- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 3, 2000

U.S. shouldn't shy from confronting China

I applaud Professor Cheng Li's clear and frank assessment of the potential for armed conflict with China ("China not jesting about war," Nov. 22). But there is much more to China's foreign and diplomatic policies than Taiwan, and the challenges facing Chinese-American relations encompass a plethora of challenging issues.

Such issues as China's occupation of Tibet, nuclear weapon modernization and potential espionage, ballistic missile technology proliferation, growing economic prowess, and human rights abuses head a long list of problems contributing to the tensions between our governments.

Certainly the Taiwan issue is a central one, but attempts to explain Chinese-American relations based on one or two topics will always fail to account for the many variables in this complex dynamic.

We should continue to engage China on all fronts, but that strategy must also allow for confrontation when appropriate whatever forms such confrontation may take.

China's leaders are not afraid of confrontation, as their increasingly belligerent rhetoric indicates. America's leaders must not shun confrontation, either.

PATRICK POPE

Fayetteville, N.C.

Oppression of Palestinians a reality

Amos Perlmutter refers to the Palestinians as the "so-called 'oppressed' " in his Nov. 27 Op-Ed column on the conflict in Palestine ("International force fantasies for Mideast"). This is nonsense.

By any standard, save those of the hard-line pro-Israeli apologists, the Palestinians are indeed oppressed. They are subject to military occupation, laws that strangle their economic development, land confiscations, and a ring of illegal settlements and access roads. Were they Tibetans oppressed by communist China or Kosovars oppressed by an anti-Western Serb leadership, I have no doubt that American conservatives would suddenly find an interest in the Palestinian fight for independence.

The truth is that Israel is no different, no matter how well its public relations machine trumpets its so-called democratic character.

A state that is explicitly dedicated to only one ethnic group and that has destroyed the indigenous communities of Palestine is an enemy of all who believe in liberty and independence.

TAIT GRAVES

Menlo Park, Calif.

Kosovo crisis is Albanian PR ploy

I find it difficult to understand why a normally thoughtful newspaper like yours cannot see through the public relations plot going on now on the Kosovo-Serbia border ("Kosovo crisis," Editorials, Nov. 29).

The Albanian irredentists are simply repeating their previously successful pattern: First, provoke the Serbs by murdering police officers and civilians, this time inside Serbia; second, provoke a mass exodus of their Albanian sympathizers, complete with children and women; third, claim absolute victimhood; and fourth, request or use lachrymose CNN coverage to obtain a NATO "humanitarian intervention" on behalf of those civilians, resulting in further territorial dismembering of Serbia.

This would bring Slobodan Milosevic back to power, which would fit Albanian interests quite well. We are simply witnessing Albanian expansionism under the very nose of NATO troops and one is loath to think about how virulent that expansionism would be in the absence of those troops.

MICHAEL RADU

Senior Fellow

Foreign Policy Research Institute

Philadelphia

The Constitution on trial

It seems that the more Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman hangs around Vice President Al Gore, the more he lies like him. Now Mr. Lieberman is issuing dire warnings to the Florida Legislature. Regarding the recommendation by a joint committee of the Legislature to hold a special session next week to choose a set of electors, Mr. Lieberman said:

"This action by the Florida Legislature really threatens the credibility and legitimacy of the ultimate choice of electors in Florida. It threatens to put us into a constitutional crisis."

A constitutional crisis? Hardly. In Article II, Section 1, the U.S. Constitution provides that the president shall be chosen by electors appointed by the state legislatures.

According to Mr. Gore, Mr. Lieberman and their army of superlawyers, any action that favors Texas Gov. George W. Bush is, de facto, not credible and not legitimate. They cannot be trusted.

CYRILLE ROGACKI

New York

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The United States is a federal republic, not a democracy. Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution is unambiguous:

"Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress."

The Constitution has no restriction on when or how each state legislature may exercise that power. And since no restriction is imposed in the Constitution on this power conferred by the Constitution, not even a law unanimously passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the president can impose one. To the extent that any federal law purports to restrict that constitutional delegation of power, it is unconstitutional on its face.

The Florida Legislature needs to fulfill its constitutional duty by directing the appointment of electors. It, not the Florida judiciary or even the U.S. Supreme Court, is finally responsible for acting for the people of Florida.

MICHAEL J. GAYNOR

Greenlawn, N.Y.

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The liberal news media are spinning yet another case to discredit Texas Gov. George W. Bush's victory in Florida: The Republicans, the argument goes, should abrogate their U.S. Supreme Court litigation because the result, even if in their favor, would have no significant effect on the election.

Au contraire. The U.S. Supreme Court decision is one of the most important decisions it has had before it since Roe vs. Wade. The court must decide if the judicial branch of government at any level can override the legislative branch regarding the selection of Electoral College electors, which is exactly what the Florida Supreme Court did.

By changing the laws made by Florida's elected officials, this liberal activist court effectively trampled on the rights of the people of Florida. They and all Americans deserve vindication for requiring an orderly and prompt response to close state elections.

The U.S. Supreme Court must affirm the decision made by the Florida state canvassing board to certify the results of the election by their legal Nov. 14 deadline.

Unbiased machine counts backed up by recounts that were deemed appropriate by local canvassing boards were all appropriate if completed within the state's statutory deadline.

Can any judiciary give selected rights to selected counties not to abide by those pre-election laws? Certainly not.

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision will be significant, indeed.

AL ROSTKOWSKI

Yorktown, Va.

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