- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 7, 2000

Fear trading our way to reform in China doomed

Beijing's duplicitous welcome of the House of Representatives' favor granting China permanent normal trading privileges is an affront to all freedom-loving people. By embracing trade and denouncing U.S. efforts to monitor China's human rights violations, China shows itself eager to eat the fruits of our success and spit the seeds of democracy and liberty in our face.

President Clinton, on the eve of this historic vote by our House of Representatives as they retreated from America's founding principles, said we should not show China the back of our hand on the trade issue lest we lose our ability to influence their "moderate reformers."

Honorable members of the Senate should note that Beijing's "moderate reformers" were quick to show America the back of their hand by embracing trade and rejecting a core American principle freedom.

By hoping to trade our way to reform in China, our politicians expect our corporate sector to do the heavy lifting on a range of issues beyond the realm of corporate duties. If our State Department and the United Nations can't foster the change we would like to see in areas of democratization and human rights, why should we believe American executives will fare any better? We should remember, too, that unrealized trade expectations can prove as strong a catalyst for conflict as opposing ideologies.

China's current oil and water mix of dictatorship of the proletariat fueled by a powerful capitalistic engine is eerily reminiscent of Hitler's Third Reich and Mussolini's Fascist movement. China is changing, but is it morphing from a caterpillar to a butterfly or a dragonfly? We simply don't yet know. With that in mind, we ought to give some serious thought to the concept of helping build China from an adversary to, as the Pentagon describes, an unnamed contentious peer.

In the face of China's dismal record of trade violations, human rights abuse, support for dictatorships, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, occupation of contested territory, to name just a few transgressions, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that an ill wind blows from East to West. As we hasten the event, just how long it takes to reach America's shores may be the only question left unanswered.



Some facts get disconnected from cell-phone articles

Two articles on the lack of Metro cell-phone coverage are misleading ("Panel to probe lack of cell-phone service," May 31 and "Poor areas still lack Metro cell-phone service," May 30.

Contract issues exist between Verizon Wireless (formed by the combination of Bell Atlantic, Airtouch Cellular and PrimeCo Personal Communications) and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) regarding cellular telephone coverage in the subway. To suggest otherwise is untrue.

Verizon Wireless has invested tens of millions of dollars in all neighborhoods in the Washington-Baltimore region to build our cellular network and provide our customers with the coverage they need for quality wireless communications be it analog, digital or cellular digital packet data service.

In 1993, we signed a contract with WMATA to build the cellular telephone network within Metro. To date, 85 percent of that network has been completed.

Verizon Wireless is committed to completing the build-out of the Metro cellular telephone network. However, contract issues between Verizon and WMATA have delayed that completion. Verizon Wireless continues to meet regularly with WMATA to try to resolve the differences of opinion.

We remain hopeful that our differences can be ironed out quickly so that the build-out of the remaining 15 percent can be completed.


Regional president Washington/ Baltimore

Verizon Wireless


Proposal to create a U.N. rapid deployment force commended

Despite the assertions by Marc Thiessen, spokesman for Sen. Jesse Helms, the proposal by Rep. Jim McGovern and Rep. John Edward Porter to create a U.N. Rapid Deployment Police and Security Force (UNRDF) is not a "slippery slope" ("Armed troops sought for U.N.," June 1).

The UNRDF is not a standing army. Its size is limited to 6,000 troops. Its deployments are limited to six months. It would not be equipped to fight its way into a conflict or engage in an Operation Desert Storm-type scenario.

Americans clearly do not want to see gross violations of human rights played out on the nightly news. Nor do they want the United States to shoulder a major portion of the burden in resolving conflicts. The McGovern-Porter bill is a practical proposal which addresses this dilemma by filling three serious gaps in current peacekeeping capacity:

• The time gap: It takes between three and six months on average to deploy peacekeeping troops following a U.N. Security Council decision. During this time, the in-country political situation can change dramatically, leading to conflict escalation and a reduced chance of peaceful resolution.

The UNRDF would contain conflict and stabilize the political situation, while giving regular peacekeeping units from member nations sufficient time to deploy. It would also reduce civilian casualties and human rights violations that currently occur in the time between decision and deployment.

• The training gap: In peacekeeping operations, troops from multiple nations with different levels of training, languages, communication and weapons systems must work together in very confusing circumstances. The UNRDF would smooth the transition for the more diverse member state peacekeeping troops by establishing an initial U.N. presence and subsequently providing basic situation information to member-state militaries. When not deployed, UNRDF personnel would train peacekeepers from member states, increasing their skills and communications in the field when transition occurs.

• The "political will" gap: A common problem with peacekeeping is that there is often a lack of political will within troop-contributing member states due to fear of negative public response to casualties. UNRDF casualties, although unfortunate, would not be viewed by the public in the same way as regular armed forces casualties would be because they were individual volunteers for an international force. A UNRDF deployment by the Security Council could give member state leaders time to make the case for troop contributions to their legislators and constituents.

Actual or threatened member state casualties have caused nations to withdraw peacekeepers, allowing massacres and genocide. The Security Council could order the UNRDF to hold fast in precarious situations until the international community could relieve them.

The UNRDF is just one piece of a larger puzzle. It will not be a substitute for effective diplomacy nor resolve the issue of insufficient resources that the United Nations faces. However, rather than being a "slippery slope," it is a step up in the right direction, and Mr. McGovern and Mr. Porter should be commended for making this very useful proposal.


Executive director

Campaign for U.N. Reform


Treaty a tragedy

I was fascinated by Balint Vazsonyi's column "Bad treaty that won't go away" (Commentary, June 4). Mr. Vazsonyi's reflection on the 1920 Treaty of Trianon merely scratched the surface of 80 years of suffering in Central Europe to which there is no end in sight. This column is a great commemoration of this European tragedy.

Thank you for printing this column.


New Brunswick, N.J.

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