 interning about 110,000 Japanese Americans into camps meant to concentrate them into small spaces for isolation from the general population and close monitoring to prevent them from doing untold damage to U.S. interests in support of Japan’s war effort. In other words, they were sent to concentration camps.

The premise for the internment order as it applied to Japanese Americans was that their racial sympathies at the prospect of a Japanese invasion were likely to trump patriotic feelings for their home country. In such a brutal war the United States felt it couldn’t take any chances with Japanese Americans running around sabotaging air fields and munitions depots and signaling coordinates to invading Japanese forces.

Today we aren’t in a shooting war with China. We’re in a subtler, trickier form of superpower competition. But the ultimate stakes are as high as they were in World War I, World War II, the Korean War or the Vietnam War — ideological and economic ascendency. If we win, the human race will have to elect its leaders and we Americans will live in nicer homes, work at cushier jobs, drive cooler cars and, at least figuratively, sneer at the losers across the ocean whenever we happen to think about them. If they win, more of us will work at crap jobs or no jobs at all, drive cars with fewer luxe amenities and feel inferior and resentful when we happen to think about the arrogant Chinese in their gleaming highrises or strolling smugly down our streets buying cheap souvenirs to take back home.

So the stakes are high. It may sound silly, but those are the stakes in geopolitical competition these days — as they have been for the past couple of centuries at least. And of course they matter to us all.

Wait, what if Ambassador Gary Locke, moved by his racial sympathy with the Chinese, secretly swears fealty to Hu Jintao and engages in cunning collusion to subtly sabotage our side in this superpower competition? After all, he’ll be living there on Chinese soil, the same soil trod by his grandpa and papa. What if he slips cyanide or some other nefarious substance into the drinks of President Obama and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff?

Not a single vigilant American leader has thought of such dark possibilities and voiced his concerns after hearing of the nomination.

With the stakes so high, the US of A is able to nominate a member of the enemy race and nationality for a sensitive post without anyone giving it a second thought. It’s truly an American milestone.