American China Policy vs. Common Sense

American China Policy vs. Common Sense
Bevin Chu
November 25, 1999

A Little Learning Is a Dangerous Thing

America’s foreign policy elites, liberal and conservative alike, share a common failing, a mind-boggling lack of common sense when the subject is China. Mainstream American policymakers charged with formulating America’s China policy labor under a deadly handicap — a near total ignorance of Chinese history, Chinese culture, and the Chinese people.

This ignorance in and of itself is perfectly understandable, reasonable even. Most people make no bones about their ignorance about what life is like in foreign countries. Much of the world’s population, even in our era of jumbojets and the internet, is necessarily going to ignorant about foreign history, culture and people.

I myself confess ignorance about the facts surrounding Scotland’s historical relationship to England. I am not so arrogant however as to imagine that merely watching Mel Gibson’s deeply moving hit movie “Braveheart,” once in a first run movie house, and a half dozen times on cable, qualifies me to pass judgement on the merits or demerits of Sean Connery’s demands for Scottish secession.

Most people do not presume to micromanage the internal affairs of nations about which they know next to nothing. Most people do not insist on making facile moral judgements about who the Good Guys and Bad Guys are in order to stroke themselves for having “sided with the angels.” Most people do not bomb complete strangers with into oblivion from 15,000 feet, then rationalize their war crimes as “promoting American values.”

The problem is not ignorance. The problem is arrogance. The problem is our foreign policy elites, liberal and conservative alike, are simultaneously crusading global interventionists who insist on meddling without understanding.

Warfare Statists vs. the Yellow Peril

In case anyone imagines I’m referring only to the Clintonistas and Blairites, think again. Conservative Warfare Statists who pay hypocritical lip service to non-intervention are arguably worse than liberal Welfare Statists, who are at least up front about being unregenerate interventionists.

Conservative Warfare Statists, aka “Globocops on the Right,” are noninterventionists only when the hare-brained military intervention is being undertaken at the behest of meddling liberal Welfare Statists occupying the White House and Ten Downing Street, and directed against an “Hitlerian Serbia” in the Balkans.

But when the hare-brained military intervention is undertaken at the behest of meddling conservative Warfare Statists on Capitol Hill, and directed against an allegedly “Hitlerian” China in the Taiwan Straits, Globocops on the Right undergo an astonishing and instantaneous transformation, from noninterventionist Dr. Jekylls to interventionist Henry Hydes.

Exhibit A: Senator Fred Dalton Thompson. Exhibit B: Congressman Chris Cox. Combine equal parts ignorance and arrogance. Add a dash of ugly subconscious, unexamined bigotry, and presto! A foolproof recipe for foreign policy disaster.

Classical liberal, aka libertarian champions of economic nonintervention, myself included, have leveled entire forests castigating liberal Welfare Statists for demanding American economic intervention in our domestic economy, all in the name of specious altruist collectivist notions of “social justice.”

Libertarian champions of military nonintervention on the other hand, myself included, have consumed only a few scattered stands of Douglas Fir faulting conservative Warfare Statists for demanding American military intervention in foreign nations, all in the name of specious altruist collectivist notions of “Benevolent Global Hegemony.”

The reason is that during the Cold War many libertarians viewed conservative Warfare Statists as allies locked in a common struggle against creeping socialism at home and galloping communism abroad. Libertarians as a consequence cut conservative Warfare Statists a lot of slack. Too much slack.

With the end of the Cold War it is time libertarians called conservative Warfare Statists to account for their hypocrisy. By sacrificing American citizens’ lives, liberty and property in pursuit of a vainglorious American Empire, conservative Warfare Statists have inflicted as much if not more damage to our great republic as liberal Welfare Statists.

Question: What should America’s China Policy be?

Answer: The same as Canada and Mexico’s China Policy.

Can anyone name one earthly reason why America’s China policy should be substantially different from that of our nearest neighbors Canada and Mexico? Are Canada and Mexico endangering their own national security by not adopting an hysterical attitude of unremitting hatred of China? Are Canada and Mexico at risk from waves of PLA Marines swarming onto the coast of British Columbia or Baja California because they weren’t sufficiently alert to a non-existent “China Threat?” Does anybody who hasn’t completely lost his sanity actually believe post-communist China has any interest in invading America?

No? Then why in the world would the United States of America be at greater risk than Canada and Mexico? What in the hell are the China Threat theorists so damned worried about?

The US Air Force has, depending on whom one believes, between 17,000 and 21,000 nuclear missiles in her inventory, enough to annihilate every man, woman and child on the planet, including nearly 300 million Americans. Not even the former Soviet Union, with an estimated 23,000 nuclear missiles, dared to attack America during the Cold War, knowing full well they faced assured mutual destruction.

A practical, workable ABM system is at least several decades, if not a half century away from being anything more than Popular Science magazine cover art. This means that for the next half century America would remain utterly invulnerable even if American defense contractors and the Pentagon froze all high tech military R&D for the next fifty years, something no one in America is advocating.

China has 18, count ’em, 18, nuclear missiles with an intercontinental capability. Knowledgeable American strategic analysts know full well China’s nuclear arsenal is a purely defensive, retaliatory, second strike capability intended as deterrence against other nations’ nuclear blackmail.

Nor does China have the slightest intention of squandering her national treasury acquiring tens of thousands of ICBMs like the former Soviet Union merely in order to acquire a first strike capability. They know from sobering cost benefit analysis that the numbers simply don’t add up. Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin saw up close and personal how the Soviets bankrupted themselves economically engaging in a futile arms race with America. They aren’t about to repeat that mistake. That’s why Deng Xiaoping decided early on “It’s the economy, stupid” and “took the capitalist road” instead.

The only moral use of force is in self-defense. This is as true between nations as it is between individuals. If America is attacked, without provocation, by a foreign nation, Americans have a categorical right to defend ourselves. Self-defense naturally does not include travelling thousands of miles out of our way to side with one faction rather than another engaged in a foreign civil war. That is plain and simple imperialist aggression, and the diametric opposite of legitimate self-defense.

Instead, our government should, in the words of George Washington:

“Observe good faith and justice towards all Nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all — Religion and morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be that good policy does not equally enjoin it?”

Question: What kind of foreign policy should naturalized Americans advocate if they want to be genuine American patriots?

Answer: The same foreign policy as America’s Founding Fathers.

Naturalized Americans who wish to be patriotic Americans should advocate a policy of “Trade, not Aid” with citizens of every nation on earth, including their homelands. As George Washington put it:

“The Great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign Nations is in extending our commercial relations to have with them as little political connection as possible.”

Pro-reunification Chinese-Americans should demand that the American government neither help nor hinder mainland China’s efforts to prevent Taiwan secession. Chinese-Americans who deny their identities, and who insist on referring to themselves as “Taiwanese” should demand that the American government neither help nor hinder Taiwan’s efforts to achieve secession.

Just as German, French and Italian Swiss refrain from urging that strictly neutral Switzerland give preferential treatment to either Germany, France or Italy, so Chinese-Americans should urge that our American government remain strictly neutral regarding the confrontation between Beijing and Taipei.

If naturalized Americans or other American citizens are determined to take sides in a foreign conflict, either via financial contributions or volunteering for combat, they should do so purely as private individuals. They may wish to join Abraham Lincoln style brigades the way anti-fascist Americans did during the Spanish Civil War. They must however not attempt to foist either the economic or military burden of their causes onto other Americans who may not share, and may in fact bitterly oppose their political agendas.

Conservative Warfare Statists, i.e., “Globocops on the Right” consider this sort of neutrality un-American, unpatriotic. Unfortunately they are dead wrong. If anyone is unpatriotic, it is the Warfare Statists, “native born” or otherwise. They have apparently forgotten what genuine American values are, assuming they knew in the first place. A refresher course on American history would not be out of order, starting with George Washington’s Farewell Address of 1796.

