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Jewish World Review Feb. 29, 2000 / 23 Adar I, 5760

Cal Thomas

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Clinton-Gore's China legacy --
THE STATE DEPARTMENT, long in denial when it comes to combative words from the enemies of Israel, now says that bellicose language and threats from Communist China to forcefully take over Taiwan also should not be taken seriously.

With presidential elections scheduled in Taiwan next month, the Chinese government issued a statement warning it will use military force to "reunify'' the island nation with the mainland if Taiwan does not begin negotiations soon, or if it declares independence, or is "occupied'' by a "foreign power.''

This is the legacy of the Clinton-Gore administration, which not only has contributed to the gutting of the American military but has resurrected the notion once advanced by the late Mao Zedong that the West -- the United States in particular -- is a paper tiger. That's what results from double dealing with the Chinese for campaign cash so that Clinton-Gore could win reelection in 1996. Clinton-Gore got Chinese money. China is closer to getting Taiwan.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms had scheduled a hearing on the Chinese statement and on Taiwan's annual defense request for Wednesday (Feb. 23), but the administration refused to send anyone to testify. The best the administration could offer was a comment from Stanley Roth, assistant secretary of state for East Asia, who urged "both sides'' to "exercise restraint.'' Both sides? China threatens Taiwan with war and the administration warns Taiwan not to get excited?

China's modernization of its military continues. That's why the House passed on Feb. 1 the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act. It is designed to strengthen America's ability to fulfill the mandate of the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act that obligates the United States to help Taiwan defend itself. President Clinton has promised to veto the latest legislation if it gets to his desk. Is this part of the reelection bargain made with Beijing? We may never know until those associated with the illegal campaign cash scam who fled the country to hide out in China are questioned under oath. That will happen about the time freedom of speech comes to Tiananmen Square.

There is no reason to doubt the resolve of China. Lt. Gen. Mi Zhenyu, vice commandant at the Academy of Military Sciences in Beijing, has said: "(As for the United States) for a relatively long time it will be absolutely necessary that we quietly nurse our sense of revenge .... We must conceal our abilities and bide our time.''

In their book "The Coming Conflict With China,'' Richard Bernstein and Ross Munro write: "If China remains aggressive and the United States naive, the looming conflict between the two countries could even lead to military hostilities. The United States, after all, has been in major wars in Asia three times in the past half century, always to prevent a single power from gaining ascendancy there, and there seems little question that China over the next decade or two will be ascendant on its side of the Pacific.''

The Chinese have built a full-scale mock-up of Taiwan's largest air base and are reportedly practicing assaults on the facility, write Edward Timperlake and William C. Triplett II in their book, "Red Dragon Rising.'' According to the congressional Cox committee's report: "The (People's Republic of China) has stolen U.S. missile guidance technology that has direct application to the (People's Liberation Army's) ballistic missiles and rockets.''

The Clinton administration has played into the hands of China by accepting Beijing's view that a strong Taiwan is a threat. In fact, both Democrats and Republicans in Congress have consistently agreed that a strong Taiwan deters war in the Far East while a weak Taiwan invites aggression from the mainland.

The Chinese Communists know how to play head games when they perceive weakness. Mao said: "The mind of the enemy and the will of his leaders is a target of far more importance than the bodies of his troops.'' With the American military weakened by this administration and with stolen U.S. secrets in Chinese hands, Beijing continues to work on weakening the American mind. They're doing a job that would make Chinese military philosopher Sun Tzu proud. He said, "All warfare is based on deception.'' The Chinese could not have better partners in deceit than Bill Clinton and Al Gore.

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