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Week of: January 7, 2001

Stop Kidding Ourselves About China

by F.R. Duplantier

"In a world growing more interdependent by the hour, China's ambitions cannot be shrugged off."

"The People's Republic of China is the most serious national security threat the United States faces at present," declares Washington Times reporter Bill Gertz. "This grave strategic threat includes the disruption of vital U.S. interests in the Pacific region and even the possibility of a nuclear war that could cost millions of American lives. Yet, under the 'engagement' policy of President Clinton and his advisers," Gertz laments, "the China threat has been wished away with meaningless platitudes and unrealistic expectations that China will somehow evolve peacefully into a benign democracy. It is," he says, "a policy of weakness and passivity that ill serves America's national interests."

In his new book, The China Threat, Gertz reports that "China's hard-eyed communist rulers have set out on a coolly pragmatic course of strategic deception that masks their true goals: undermining the United States around the world and raising China to a position of dominant international political and military power. They seek to push the United States out of the vital Pacific region," he charges, "and achieve virtual Chinese hegemony in Asia."

Gertz reminds the self-delusional that "China's rulers remain communists, and the fifty years of communist rule are replete with brutal repression, mass murder, and border wars with China's neighbors. But communism seeks to change not only external political conditions but also the internal nature of human beings," he emphasizes. "It is this feature of communism that accounts for its most dangerous characteristic: its failure to value human life. In the twentieth century, tens of millions perished under communist persecution."

Gertz rebukes American leaders who "downplay or ignore the ideology behind Communist China. An observer listening to the opinions of American government officials, business leaders, academics, and many in the news media would find it hard to discern that China's rulers today are communists at all," he comments. "The pervasive view is that China's leaders have embraced capitalism, that communism in China is dead. Even many intelligence officials deny a 'China threat.'"

Gertz argues that "the prevailing political orthodoxy in the Clinton-Gore Administration was a continuation of the 'anti-anticommunism' of the Cold War Left that sees McCarthyism, not communism, as the central problem, something that should be discredited, marginalized, or dismissed as extremist. . . ." He concludes that "the pro-China policies of the Clinton-Gore Administration were a disaster for America's national security interests, which were not even considered in the rush to enhance China. Quite the opposite," Gertz asserts. "The Clinton-Gore Administration's loosening of trade restrictions with China vastly improved China's military power with transfers of strategic high technology."

Gertz marvels at the naiveté, or guile, of some Clinton officials, who actually suggested that "it was a good thing that China had obtained nuclear weapons secrets from the United States. After all, they said, why should the United States be the only nation with advanced warheads and missiles? With that astonishing rationale," Gertz remarks, "they brushed aside all worries about the Chinese gaining information on every deployed nuclear weapon in the U.S. arsenal and improving their own nuclear weapons."


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