America is composed of immigrants from almost every nation on earth. If every hyphenated American, including but hardly limited to Chinese-Americans, Irish-Americans and Jewish-Americans demanded that America remain strictly neutral in the face of endless foreign conflicts, America would be at peace with almost every nation in the world. Are jingoist hawks like Jesse Helms and Chris Cox going to tell me this is a bad thing? I can’t think of anything more patriotic a naturalized American can do than to prevent fellow Americans from coming home in bodybags, can you?

Question: Should the US government do the Chinese government any favors?

Answer: Absolutely, positively not. The US government should not do the mainland Chinese government any favors whatsoever. Rabid Taiwanese separatists take note, this means no favors for the Quisling Lee Teng-hui either.

Anything private Chinese citizens or the Chinese government want from private American citizens or the American government must be paid for in full, preferably in cold cash, preferably in advance.

Free trade is not a handout. Free trade is not a free lunch. Free trade is merely the opportunity to fork over the market price for something one wants to obtain in the marketplace. As consumers everywhere know, the market price for highly desirable products or services is often quite dear. But “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.” If both the buyers and sellers are content, no one else has any say in the matter.

Not coercing a foreign nation to “reform” under threat of military intervention does not constitute doing their government a favor. Not taking sides in a foreign nation’s civil war does not constitute doing their government a favor. Not violating foreign businessmens’ inalienable right to engage in free trade does not constitute doing their government a favor.

Our federal government should not do any foreign regimes any favors. Why not? Because the federal government’s resources, from whence any favors to foreign regimes would have to come, belongs to millions of individual American citizens and taxpayers. They constitute the hard-earned wealth of millions of individual Americans and should never have been taken from us in the first place. They should be returned to those individual Americans who earned it, so that we may use the wealth as each of us individually sees fit.

Conservative Warfare Statists, who ought to know better, in contrast to liberal Welfare Statists, seem to have forgotten that free trade is a fundamental human right, more basic to raw human survival than free speech. Free trade is not a privilege conferred by the state, but an inalienable natural right. Free trade is a human right neither the American government has the right to deny American citizens, nor the Chinese government has the right to deny Chinese citizens.

If conservative Warfare Statists do not understand even this much about the inseparable relationship between individual rights and free trade, then what pray tell is the ideological difference between them and communists, socialists and left liberal Welfare Statists?

Question: Doesn’t “Humanitarian Intervention” increase the amount of freedom in the world?

Answer: Not on your life.

Conservative Warfare Statists harbor the erroneous belief that “Humanitarian Intervention” in less free foreign nations will be rewarded by a net increase in the amount of freedom in the world as a whole. Let’s examine why conservative Warfare Statists’ rosy scenario is self delusion.

Conservative Warfare Statists are inclined to blank out any number of inconvenient facts about “Humanitarian Intervention.” Anyone who knows anything about the way people learn, and I mean really learn, know that most learning occurs at a subliminal, intuitive, non-linear level. Not by exhortation, but by example. Not by deduction, but by induction.

The hypocritical convention of demanding that unwilling pupils “Do as I say, not as I do” has never worked, does not work, and will never work. Why? Because the power of living example trumps insincere lip service every time. Lessons learned at gunpoint about “human rights” will never teach the world genuine respect for others’ human rights. Instead the reluctant pupil will internalize the unintended lesson that “Might makes Right.”

Commodore Perry is an early example. American gunboat diplomacy failed utterly to teach feudal Japan the value of American respect for the individual. Instead it inculcated Japan with the delusion that the only game in town was to beat westerners at their own game of high tech imperialism. Feudal Japan became fascist Japan. Republican America meanwhile became Imperial America.

Instead of increasing the amount of freedom in the world, Perry decreased it. One relatively free nation, America, intervened to “impose freedom” on a less free nation, feudal Japan. The result? A less free America and a less free Japan. American military intervention in Japan accomplished the remarkable but dubious feat of simultaneously reducing freedom in both Asia and America. Instead of two free nations, the world wound up with two less free nations. A lose/lose formula if ever there was one. As James Madison observed, “Of all the enemies to public liberty war, is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded.”

Russia is a more recent example. Yeltsin is currently using the identical tactics against the Chechens that Clinton and Blair employed against Milosevic in Kosovo. Nato and the Pentagon certainly taught everyone in the Balkans a lesson. The only problem is it isn’t the lesson the Guardians of the New World Order had in mind. What Nato’s “Bombing for Peace” taught Russia, China, India, Pakistan, and God only knows who else, is that “Might makes Right,” and that anybody who doesn’t want what happened to Milosevic’s Serbia to happen to them had better acquire or enhance their capacity for strategic deterrence.

Then of course, there is China

Having failed to learn the lessons of history with feudal Japan, conservative Warfare Statists are repeating their earlier Asian misadventure with China. Fortunately Chinese political culture is very different from Japanese samurai/fascist political culture, and it is extremely unlikely post-communist China will go down the same road as post-Perry Japan.

American moves to “contain” China will however have the perverse effect of delaying China’s political liberalization. A Beijing unthreatened by western hegemony is prepared to allow considerably more freedom of domestic political expression than a Beijing which perceives foreign colonialists poised to take advantage of China in the event increased political freedom leads to widespread chaos. China remembers only too clearly what fate almost befell her during the late Ching dynasty, when internal disarray almost led to China’s permanent partition by opportunistic Japanese, European and American imperialists.

Christian evangelist Reverend Ike used to preach that “The way to help the poor is to not be one of them.” The way for America to help less free nations of the world is not to be one of them. Americans can promote American values best by being a living example of our way of life at home, demonstrating that our system works, and works beautifully, instead of ramming our values down foreigners’ throats at gunpoint. Actions, as the cliche goes, speak louder than words. Americans should make sure the lesson we’re presuming to teach is the one we’re successfully living, not the one we’re merely talking about.

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Letter to an American Patriot

Letter to an American Patriot
Bevin Chu
November 18, 1999

The following is a letter to Richard, a close personal friend descended from a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Richard’s credentials as a bona fide American patriot are of course based not on heredity, but on his own merits. Richard is an expert on Constitutional law and a courageous and principled defender of Original Intent.

Dear Richard,

Recently an American film called “Siege at Ruby Ridge” showed on cable TV in Taipei. At first I assumed it was yet another in the series of sickening “In the Line of Duty” docudramas, in which tinsel town totalitarians depict federal storm troopers as heroes and their hapless civilian victims as villains with a didactic heavy-handedness rivaling Stalinist and Maoist propaganda.

But “Siege at Ruby Ridge” was nothing of the sort. The director was none other other than Lionel Chetwynd, screenwriter for “The Doomsday Gun” an HBO docudrama on Gerald Bull, the genius Canadian weapons designer assassinated by Israel’s Mossad for designing a nuclear cannon for Saddam Hussein at the behest of the CIA.

“Seige at Ruby Ridge” was framed from the perspective of maverick civil rights lawyer Gerry Spence. The film makers neither flinched from portraying reclusive white separatist Randy Weaver, played by veteran character actor Randy Quaid, as the bigot he was, nor did they strain to affirm their PC credentials with the Beautiful People by unfairly caricaturing him as any worse than he actually was.

“Siege at Ruby Ridge” did not set Weaver up as a straw man to smear thoughtful defenders of the Second Amendment or civilian militias with undeserved guilt by association. Millions of ordinary Americans who not share Weaver’s irrational prejudices about race do share his accurate perception that federal law enforcement is grinding ordinary Americans’ rights into the dust. Instead the film presented Weaver, warts and all, but not therefore any less deserving of due process under the law. Randy Weaver and David Koresh’s persecution by our federal leviathan are proof of the adage, attributed to Henry Kissinger, that “even paranoids have real enemies.”

