- The Washington Times - Friday, May 30, 2008

Antiwar harassment

The Air Force is warning military personnel traveling to the Pentagon to be on alert for anti-Iraq war harassment, including recent incidents involving radicals who used racial epithets.

A “security advisory” circular distributed recently by the Air Force’s Eagle Eyes watch report - a project of the Office of Special Investigations - said several recent incidents of antiwar harassment took place in the national capital region involving military personnel who were “verbally assaulted while commuting on the Metro.”

“These uniformed members have been approached by individuals expressing themselves as anti-government, shouting antiwar sentiments and using slurs against minorities,” the May advisory said.

In one case, a woman in uniform was followed on to a Metro platform by an antiwar protester who “continued to berate her as she exited the Metro station.”

Verbal assaults took place near the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Eisenhower Avenue Metro stations on the Yellow Line.

“However, military members should be vigilant and aware of their surroundings at all times while in transit,” the advisory stated.

“The incidents appear to be random in nature,” it stated. “Investigations [to date] indicate that these incidents do not appear to be an organized campaign.”

Angry China

The U.S. ambassador to China, Clark T. “Sandy” Randt, opposes Bush administration plans to sell advanced F-16 jets to Taiwan because of concerns that Beijing has grown “angry” over protests and harsh reaction around the world to China’s Olympic torch relay.

Mr. Randt, according to administration officials, informed President Bush recently that he opposes approval of the sale of F-16 C/D models to Taiwan because “China is now vulnerable and angry” because of the protests surrounding the Olympic torch relay in Europe and Asia.

Mr. Randt has told the president that nothing should be done to hurt China’s feelings before the Olympics, set to begin Aug. 8, and wants to wait until well after the Games, perhaps into the next administration before approving the warplane sale.

The ambassador has served in Beijing since 2001. Mr. Randt was behind State Department pressure on Japan’s government to block a pre-inaugural visit to Tokyo by Taiwan’s new president, Ma Ying-jeou.

Asked about the F-16 advice to the president, Susan N. Stevenson, a U.S. Embassy spokeswoman, said the officials’ account is “not accurate” but would not say whether Mr. Randt opposes or supports selling F-16s to Taiwan.

“His exchanges with the president are always focused on pursuing and advancing the interests of the United States,” she said. “Any conversations with the president, however, are privileged and must remain private.”

Mr. Randt “is very clear about our responsibilities under the Taiwan Relations Act,” Ms. Stevenson said of the U.S. law that permits sales of defensive arms to Taiwan.

“The United States and China continue to advance our relationship through candid dialogue, including on issues where we have serious differences, such as China’s military buildup, human rights and religious freedom,” he said.

New Europe

Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus said yesterday that he disagrees strongly with former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld that post-Communist Europe, including his nation, is a “new Europe” more attuned to U.S. interests than the appeasement-oriented nation of Western or “old Europe.”

“We don’t like the division between old and new Europe,” Mr. Klaus told reporters and editors of The Washington Times.

One reason is that nations like Czech Republic are not new, he said. “We are very old Europe … as old Europe as any Western European country.”

Mr. Klaus said he corrected European leaders who welcomed him and his nation into “Europe” after Prague joined the European Union in 2004.

“We don’t need to be welcomed in Europe,” he said. “If you say welcome to the European Union, OK.”

Mr. Klaus said he prefers to talk about old EU members and new EU members.

“That’s a fairer description, and there is definitely almost no anti-Americanism in the new EU member countries, most of them former communist countries, as compared to some degree of anti-Americanism in old EU member countries.”

* Bill Gertz covers national security affairs. He can be reached at 202-636-3274, or at InsidetheRing@washingtontimes.com.