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Jewish World Review Jan. 30, 2002/17 Shevat, 5762

Don Feder

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Beijing's cave-dwellers also threaten United States -- ADDRESSING American businessmen in Hong Kong last week, U.S. Ambassador to Beijing Clark T. Randt said when President George Bush visits China in February, talks with Chinese leader Jiang Zemin will cover "make or break issues," including Taiwan, human rights and weapons proliferation.

This is another way of saying we wish the People's Republic would stop bullying Taiwan, brutalizing dissidents and arming Third World thugs with the means to start World War III.

"Our experience to date is that China does not have an effective export control regime for sensitive materials and items," the ambassador observed. Diplomats are given to such euphemisms.

There are seven nations on the U.S. State Department's list of terrorist states. All shop at Beijing's weapons-of-mass-destruction superstore, though some only buy accessories.

Pakistan and India almost clashed over terrorism in the Kashmir. If there is a nuclear war on the subcontinent, we can thank the PRC. China put Pakistan in the nuclear business -- and, by extension, aided ex-allies of Islamabad, as well. Two former members of Pakistan's Atomic Energy Commission are suspected of passing on information on making a low-grade nuclear device to Osama bin Laden.

The Pentagon says China is a "principal supplier of nuclear technology to Iran." Last week, the State Department slapped sanctions on two Chinese firms for transferring chemical and biological weapons know-how to Tehran.

Chinese experts have been helping Saddam Hussein rebuild and expand Iran's air defense systems and radar stations with fiber-optic upgrades linking strategic sites.

Libya gets Chinese support for its ballistic missile program. Sudan trades oil for Chinese military hardware. North Korea procures raw materials and equipment for its missile program through Chinese companies.

After Russia closed its intelligence base in Cuba, China moved to fill the void by helping Castro modernize his satellite-tracking center. When he visited the island in April 2001, Jiang agreed to extend $400 million in credits, in part to help the regime modernize its telecommunications network.

More than economics is at work here. Beijing's military trade with rogue states is helping it to build up a worldwide anti-American alliance.

At the same time, China is rapidly expanding its own military. A just-released CIA report estimates that by 2015, China could have 100 long-range nuclear missiles aimed at the United States, many on hard-to-locate mobile launchers. The regime is committed to the conquest of Taiwan and views its nuclear force as deterrence insurance should America try to intervene.

In 2000, China became the world's biggest arms importer, acquiring an estimated $3 billion in weapons, including the latest Russian warships, subs and tanks. On Jan. 4, the Kremlin announced it was building two more Sovremenny-class destroyers for the Chinese, at a cost of $1 billion, to be delivered in 2006.

Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan and Japan are all apprehensive. Beijing certainly doesn't need this military might to suppress the Falun Gong meditation movement or deal with a few Islamic separatists in its Xinjiang region.

To complement China's military expansion, Jiang has cultivated a rabid nationalism that portrays America as the mortal enemy of the Middle Kingdom.

In many ways, Beijing's propaganda mirrors the rhetoric of Islamic militants, except that instead of portraying America as a nation of decadent infidels, China's rulers have taught the masses to see us as mad hegemonists bent on frustrating and humiliating the Chinese nation.

This has led to such venomous outpourings as gloating over Sept. 11 on Chinese-language websites. Writing in The New York Times, Nicholas D. Kristof mentioned a Sept. 12 luncheon at an elite Communist Party school, where there were smiles of satisfaction over the deaths of 3,000 Americans.

When Bush visits China later this month, it should be with the realization that terror comes in many guises. They may not hide in caves or talk of jihad, but China's communist rulers are just as committed to our downfall -- and far better equipped to achieve that evil end.

JWR contributing columnist Don Feder's latest books are Who is afraid of the Religious Right? ($15.95) and A Jewish conservative looks at pagan America ($9.95). To receive an autographed copy, send a check or money order to: Don Feder, The Boston Herald, 1 Herald Sq., Boston, Mass. 02106. Doing so will help fund JWR, if so noted. He is also available as a guest speaker. To comment on this column please click here.

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© 2002, Creators Syndicate