One aspect of the film in particular stuck in my mind. It may not have been an issue for other Americans, but it was for me. I’m talking about the role of FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi, an Asian-American. Sure, the rest of the jackbooted thugs were WASPs, including Deputy Director Larry Potts who handed down the indefensible “shoot on sight” rules of engagement. But Asian-Americans have in recent years been investigated by the very same FBI responsible for Ruby Ridge and Waco. Asian-Americans have been scrutinized under a microscope in a way not usually done to hyphenated Americans of European descent or even European resident aliens.

Honest, hardworking, middle-class African-Americans joke bitterly that being black in America means praying when you hear a news story about a holdup that the faces which appear on TV screen aren’t black. When I saw the face of the Asian-American actor who played Horiuchi on the screen I had the same kind of feeling. This makes what Horiuchi did a very relevant topic to me.

Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch was every bit as much a foreigner as Indonesian tycoon Mochtar Riady. Geographically Australia is in Asia. Australians are on those terms “Asians.” Yet when Murdoch paid Newt Gingrich a three million dollar advance for his nonfiction book about the Republican Revolution no one in the US mainstream squawked about alarming, suspicious “foreign” “Asian” money. Instead the attention was focused exclusively on Gingrich’s wrongdoing, not on Murdoch’s race and national origin.

Now contrast this with the reaction to Riady’s far smaller contribution to Clinton in exchange for similar potential future commercial advantage. A simple “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” commercial deal. Sleazy? Absolutely, but no better or worse than Murdoch’s. Yet it suddenly gets blown up into a “Fumanchu” plot to overthrow western civilization.

The next thing you know Fred Thompson embarrasses himself by embarking on a protracted and futile witch hunt in which he comes up with — zip. This being the nineties he’ll have more luck finding Reds on the Berkeley campus and in the Teamster’s Union than in “communist” China. He looked even more foolish than the Fibbers after they had to let poor schmuck Richard Jewel go, with a halfhearted “apology” for turning his life upside down. Maybe it’s taught Jewel, allegedly an FBI wannabe, a hard lesson about who the good guys are. Maybe he’ll think about joining the militia now instead.

The China Threat demagogues just don’t get it. The “communist” Chinese no longer want to export revolution. They want to export anything that will make them rich. They don’t want to make war. They want to make money. Even the PLA has gotten in the act, to the amusement of some strategic analysts in the Pentagon and American think tanks. Anything that will turn a profit. Barbie dolls, Nike sneakers, Norinco semiautomatics, you name it. Export ’em to anyone who’ll fork out hard cash. No political motivations whatsoever, just good old-fashioned, capitalist greed.

Meanwhile the China-bashers in Congress have twisted themselves into pretzels pretending they don’t know about the US $15 million bribe KMT Business Affairs Manager Liu Tai-ying offered to the DNC. Liu, on instructions from his boss KMT Party Chairman and ROC (Taiwan) President Lee Teng-hui, tried to turn the US Seventh Fleet into the Taiwan independence movement’s Rent-A-Cop, at their beck and call for a price.

So how do these same intrepid investigators into the Donorgate scandal treat this outrageous attempt to misuse the Navy of the world’s premier superpower? Answer: the way unregenerate hard-liners insist on treating Tiananmen. Namely, if you pretend hard enough that something never happened, then it didn’t.

The China-Threat demagogues want to hold Taiwan up to the world as the virtuous, democracy-loving underdog and caricature mainland China as “The Return of the Evil Empire.” They don’t want Lee Teng-hui’s sleazy attempts to purchase American foreign policy with NT dollars muddying up the tidy moral scheme in which Taiwanese and Tibetan separatists are portrayed as pure virtue and mainland Chinese are portrayed as pure evil.

Why this grotesque distortion of reality? Because China may one day challenge America’s dominant status on the world stage.

Did you know almost every one of the top Beijing leaders’ children were at one time enrolled in American universities? Would they subject their own sons and daughters to capitalist “brainwashing” by a supposed “enemy” if they really hated America as much as the China-bashers insist? China’s hostility toward America essentially died with Mao.

In fact what is emerging from China is not a threatening military challenge to America, but a peaceful, albeit highly competitive commercial challenge, one which might one day challenge America’s global economic dominance.

The China-bashers’ desire to preemptively squash a peaceful competitor in the global marketplace militarily “before it is too late,” is morally contemptible and un-American to boot. America is the philosophical home of the “win/win” capitalist ethic. The China-bashers’ mercantilist world view represents a “zero-sum” perspective alien to the benevolent American view of the world as a level playing field on which everyone wins.

The China Threat demagogues long to Balkanize China, even though post-communist China has evidenced not the slightest intention of wanting to harm America. Apparently no evidence is needed. All that is needed is dehumanized stereotypes of Fumanchu bogeymen in the fevered imaginations of the editorial staffs of the Weekly Standard on the right and the New Republic on the left.

Now if China had just launched a sneak-attack on the US, the way fascist Japan did at Pearl Harbor in December 1941, this anti-China hysteria would at least be understandable. Every American, including Chinese-Americans, would rally behind it.

I say this based on the historical record, not wishful thinking. During the Cold War Chinese-Americans and Nationalist Chinese in Chiang Kai-shek’s ROC fell right in line with the Cold War postures adopted in Washington, London, Bonn and Paris. For capitalism and against Mao’s hard-line Marxist China. The possibility that one might choose on the basis of racial-tribal affiliation instead of a shared intellectual commitment to political liberty never crossed anyone’s mind.

But the Cold War is over. In fact China and the US had a rapprochement back during the Nixon administration, even before the Cold War was over. Has China done anything aggressive toward the US since? It has not. The missile intimidation of Spring 1996 was specifically targeted at Taiwan separatist Lee Teng-hui. No one else. No one else was in harms way. Not any neighbors in SE Asia, certainly not the USA way the hell on the other side of the Pacific Ocean.

Clinton’s dispatch of the Nimitz and Independence carrier task forces to the Taiwan Straits in Spring of ’96 was in retrospect the last straw for me. It was excessive force cavalierly invoked simply because it could be, because those abusing their power knew no one could defy it. I felt about the two carriers in the Taiwan Straits the way we both felt about the APCs and choppers at Ruby Ridge and Waco. I’ve not only been feeling more angry about our federal leviathan the past couple of years, I’ve also found myself saying and writing things I wouldn’t have before. Particularly about contemporary US foreign policy.

Much of what I say I have no doubt will strike mainstream intellectuals as unpatriotic. What may make my criticisms even more suspect is that I’ve probably been sounding suspiciously like an apologist for the current PRC leadership. If so, too bad. The fact remains I’ve denounced both federal stormtroopers and Maoist Red Guards equally the past thirty years. So except that ethnically I’m Chinese, as a former Cold Warrior my case is similar to Richard Nixon’s. As Mr. Spock reminded Captain Kirk in a Star Trek sequel, “Only Nixon could go to China.”

The undeniable fact is that from the standpoint of explicitly guaranteeing individual rights for its citizens in its structural, institutional arrangements, America was until very recently, the moral leader of the world. To use an analogy from our school days, America started out as an “A” student. Whereas China for much of its history got “Cs” or “Ds.”

This is not to say that China wasn’t free in defacto terms. It was. At the beginning of several of the more prosperous dynasties, such as the Han dynasty and the Tang dynasty, the laws were few and clear. Chinese lived under what in practical terms amounted to laissez-faire.

In 206 B.C. the first Han emperor on assuming the throne took one look at the tens of thousands of edicts, laws, rules and regulations which had proliferated before him and in one fell swoop brushed them all aside. He declared that the country would have only three laws, no more. Only three acts would be illegal. If my memory serves me they were murder, assault, robbery/theft. Everything else was by default legal. China not surprisingly prospered as it never had before. Tragically but all too predictably later emperors did exactly what Lincoln, Wilson, Roosevelt, Johnson and Carter did, and dynasty after dynasty decayed under the crushing burden of expanding government.

