Smug Columbia Prof Demonstrates Ugliness of China 'Whataboutism' During BBC Interview

(Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP)

Political junkies watch and read a lot of news commentary on a daily basis that makes their eyes roll. But every once in a while there’s something newsworthy that pops up and absolutely makes your blood boil when you see it. And it also makes you question just how we got to the point where making comments that are decidedly unAmerican and apologistic in nature for evil foreign regimes is considered “enlightened” and “thought-provoking” in a free society.


A news segment that will make your blood boil is exactly how I would describe a recent episode of BBC News Tonight. Columbia economics professor Jeffrey Sachs, who is also the director of their Center for Sustainable Development, absolutely lost it during a discussion of China’s gross human rights abuses as the issue related to how far the United States should be willing to go to work with the country on various issues.

Watch below as Sachs goes full-on China apologist, essentially stating that the United States has no right to judge China’s human rights abuses considering the wars the United States has been a part of as well as other parts of U.S. foreign policy he finds lacking, and considering how white supremacy is supposedly so prevalent here, etc. This guy was the definition of an America-hater who truly sees no difference in his country and a communist one that makes political dissidents “disappear” and has detainment camps full of Uyghur Muslim prisoners who they are trying to “reeducate”:

The interview outraged opposition groups that are in a position to know better than to buy what Sachs was trying to sell:


This was by no means Sachs’ first attempt at “whatabouting” for China. He’s done so a number of times, including in January, which sparked outrage among human rights groups:

What Sachs said: In a Jan. 24 interview with The Wire China, Sachs responded to two questions about China’s genocidal policies in Xinjiang by accounting America’s own human rights failings.

-“We have huge human rights abuses committed by the U.S. on so many fronts that the first thing we need to do is think of Jesus’s admonition: Why do you look at the mote in the other’s eye, and not the beam in your own?” Sachs said.

-Sachs said nothing about China’s repression of the Uyghurs despite repeated prompting from the interviewer.

In response, 18 advocacy organizations, including Hong Kong Global Connect, Campaign for Uyghurs, and Columbia Stands with Hong Kong, sent a letter to Columbia University President Lee Bollinger expressing concern over the remarks.


Other Twitter users who watched the BBC clip were equally appalled, and responded accordingly:


What makes matters worse is that we all know that Sachs is hardly the only “respected figure” in academia who takes the America-last approach when discussing foreign policy matters. To think that this guy and God only knows how many more like him is/are responsible for educating future generations of movers and shakers and potential American leaders is toe-curlingly scary, and goes a long way towards explaining why there are so many segments of our society – media, entertainment industry, etc. – that are jam-packed full of similar-minded willfully ignorant people who either cannot or are unable to distinguish America from some of the world’s worst human rights abusers.


Flashback: In Which the New York Times Morphs Into a Total Propaganda Tool for China’s Communist Government


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