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Jewish World Review May 10, 2000 /5 Iyar, 5760

Don Feder

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Clinton says: National security requires us to arm the enemy -- THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION, which has perfected the art of Orwellian newspeak -- a la Elian, home invasion is "the rule of law" -- can never exceed last week's performance on granting China what's now called permanent normal trade relations (PNTR).

The president and his national security stooge declared that building the arsenal of our most likely adversary in the coming century is vital to our national security.

When I first saw the quote, I assumed it was from the president's comedy video. But, no, Bill Clinton was serious when he said that "from a national security point of view, it would be a very unwise and precarious move" not to end the annual review of China's trade status.

National Security Advisor Sandy Berger said rejecting PNTR would start a "downward spiral" in our relations with Beijing, which could lead to another Cold War.

But, in the real world, what kind of signal does bestowing permanent trade status send to the thugs who rule China? It tells them that, in terms of their relations with the United States, there is no cause and effect -- that whatever they do, we will still give them whatever they want.

They can threaten Taiwan with war if it doesn't begin a negotiated surrender (the merger of the island democracy with a totalitarian state), and there will be no reprisals.

They can steal our most sensitive military secrets and corrupt our political process with illegal campaign cash, and not be penalized. They can act as the chief exporter of weapons of mass destruction to outlaw regimes, and we will continue to call them our strategic partner.

They can persecute Christians, pursue a program of forced abortions, maintain a slave-labor system based on the Laogai camps and ethnically cleanse Tibet, and suffer no adverse consequences.

Prior to Munich, the German general staff was prepared to overthrow Hitler if the West had resisted. All it would have taken to avoid World War II was an unequivocal sign from the democracies.

Must the mistakes of history be endlessly repeated? Granting PNTR to China will strengthen the hand of hard-liners, by telling the regime that America will never do anything meaningful to counter its aggression.

Sorry Sandy, but there already is a new Cold War. Unfortunately, only one side realizes it's in the trenches.

The People's Liberation Army sees America as "the main enemy." Its book "Unrestricted War" calls for "confronting" the United States through "terrorism, drug trafficking, computer hacking and financial warfare."

Already possessing the world's largest army, Beijing is rapidly modernizing its forces by acquiring advanced weapons, like the Sovremenny-class destroyer purchased from Russia. In 1999, China had the 12th consecutive year of double-digit growth in defense spending.

In the next six years, China will deploy up to 650 short-range missiles. Former Navy Secretary James Webb notes that it's constructing a military base in the Paracel Islands, 260 miles off the coast of Vietnam, that includes a 7,000 foot runway. In the Spratly Islands, disputed territory off the Philippine coast, Beijing has installed a heliport, radar and gun emplacements.

Besides allowing it to merge the world's 14th largest economy with its own, taking Taiwan would give the People's Republic control of the South China Sea, and the air and naval bases to project its power throughout the region. Wei Jingsheng, who spent two decades in a forced labor camp, warns PNTR "will give legitimacy and increase the credibility of China's state-owned enterprises, which will enable China to make public offerings of stocks and bonds throughout America's financial markets, thus creating the most direct flow of capital to China."

Then -- along with China's $60-billion annual surplus from its U.S. trade -- American pension funds will provide the capital to build the weapons that will one day be trained on us.

Based on Clinton's logic, we should also give Chinese President Jiang Zemin a permanent pass to the Los Alamos nuclear labs and send our annual defense appropriation directly to the People's Liberation Army -- to further enhance national security, you understand.

JWR contributing columnist Don Feder's latest book is Who's Afraid of the Religious Right. Comment on his column by clicking here.


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© 2000, Creators Syndicate