These United States of America are the legatees of the Framers of the American Constitution, the wisest, most far-sighted political philosophers in human history. For this reason those of us who defend Original Intent and Strict Construction have every right to expect American public officials to live up to America’s unique and exceptional political heritage. When it came to conceptualizing and implementing theoretical and institutional arrangements required to preserve human rights and liberties America was once the world’s intellectual and moral leader. The tragedy is that America has moved so depressingly far in the wrong direction, away from a prior condition of unprecedented respect for the individual.

Conversely, the current Chinese government started out from such a dismally low departure point, everywhere looks like up. China had little or no historical legacy of the “rule of law.” Yet it is moving astonishingly rapidly in the right direction, away from a previous condition of virtually no individual liberty during Chairman Mao’s nightmarish regime.

I suppose I feel the same guarded hopefulness that anti-Communist Russians felt when Gorbachev and Yeltsin started to dismantle Russian communism. Many of them were inclined to overlook some of Yeltsin’s undemocratic executive actions because contrasted with what went before what he was doing was positively benevolent.

You’ve gotten an earful from me about “human rights” meddlers and their double-standards. I can think of only one instance in which a double-standard makes sense. I think it is laudable for a nation to apply a higher standard to itself than to others. If a nation applies a higher standard to itself, taking pride in its scrupulous respect for civilized conduct, even when others don’t, it is behaving with integrity and honor. When a nation faithfully persists in doing the right thing at home, converting others only by moral example, that nation acquires a quiet dignity and nobility, which paradoxically it forfeits if it struts about loudly trumpeting its own moral rectitude and denounces its “inferiors” for failing to meet its exalted standards. Sadly, as grating weekly lectures from State Department mouthpieces remind us, that’s exactly the opposite of how human rights “champions” are going about it these days.

Citizens of China will one day become as vigilant about encroachments on their political liberty as Americans. But it must happen gradually. It can’t be rushed. It can’t be forced. Especially by outsiders. Because foreign pressure is associated in China’s historical memory with unjust, humiliating and hypocritical exploitation of the Chinese people by colonial powers during the late 19th and early 20th century, much of which was rationalized with rhetoric remarkably similar to what we are hearing today. Foreign pressure to “reform” will instead itself be perceived as an encroachment on the Chinese people as a whole, not their leadership.

The foreign settlements established by means of gunboat diplomacy in Shanghai had signs reading “No dogs or Chinese allowed.” This kind of “might makes right” outrage happened inside China’s own borders. Imagine how Americans would feel if America had been colonized by Europe and Japan by dint of sheer military might. Imagine if New York City had European and Japanese settlements with signs reading “No Dogs or Americans allowed.” Suppose Americans finally managed to drive out the intruders, were only starting to get back on their feet again, only to be confronted with former colonial powers carping and harping about “human rights abuses.” How would Americans react?

So the response, perhaps understandably, becomes, “Since you put it that way, f–k you!” “Human rights” busybodies absolutely don’t understand this. They don’t understand why their efforts are utterly doomed to evoking nothing but cold rage and a counterproductive backlash.

To bring the train of thought back to Ruby Ridge, traditionally most Asian-Americans bend over backwards to live up to their “model minority” image. They are law-abiding to a fault and only want to keep their noses clean and go along to get along. Asian-Americans are remarkable docile in contrast to other minorities which are constantly protesting or trying to get “one of their own” elected to public office.

For the most part this is probably a good thing. In some ways though this docile conformity can be lethal. It matters not whether it shows up in Americans of Asian or Caucasian descent. The uncritical civil servant who participates in government power abuse while oblivious to his complicity, betrays, however unwittingly, America’s sacred heritage. He may sincerely believe he’s the embodiment of patriotism and good citizenship, but he’s not. He’s the precise opposite.

I don’t think I’m out of line when I say that this sort of uncritical acquiescence to mainstream assumptions about right and wrong is what permitted an Asian-American who became an FBI agent to click his heels with a brisk “Yes sir!” then turn around and blow away a mother armed with only an infant.

Our publicly funded high school social studies classes force-fed us a load of happy horses–t about how the system works, which has no relation whatsoever with the way things actually work. We were told with straight faces that the president never lies and that federal law enforcement agents were like Robert Stack’s Elliot Ness in the “Untouchables.”

In the movie Chetwynd showed a shot of a bumper sticker which read “Question Authority.” Even though the bumper stickers were stuck onto pickup trucks sporting rebel stars and bars belonging to Neo-Nazis and Aryan Nation members. That’s one of the difficult things about real life. It’s not like the movies. In real life even bad guys sometimes champion good ideas. Like dismantling the federal government.

Just because one’s government tells one that somebody is evil incarnate doesn’t make it so. Just because one’s government draws up a list of good guys and bad guys doesn’t their judgment the final word. One might even be safer in assuming that they were exactly wrong and do the exact opposite. I know I would reverse our government’s and Hollywood’s Conventional Wisdom about the Dalai Lama being Obe Wan Kenobe and David Koresh being Darth Vader 180 degrees.

Koresh may or may not have been diddling the under aged daughters of parishioners. I have no knowledge of that. But I do know that the Branch Davidian Church was a private religious entity which anyone could leave at any time. In contrast to the Dalai Lama’s Yellow Hat Sect theocracy, it did not conflate church and state. In contrast to the Dalai Lama’s Yellow Hat Sect theocracy it did not, upon threat of physical torture, exact tithes from its impoverished serfs of fully 50% of their pathetic harvests, five times what the medieval Catholic church and Islam require from believers. The Yellow Hat Sect Lamaists make our own IRS look benevolent by comparison, not a easy feat.

The blind obedience which Horiuchi gave the Feds is the antithesis of the American tradition of questioning authority. Did Horiuchi question whether the official line from Janet Reno and Louis Freeh about who the good guys were and who the bad guys were held water? Would he have eagerly enlisted, in this day and age, when the FBI has far exceeded its constitutional authority, to become an FBI sniper if he had retained the ability to think for himself?

Horiuchi’s uncritical obedience of FBI orders was un-American. Ironically it could be considered “Asian” in the worst sense of the word, specifically the fascistic samurai tradition of blind obedience to one’s shogun, of killing without blinking on orders from higher up in one’s rigidly hierarchical society. It is Rape of Nanking type behavior.

In all fairness to Asians it could also, with equal justification be considered “Western European.” I’m not talking about Russians here, whom some Aryan racists consider “borderline Asians” (and thus “inferior.”) I’m talking about Italians and Germans, who are squarely in the western European cultural mainstream. When Fascist and Nazi rank and file “merely followed orders” and carried out genocidal atrocities against their African and European neighbors they were behaving little differently.

Does a logical connection exist between contemporary US foreign policy (as opposed to authentically American, pre-Wilsonian “Splendid Isolationism”) and current domestic crime fighting policy? The more I examine the mind set behind the former the more convinced I am that the identical mind set informs the latter.

To put it another way, Madeline Albright’s “World Policeman” foreign policy is a nearly perfect foreign relations analog of Janet Reno’s domestic “crime-fighting” policy. The way the US State Department relates to Burma, Chile or China is virtually identical to the way the ATF and FBI relate to Randy Weaver, David Koresh or Richard Jewel. Actually when we stop to think about it, this consistency shouldn’t surprise us. We ought to be more surprised if governments behaved inconsistently.

