- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 6, 2000

Taiwan not an intelligence threat to United States

I was dismayed to learn that the U.S. Department of Justice has included Taiwan on a list of "country threats" to U.S. national security, as was reported by The Washington Times ("Reno calls Taiwan an intelligence threat," May 24). As my country's principal representative in the United States, I would like to make it perfectly clear that no personnel or offices stationed by my government in this country have ever engaged in any intelligence activities that were illegal or posed a threat to the United States.

We would never knowingly jeopardize our close and friendly relationship with the United States. Two-way trade between both counties totaled $50.6 billion last year, and there are significant exchanges between the two countries in the fields of culture, science, education and tourism. As a full-fledged democracy, we share with the United States a common commitment to preserving peace and stability in Asia.

The ill-advised decision to include us on a list of threats is most regrettable. Ta-wei Lee, my country's vice minister of foreign affairs, has expressed our serious concern to Raymond Burghart, the director of the American Institute in Taiwan, and we have asked for an explanation from the relevant U.S. authorities.

In the meantime, however, I would like to assure all of our many friends and supporters in the United States that the 23 million people of the Republic of China on Taiwan cherish the traditional ties of friendship between our two peoples, and we are eager to continue working with the United States to usher in a new era of peace and prosperity in the coming century.

STEPHEN S.F. CHEN

Representative

Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office

Washington

German 'justice' has kept reader from his children

Just a word of thanks for your editorial "Kidnapped in Germany" (May 31). I am one of the hundreds of American parents who has lost children to the German judicial system. In my case, I have not seen my twin boy and girl for almost six years. It may seem strange to readers that a parent actually loses all contact with his or her children in Germany, but, in the case of myself and many other American, French, British and other mothers and fathers, it is a testament to the horrible truth of German "justice."

The truth is if a German parent wants to keep the foreign spouse from their children, all he or she has to do is go back to Germany and refuse access. The German courts will support them by disregarding custody as decreed in foreign courts, refusing to enforce their own visitation decrees and, finally, taking away any sort of access for the foreign parent for the "good of the children."

This latter "remedy" happened to me. After years of trying to reunite with my children, receiving visitation orders and not having them enforced, the German courts just gave up trying and decided it was best that I just go away. Until the world sees this human tragedy, the German judiciary will never change. Your editorial is a good step in getting that word out.

GLENN GEBHARD

Venice, Calif.

Sharing missile-defense technology the wrong path to Russian relations

Contrary to the assertion of Paul M. Weyrich and Edward Lozansky that there is "little doubt that the United States needs the proposed missile defense system," there is actually quite a lot of doubt surrounding both the "need" of the proposed national missile defense system (NMD) and the perceived nuclear threat that has been spurring NMD forward ("A joint missile defense," Op-Ed, June 2). Furthermore, the debate over whether or not an NMD system is the best way to deal with such a threat has been prevalent for decades.

After more than $70 billion and almost two decades, the various mutations of missile defense have yet to produce an effective and workable system. The current NMD system has undergone only two intercept tests, with just one more remaining before President Clinton is expected to make a deployment decision. Moreover, the intercept tests are not representative of real world threats where attack by a rogue state would be accompanied by easily employed countermeasures and decoys. In comparison to other weapon development programs with less demanding missions, the Union of Concerned Scientists points out that, "the Pentagon expects to test the NMD system less than a typical military system."

As for the threat, a high-ranking U.S. intelligence official acknowledged in a Los Angeles Times on May 19 that neither North Korea nor Iran has made significant advances in their missile programs over the past year. In fact, North Korea's program has been frozen since October 1998.

Clearly, the United States should be working diligently to restore and strengthen relations with Russia, but to imply that this would be accomplished best by sharing missile-defense technology (that doesn't work) negates the stark reality: As long as nuclear weapons exist, other nations will strive to obtain them. The United States and Russia should be pursuing deep reductions in the world's already bloated nuclear arsenal, for the abolition of nuclear weapons is the only genuine defense.

MICHELLE CIARROCCA

Research associate

World Policy Institute

New York

Defeating liberal bias in media through ownership

Robert McFarland's well-meaning recommendation that conservatives should train themselves to speak to the media properly in order to get their viewpoints in print is, I believe, unworkable ("Conquering the media's liberal bias," Forum, June 4). Unfortunately, it appears to be roughly equivalent to the theory that Neville Chamberlain could convince Adolf Hitler not to invade Poland by being friendly to him.

Conservatives need to recognize and admit to themselves that the major media is controlled (i.e. owned) by people who abhor anyone or anything they view as conservative. Consequently, these owners are conducting a propaganda war to enhance their liberal agenda, while at the same time denigrating/demonizing conservative concepts. The owners of the major media (e.g., CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, etc.), all of which hold philosophies that are on the left side of the political spectrum, hire editors, reporters, and writers who are willing to espouse their left-wing causes. No matter how well-trained conservatives are in talking to these people, they will be unsuccessful in getting their views across. Since employees of the major media are getting paid to promote the liberal agenda, conservative explanations will only fall on deaf ears.

The only way to move toward political balance in the media is for conservatives to purchase as many of the major media outlets as possible. Concerned conservatives like Mr. McFarland should formulate a plan to promote conservative media ownership, and to proselytize well-heeled conservative individuals and organizations to join them in acquiring media properties. Let's face it, there is only one reason why outlets such as The Washington Times and Fox News provide a fair hearing for conservative voices their owners personally hold conservative philosophies.

On Jan. 21, 1999, The Washington Times published an Op-Ed column by Herb Berkowitz of the Heritage Foundation that put the onus on conservatives for their inability to get their viewpoints across to the liberal media ("Coping with a liberal media world"). Mr. McFarland's proposed response echoes Mr. Berkowitz's plan, which was to train conservatives in the niceties of writing and speaking to the liberal media. When I complained to the Heritage Foundation (of which I am a member) that they were wasting their time and energy, the response was that the challenge of trying to take control of the media was too great, and that all they could do was to work at the margins.

I disagreed then and disagree now. Conservatives must focus on the target major media and they must marshal the forces to gain control or be doomed to interminably complaining about liberal media bias.

THOMAS J. RYAN

Bethany Beach, Del.

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