In the former instance the State Department issues its “Human Rights Report” naming certain foreign nations to a “Ten Most Wanted” list, then Washington declares open season on them. Albright and her cohorts cite Beijing’s multitude of sins (weapons sales Washington disapproves of, missile intimidation of Taiwanese separatists and abuse of Tibetan separatists) to justify forcible US intervention. The propaganda machine goes into full swing demonizing the designated international pariah. This clears every ones’ conscience for what is about to happen next. The villain is so villainous it deserves what’s coming. The next thing you know two carrier task forces are sailing through the Taiwan Straits. Radio Free Asia and Voice of America are blasting propaganda around the clock across the Chinese border into China, and jingoist hawks Bill Kristol and Charles Krauthammer are itching for an excuse to teach the subhuman gooks a lesson about American military might.

In the latter instance the Justice Department cites Weaver’s or Koresh’s wrong doings (weapons sales the ATF disapproves of, or weapons ownership the FBI disapproves of, sexual abuse of underaged children) to justify Federal intervention. The propaganda machine goes into full swing demonizing the designated enemy of law and order. This clears every ones’ conscience for what is about to happen next. The villain is so villainous it deserves what’s coming. The next thing you know Janet Reno orders in SWAT teams, and military choppers, armored personnel carriers are surrounding a flimsy plywood cabin on a remote Idaho mountain top or a flammable wooden church building in rural Texas. The Fibbers are blasting propaganda though loudspeakers 24 hours a day and shining klieg lights at the buildings, and “law and order” statists like Charles Shumer are itching for an excuse to “get tough” with the hated right wing gun nuts and lunatic fringe militias.

In both instances the targets of Washington’s obsession are parties who merely wish to be left alone on their own turf. Neither Burma and China, nor Weaver and Koresh have (or had) done anything to suggest that they posed a threat to the powers that be in Washington.

Let me digress for a moment. Of course the Beijing government has blood on its hands. More precisely, some current, ousted or deceased officials do. Others do not. If any politicians’ hands can be considered clean, then their hands are clean. But none of this is the issue. Burma and China are foreign countries. Human rights abuses, both real and imagined, within their own borders against their own populace are not a US foreign policy and national security issue. They are an issue for its own citizenry to deal with. If they find it intolerable they can stage a revolution. The Chinese people after all staged dozens of successful revolutions in over four thousand years of Chinese history before America even came into existence. Just how did ancient China’s domestic injustices suddenly get to be young America’s problem anyway?

For that matter even aggression against a third party is no reason to intervene. Unless a Burma, China, whatever, launches an attack against the United States, the US has no good reason to declare war against it. This was the Founding Fathers’ sagacious policy of “Splendid Isolation.” Washington, Jefferson and Adams were quite explicit and adamant about this point. As Adams put it, “America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy.” Of course in those days of enlightened leadership America’s Federal government did not go to the Idaho, Texas and Montana countryside in search of monsters to destroy either. Which only reinforces my theory that just maybe the two superficially unrelated behaviors are more closely linked than one might imagine.

Hence Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, one a Republican, the other a Democrat, but both “Progressive” welfare-statists and both bashers of “Big Business,” were, surprise, surprise, both rabid foreign interventionists. Both turned their back on America’s glorious tradition of doing the right thing at home while refraining from imposing it on others abroad.

This gets back to the brilliant radical libertarian-isolationist thesis of the “Welfare/Warfare State,” which posits that an activist welfare state tends to export this activism in the form of a analogous activist warfare state abroad. Both types of intervention are motivated by the same delusion, that an omnipotent omniscient government (“the Only Remaining Superpower in the World”) has the duty and the prerogative to rectify all inequities wherever they occur. What is distinctive about this allocation of power is that the means of enforcement belongs exclusively to Washington.

At home the coercion takes the form of the domestic policy of gun control, leaving us defenseless against street criminals. “Police will carry the guns and protect you. More guns on the street only endanger everybody.” If someone refuses to comply, what follows is a Ruby Ridge or Waco blood bath. Abroad the coercion takes the form of international “arms control” agreements (i.e., gun control between nations) which leave whichever group the globocops have designated as the bad guys defenseless against their deadly regional rivals. “The UN and NATO will carry the guns. Weapons proliferation only destabilizes the region.” If someone refuses to comply with the weapons roundup, Washington sends in Army Rangers, as in Somalia, or a NATO air strike, as in Bosnia and Kosovo.

Ironically the argument interventionists use to justify their global meddling is that “brutal dictatorships tend to treat other nations no better than they treat their own citizens, therefore they will inevitably export their brutality.” This means that preemptive initiation of force by Washington, prior even to any actual aggression by the Villain of the Month, is rationalized as self-defense. So who is the “brutal dictatorship” and who is “exporting brutality?” Talk about psychological projection.

Furthermore how many human rights advocates who demand US intervention abroad on moral grounds have really considered the flip side of their own argument? If a foreign government’s infringement of its own citizens’ human rights constitutes legitimate grounds for US intervention in its domestic affairs, then the US government’s infringement of American citizens’ rights constitutes legitimate grounds for foreign intervention in America. They can intervene on the pretext that the US government is unjust in its administration of domestic criminal justice.

Canada or Mexico could, using this logic, cite domestic US police brutality such as those committed by New York’s Finest (not to mention Kent State, Ruby Ridge and Waco) as justification for imposing trade sanctions or even sending troops into the United States, the way the US sent troops into Somalia, for example. Somehow I doubt this is what these sanctimonious busybodies had in mind. What they had in mind was a one way street: “I get to do it to you, but you don’t get to do it to me. In fact you don’t even get to squawk about it.” Of course we know Canada or Mexico are not about to take such drastic actions in reality, but we are talking about ethical/moral rationales. The interventionists alone know what’s good for others, and the others had better obey, or Washington will bomb.

To sum up, the current US/China confrontation has been deeply troubling to me. I was born a Chinese citizen and remained one until well into my adult years, even though I grew up in America. When I decided finally to swear allegiance to America and become a naturalized citizen, I did so only after prolonged soul-searching. I did not want to treat the matter lightly, as a matter of convenience, the way many Taiwanese and Tibetan separatists have. I decided I would only go through with it if I could do so solemnly and without reservations. I finally concluded that the Constitution and Bill of Rights represented noble enduring universal values. Swearing to defend them against all enemies, foreign and domestic, could never required me to violate my conscience. So in response to potential China Threat demagogues who may question my loyalty because I refuse to be an obedient Lon Horiuchi, my response is to quote from an uncannily prescient, neglected document now two centuries years old:

“Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence… the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake; since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of Republican Government. But that jealousy to be useful must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation [or regime, such as Taipei]

and excessive dislike of another, [Beijing]

cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side [unproven allegations of PRC bribery]

and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other [documented, proven ROC bribery. The KMT lost a libel lawsuit against Hongkong’s Asiaweek magazine which broke the $15M DNC bribery story.]

Real Patriots, who may resist the intrigues of the favorite, are liable to become suspected and odious; [free trade advocates Henry Kissinger, Al Haig, Brent Scowcroft, all smeared as “apologists for Beijing”]

while its tools and dupes [James Lilley, Jesse Helms, Nat Bellochi, who are all on record as having accepted substantial contributions from the Taiwan Lobby]

usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests. [To drag the US into a bloody replay of the Vietnam War, with G.I.s coming home in body bags. So that Lee Teng-hui and the Taiwan separatist elite can thump their chests and declare a Republic of Taiwan?]

The Great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign Nations is in extending our commercial relations [MFN, WTO] to have with them as little political connection as possible” [Taiwan Relations Act, US Japan Security Treaty. Quagmires waiting to happen.]

— George Washington’s Farewell Address, 19th September 1796

Your friend,

Bevin

The Myth of Casualty Aversion

The Myth of Casualty Aversion
Bevin Chu
November 11, 1999

Your Death is Acceptable

Last week the Washington Post published an article entitled A LOOK AT CASUALTY AVERSION, How Many Deaths Are Acceptable? A Surprising Answer (November 7, 1999), in which political scientists Peter D. Feaver and Christopher Gelpi of Duke University make a surprising claim.

“Feaver and Gelpi allege that America’s foreign policy elites have swallowed a “Casualty Aversion Myth” that “Americans demand a casualty-free victory as the price of supporting any military intervention abroad.”

If only that were true.

Feaver and Gelpi scornfully dismiss those who oppose arrogant meddling abroad as ‘defenders of the “we can’t take it anymore” school of thought.’ They concede

“There was a CNN effect in Somalia, but it did not involve the American public; it involved government officials… our study confirmed that the myth of casualty aversion is entrenched at the upper levels of society. Overwhelmingly, both civilian and military leaders agreed with the statement, “The American public will rarely tolerate large numbers of U.S. casualties in military operations.”‘

This irks Feaver and Gelpi to no end. However, all is not lost. According to the authors,

“the general public is far more willing to tolerate combat losses than civilian policymakers — or senior military officers.”

Thank God!

“A very different picture emerges from the citizens themselves. We asked respondents to consider how many American deaths would be acceptable… Regarding America’s long-standing commitment to defend Taiwan against China, we found broad consensus: All three groups [the general public, influential civilians, and members of the military] agree that this mission would be worth the sacrifice of a substantial number of American lives.”

Acceptable Losses

Military Mission: Taiwan
Military Elite: 17,425
Civilian Elite: 17,554
Mass Public: 20,172

Will your Body return home in one of 20,172 Bodybags?

If the “Mass Public” in America is willing to tolerate the loss of “only” 20,172 American troops before calling it quits, the chest-thumping China haters in our GOP congress may as well stop kidding themselves right now, before ANY American lives are lost, for no good reason.

Why? Because Beijing is willing — albeit hardly eager — to lose hundreds of thousands, possibly even millions of Chinese troops’ lives to prevent the loss of Taiwan, which is sovereign Chinese territory. Beijing is willing to lose at least as many lives preventing Taiwan secession as the Union was willing to lose preventing Confederate secession, or North Vietnam was to willing to lose to prevent the partition of Vietnam into northern and southern halves.

How many casualties are the pusillanimous Taiwan separatist “leaders” willing to lose fighting for Taiwan “independence?” If you’re talking about the separatist elite themselves, none. The KMT, DPP separatist elites’ US and Japanese passports all have up to the minute visas. Just in case. ROC citizens without the political connections, and ordinary American grunts will be doing the fighting and dying for them.

The “W” Word

“It would be a grave mistake to believe that we [emphasis added] can wield influence around the world and use our [emphasis added] military to defend national interests without risking casualties.”

There it is. The “w” word. No, not Dubya, but “we.” And of course the “o” word, “our.” The “w” word and “o” word inevitably precede words like “national interest” or worse, “national security.” The interventionist nomenklatura ritually invokes the “w” word and the “o” word, without reference to living, breathing Americans, whose individual interests and individual security will be sacrificed to the interventionist nomenklatura’s “national interest.”

Look closely as Fever and Gelpi unwittingly reveal how their minds work.

“The general public indicates that it is willing to accept not just hundreds but thousands of casualties to accomplish these missions”

Fever and Gelpi are speaking the language of Collectivism and Moral Hazard, in which your life and mine are casually bartered for vague and poorly defined purposes the Globocops deem essential or merely desirable.

What are authors Peter D. Feaver and Christopher Gelpi planning on doing with their lives? Are they planning to volunteer for what they coyly refer to as “non-traditional missions” irrelevantto the legitimate defense of sovereign American territory? Are Feaver and Gelpi personally prepared to risk being two of the 20,172 corpses shipped stateside in bodybags? Or were Feaver and Gelpi planning on long and cushy careers as tenured academics on the Duke University campus, all the while playing global chess with other peoples’ lives?

“By far the lowest acceptable casualty figures in our study came from the military.”

Gee, what a surprise.

Feaver and Gelpi report, with a hint of disappointment, that military officers give lower casualty estimates [one-fourth to one-half those of elite civilians] for what the authors refer to as “non-traditional missions.”

“… they do not believe those missions are vital to the national interest. It stands to reason, therefore, that they would not consider them worth extensive loss of American lives.”

Especially not their own.

300 Million Americans, reduced to “It”

“It is also a mistake to believe that the American public is unwilling to take risks when its leaders say that risks are appropriate.”

For readers who don’t read Newspeak, what Feaver and Gelpi said was “The American public will acquiesce to foreign quagmires which squander the lives of American soldiers, but they must be thoroughly brainwashed in advance by Big Brother’s laptop bombardiers.”

“If the sight of dead American soldiers somewhat undermined [public support for the Somalia operation] it was because the Clinton administration made no effort to frame the casualties as anything other than a disaster in a mission that had drifted dreadfully off course.”

There you have it. Poor spin control. It’ll do ya in every time.

“Had the administration chosen instead to galvanize public opposition to Somali warlord Mohamed Farah Aideed, our research suggests that Americans would have tolerated an expanded effort to catch and punish him.”

Again, translating from Newspeak into English, what Feaver and Gelpi said was ‘Had the administration chosen to aggressively demonize Aideed as ‘the Hitler of the Horn of Africa’ instead of cutting their losses, Americans would have gone along with even more pointless American deaths.’

“Its” leaders. Don’t you just love their Orwellian vocabulary? Going on three hundred million Americans don’t even rate a “their.” Three hundred million individual Americans, each with his own life to live, each with his own hopes and dreams, reduced to a single “it” by the statist nomemklatura.

If “its” leaders tell “it” that the risks are appropriate, “it” will respond like a vast sea of dehumanized humanity at a Nuremberg style rally with thunderous, infectious echoes of “Sieg, Heil!” or “Banzai!” and obediently march off to turn themselves and others into mincemeat.

This is the collectivist mind at work, blissfully unconscious of the absurd contradiction inherent in the coerced collectivization of millions of individual Americans to “promote” our American ideals of individualism and liberty by slaughtering distant strangers.

The Subtle Threat of Casualty Aversion

Feaver and Gelpi bemoan what they consider the negative impact of the Casualty Aversion Myth on America’s foreign policy. The Benevolent Global Hegemonists at the Weekly Standard who yearn to impose Pax Americana on the unipolar world, and the Humanitarian Interventionists at the Washington Post who yearn to promote Universal Human Rights will have their hands tied.

“There are at least three reasons to be concerned about our leaders’ attitudes regarding casualty aversion. First, their planning could be hamstrung by the erroneous belief that the public will demand that they cut and run at the first American combat deaths.”

God forbid our leaders “cut and run” when pointless American combat deaths result from meddling where we shouldn’t be in the first place. Far better they “hang tough” and keep the procession of body bags, filled with Other Peoples’ bodies, streaming home.

“Of course, it is important to prevent or limit American casualties as much as possible.”

Of course it is.

“Casualty aversion creates a second and more subtle threat to national security: It is corrosive to the professional military ethic… our military is built on the principles of self-sacrifice and mission accomplishment. Troops are supposed to be willing to die so that civilians do not have to.”

Political scientists Feaver and Gelpi would do well to brush up on their American history. America’s strategy for national defense, as least as conceived by her Founding Fathers, was categorically not predicated on a “professional military… willing to die so that civilians do not have to.” Just the opposite. It is predicated on citizen soldiers, a civilian militia (you read that right, militia) who never serve until the American homeland is attacked by foreign invaders, such as in the War of 1812.

“If American casualties are politically impossible, then citizens of other countries will be at greater risk. While NATO was arguably victorious in Kosovo without losing a pilot in combat, that was achieved by forgoing a ground invasion, using high-altitude bombing and otherwise shifting the costs of the conflict onto the people of Kosovo and Serbia. By our own actions, we turned the famous question on its head: How many Yugoslavs are worth the life of a single American?”

Feaver and Gelpi’s third and final objection is of course the most embarassing of all, because it’s the most honest.

Humanitarian Interventionists typically invoke human rights violations “too egregious to ignore” to justify their own egregious violations of foreign nations’ territorial sovereignty. This is bad enough. But in the process of “punishing the human rights violators” the alleged rights violators’ victims are casually annihilated along with the alleged victimizers. This simple fact exposes Humanitarian Intervention for what it was all along, sheer hypocrisy.

Unconventional Wisdom vs. Conventional Folly

“Though the belief has become conventional wisdom, it is not well supported by public opinion polls… Our study cannot say whether America ought to be intervening in conflicts around the world, or whether we ought to be willing to suffer casualties in order to do so. But we can recommend that policymakers start listening more carefully to the expressed — not mythical — views of the American people.”

Feaver and Gelpi have the chutzpah to try to spin their lemming-like conformity to interventionist conventional wisdom as defiant heterodoxy, and themselves as scientific researchers with no bias toward interventionism. Rigorous intellectual inquiry in our contemporary world typically discredits the statist nomenklatura’s conventional wisdom and affirms ordinary peoples’ common sense. A prime example is University of Chicago economist John Lott’s impeccably researched bombshell of a study “More Guns, Less Crime.” Lott shattered the smug liberal left assumption that widespread firearms ownership by ordinary citizens ipso facto leads to an increase in violent crime.

If Feaver and Gelpi’s transparently flawed “study” on the other hand, is what passes for systematic, rigorous intellectual inquiry in academia today, then “Higher Education Has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today’s Students” even worse than Alan Bloom suggested in his controversial book “The Closing of the American Mind.

Gary Bauer’s Un-American Values

Gary Bauer’s Un-American Values
With Friends Like Gary Bauer, Do American Values Need Enemies?
Bevin Chu
November 04, 1999

Desperately Seeking Demons

Former President George Bush, in an interview with Fox News Sunday, commented that “China is not seeking hegemony. I see no evidence, and I’d like one person who’s a critic of China on the Republican right or the Democratic left to tell me why they think they are seeking hegemony.”

George Bush’s clear-eyed assessment of post-Communist China’s foreign policy posture however stuck in GOP presidential candidate Gary Bauer’s craw. Bauer lashed out at Bush for “his erroneous assessment of Communist China’s military threat” and challenged Texas Governor George W. Bush “to tell the American people whether he shares his father’s dangerous view of Beijing’s military intentions.”

What evidence did Bauer cite to support his alarmism? He demanded to know whether President Bush was aware China conducted missile tests off the coast of Taiwan in 1996 and missile exercises against mock US troops within the past year. [!]

Irredentism, not Expansionism

Sorry Gary, but Bush is dead on the money. China isn’t seeking global hegemony. Not one Sinophobe has made a clear and convincing case for an apocalyptic “Coming Conflict with China.” Instead the China demonizers have unearthed countless menacing “Dr. No,” “Insidious Dr. Fumanchu,” “Ming the Merciless” stereotypes buried just beneath the surface of their waking conscious and projected them willy nilly onto China, the Chinese, and fellow Americans of Chinese descent.

Does this mean China wants nothing? Of course not. Every nation wants something. America wants something. Russia wants something. China is no exception. What does China want? China wants what is rightfully hers returned. No more and no less.

“China… is different from the Soviet Union, with its forthright determination to conquer the world in the name of Marxism. China is passionate as an irredentist power, not as an expansionist power. It covets [sic] Hong Kong and Taiwan. China is not now a threat on the order of the Soviet threat, so that the question of appropriate behavior focuses on the moral, not the strategic, question. Here relevant is the… maxim of John Quincy Adams that the American people are friends of liberty everywhere but custodians only of their own.”

Who said this? Jimmy Carter? Bill Clinton? Some other pinko Com-symp? Try William F. Buckley, circa 1997.

Saint Gary vs. the Chinese Dragon

Bauer alleges that:

“Communist China is developing one of the most daunting conventional theater missile challenges in the world… which could have significant implications for regional stability.”

Bauer’s Family Research Council web site boasts an FAQ entitled “Morality in Foreign Policy.” Did you know the only foreign country listed as “immoral” is China? Now I don’t for one minute doubt Bauer’s religious zeal. I have no doubt Bauer is a bonafide True Believer. But perhaps I may be forgiven for doubting Bauer’s recall, not to mention his common sense.

Has Bauer forgotten how President Kennedy reacted to Kruschev’s attempt to install Soviet missiles in what he considered “America’s own backyard?” Has Bauer forgotten that President Clinton recently offered a dangerously destabilizing TMD umbrella to Japan, China’s most threatening neighbor, and worse, to Taiwan’s secessionist elite, in China’s own backyard? And finally, has Bauer forgotten the Golden Rule? You know, “Do unto others… ?” Or does Bauer’s foreign policy morality mean the Monroe Doctrine applies only to America but not to China?

Daunting? Gary Bauer, sitting in the Oval Office, Commander in Chief of the armed forces of the World’s Only Remaining Superpower, barely able to contain himself as he contemplates Holy War against the Satanic Yellow Peril. Now that’s daunting. Thank God Gary Bauer’s theocratic arrogance toward China is not shared by Billy Graham and Pat Robertson.

A Geography Lesson

Taiwan is on the other side of the Pacific Ocean, Gary. Taiwan is part of China. Go to your library. Crack open your Rand McNally. Find mainland China. Look at where the offshore Chinese island of Taiwan is, a mere ninety miles to the east of China’s eastern seaboard. Notice the tiny sliver of blue between the two? That’s the Taiwan Strait.


The Pacific Ocean, the widest ocean on the planet

Now travel east. That’s right, to the right. No, don’t stop, not yet. Keep going, keep going, keep going, keep going. Now stop. You are now on the California coast. See that vast expanse of blue in between China and America? That’s the Pacific Ocean. The widest ocean on the planet. Eight thousand miles wide. One third the circumference of our planet.

Beijing’s missiles were fired at Chinese territory, and that’s where they landed. They weren’t fired at the Lower Forty-eight. They weren’t fired at Alaska. They weren’t fired at the Hawaiian islands. Beijing’s missiles had nothing to do with America.

Uncle Sam ain’t got no Dawg in this Fight

According to the constitutions of both the Peoples’ Republic of China (mainland China) and the Republic of China (Taiwan), Taiwan is an integral part of a single unified China. The conflict between Beijing and Taipei is part of a painfully protracted Chinese Civil War predating not just the Cold War, but WWII, over which regime is the legitimate ruler of that single unified China.

With the end of the Cold War, the struggle between Beijing and Taipei ceased being part of a global showdown between capitalism and communism, and reverted to the status of a purely internal power struggle.

Even factoring in the noisy agitation for “independence” from a minority of militant secessionists spearheaded by pro-Japanese Quisling Lee Teng-hui, the struggle between Beijing and Taipei remains a domestic Chinese affair, similar to the escalating tensions between Washington and Richmond prior to 1861.

In 1861, over eight thousand miles to the east of China, America fought a civil war. The American Civil War was none of China’s business. In 1999, eight thousand miles to the west of America, China is fighting a civil war. The Chinese Civil War is none of America’s business. Is this such a difficult concept for interventionist busybodies to grasp?

Gary Bauer, You’re no Ronald Reagan

Bauer remarked he was “appalled that former President Bush would adopt the mantra of the Clinton-Gore administration, which can only encourage military aggression by the repressive government of China.”

Gary Bauer seems to have suffered another memory lapse. Ronald Reagan “constructively engaged” the the far more repressive Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping regimes, and was absolutely correct in doing so. George Bush was Reagan’s vice-president. Reagan’s China policy was Bush’s China policy. When Bush succeeded Reagan he carried on Reagan’s China policy, which by the way, was also Jimmy Carter’s China policy, Gerald Ford’s China policy, and Richard Nixon’s China policy. If Bauer has a problem with Bush’s China policy, then he has a problem with Reagan’s China policy.

Gary Bauer has been running belatedly on Ronald Reagan’s coattails, positioning himself as the heir to Reagan’s legacy, never passing up an opportunity to remind America he was Reagan’s domestic policy advisor. Or is that Domestic Policy Advisor? It’s hard not to laugh out loud when Bauer takes himself so seriously.

The Great Communicator was an affable economic conservative, not a strident religious conservative. Reagan’s most valuable and enduring legacy, after all, the one which bears his name, was “Reaganomics.” Reagan was a leader savvy enough and tolerant enough to embrace a diverse constituency. Reagan won two consecutive terms to the White House by inviting the American public to enter an inclusivist Republican “Big Tent.”

When Bauer looks into his mirror each morning, who looks back at him? An easygoing economic conservative with libertarian leanings? Or a humorless religious fanatic who smugly pigeonholes both fellow Americans and unseen foreigners into tidy categories of “Good” and “Evil?”

Reagan made you his Domestic Policy Advisor, Gary, not his Foreign Policy Advisor. You profess enormous respect for Reagan’s foreign policy judgment. You ought to. Reagan affirmed his good judgment by not appointing you to such a sensitive position.

America is not Government Property!

Gary Bauer lambasted George W. Bush for urging a relaxation of American super computer export controls. “It is shocking that a Republican presidential candidate would advocate a policy that shows less regard for our national security than the current irresponsible policies of the Clinton-Gore administration.”

What’s really shocking is how casually Bauer invokes “national security,” presuming that the federal government speaks for “the nation as a whole” and that its interests are “higher” than the “mere” commercial interests of private American citizens.

What makes America unique is the Founders’ understanding that the interests of the government are supposed to be subordinate to the interests of private citizens. The real America, where real Americans live, is its civil society, its private sector, its business community, not our leech-infested nation’s capital. The real America has its address on Main Street and Wall Street, not Pennsylvania Avenue and K Street.

If “Government of the People, by the People, and for the People” is going to be a living reality and not a cruel hoax, then the answer to the question “Who decides what may be freely traded in the open marketplace?” had better be sovereign American citizens, not petty despots.

Bauer’s viewpoint certainly reflects the assumptions of contemporary America’s statist nomenklatura, but hasn’t the faintest resemblance to our Founding Fathers’ deepest convictions on the proper relationship between government and the individual.

America is not government property. America is private property.

Do Businessmen have Human Rights?

Take Normal Trade Relations or NTR, formerly known inaccurately and misleadingly as “Most Favored Nation,” or MFN. “China violates Chinese citizens’ religious freedom.” Therefore to punish the Beijing government Bauer wants to sic our federal leviathan on American businessmen, threatening them with naked government coercion if they dare exercise their constitutional right to engage in free trade.

Forget about trampling over the economic rights of Chinese entrepreneurs and consumers in China’s private sector, what about what Bauer wants to do to his fellow Americans’ economic rights? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought property rights were a fundamental American value? Numerous state constitutions even retained the original wording intended for the Federal Constitution “life, liberty and property.”

Does Bauer even know why we fought the Cold War? Does Bauer even understand that the defining distinction between capitalism and communism was that capitalism upheld the sanctity of private property and free trade, while communism demeaned them? Does Bauer realize when he condemns free enterprise how much he sounds like a Soviet commissar?

Cold Warrior without a Clue

Gary Bauer blasted CEOs of America’s Fortune 500 companies for participating in Fortune’s Global Forum in Shanghai. “Are American businessmen so beguiled by profits that they are willing to abandon their country’s most cherished ideals of freedom, democracy and human rights? These gentlemen seem to have forgotten that they are Americans first and businessmen second.”

Beguiled by profits? Forgotten they are Americans?

Does Gary Bauer remember how America defeated the Soviet Union? Let me rephrase that. Does Gary Bauer have the foggiest clue how America won the Cold War in the first place?

America did not defeat the Soviets on the battlefield. America was engaged in a Cold War, remember? A Cold War is, by definition, a war which never flares into open conflict. America’s military never directly confronted the Soviet military.

Instead the capitalist world, led by America, defeated the communist world, led by the Soviets, by bankrupting it. Wars are expensive. Wars must be subsidized by profits from the private sectors of warring nations. Capitalist America defeated communist Russia by showing profits for 184 straight quarters, from 1945 to 1991, while the latter continually hemorrhaged red ink.

Mikhail Gorbachev threw in the towel when it finally dawned on him the Soviet Union’s money-losing economic system was in Chapter 11 and had no hope of competing with America’s profit-making economic system.

Do you want to know who defeated communism, Gary? The American businessmen you’ve been busy slandering with accusations of treason defeated communism.

Comrade Bauer, meet Comrade Hall

Quote Number One: “Here again we witnessed the spectacle of US businessmen putting profits ahead of the principles of freedom and democracy… freedom of worship, freedom of speech and the right to just wages for labor are higher American ideals [than free trade.]”

Quote Number Two: “If the corporate and financial empires can accumulate such vast wealth, make profits in the billions, why can’t this rich nation of ours guarantee basic human rights for everyone, a decent job at union wages… and put people before profits.”

The first quote, denouncing American capitalists and condemning the profit motive, was taken from remarks made to the press by Gary Bauer.

The second quote, denouncing American capitalists and condemning the profit motive, was taken from Gus Hall’s Communist Party of the USA web site.

Or was it vice-versa?

Gary Bauer’s Un-American Values

One cannot uphold American values without defending freedom, hence free enterprise, also known as capitalism. This of course means, God forbid, defending capitalists, including the creative and industrious Americans who have made great American companies like Hughes, Loral, McDonnell Douglas and Boeing the world-class commercial enterprises they are today.

Gary Bauer’s “American values” are insidiously un-American, that is unless we consider the Communist Party of the USA’s values “American.” Self-styled super patriot Bauer unwittingly demonstrates how far modern Americans have strayed from the path laid out by our Founding Fathers a mere two centuries ago. You want to be afraid of something, Gary? Be afraid of that. Be very afraid.

Gary Bauer’s Communist Moral Premises

Gary Bauer imagines that ordinary Americans living their own lives and minding their own business have mysteriously incurred some sort of moral obligation to reform the political systems of every foreign nation from Albania to Zaire. Bauer presumes that his rightist globocop perception of what Americans owe the world, and conversely, what the world owes America, represents a proud, distinctly “American” idealism.

Does it really? How is Gary Bauer’s sanctimonious assertion that Americans who enjoy the blessings of liberty have a moral obligation to underwrite “human rights” and “democracy” in a less free Third World, any different from communists’ and socialists’ sanctimonious assertions that Americans who enjoy the blessings of material prosperity have a moral obligation to “share the wealth” with a less well to do Third World?

Gary Bauer is no champion of American values. Gary Bauer is the farthest thing from an authentic champion of American values. Gary Bauer wouldn’t recognize a core American value if it bit him on the ass.

If Gary Bauer is the least bit curious about what a principled foreign policy grounded in authentic American values would look like, he need look no further than George Washington’s Farewell Address of 1796, a treasure trove of the most astute foreign policy advice a great patriot ever bequeathed his nation.

Americans who understand what values are quintessentially American, know that politically and legally “Nobody owes anybody anything, except to leave them the hell alone.” This is as true between individual Americans as it is between America and the nations of the world.

With homegrown “friends” like Gary Bauer, do American values need foreign enemies?