- The Washington Times - Monday, May 22, 2000

Endorsement of free trade with China very Clintonian[p]

The editorial staff of The Washington Times has a serious case of bipolar disorder when it comes to China.
You denounce China's saber rattling, weapons exports, and torture and oppression of its citizens on one hand and then publish such editorials as "Free trade with China" (May 19), which virtually ignores all of the very things you have previously and repeatedly denounced.
This editorial could have been written by a Clinton administration staffer.
An "open" Chinese market, with its purported trickle-down democracy, is a myth and a pipe dream as long as a Communist regime rules that nation.
William Safire pointed out Thursday in a New York Times column ("The Biggest Vote," Op-Ed) that we have traded with China for 30 years, and only strengthened the oligarchs while our trade deficit with them has mushroomed from $7 billion to $70 billion during the 1990s.
Meanwhile, China continues to violate international agreements with the export of weapons of mass destruction to rogue states, to torture its people and to keep its markets mostly closed. Do you seriously believe that any future congressional commission wagging its finger at China for trade violations will have any effect at all on China's policies? Japan, a worthy ally and a benevolent society, has been a World Trade Organization member of long-standing, and is our trade with them balanced?
The idea that "free trade" with China will mean "unprecedented opportunities" for American workers may be true if you mean they will have the opportunity to look for new employment.
According to Alan Tonelson's column in the New York Times ("China's mythic market," Op-Ed, May 18), several Fortune 500 companies have declared that they will move manufacturing operations to China to take advantage of the cheaper labor market, just as many have done as a result of the North American Free Trade Agreement by moving operations to Mexico. How will this benefit the American worker?
Given Chinese behavior toward its neighbors, opening trade in high-tech industries would be a national security disaster. A few U.S. companies (and others) already have shown a willingness to sacrifice national security for increased profit. What effect will opening the floodgates of trade do to that number?
Permanent Normal Trade Relations for China ignores every demonstrated truth about how China does business and treats its citizens. Given your past editorials and articles on China, and on this administration's treatment of China, Friday's editorial is the pinnacle of hypocrisy.
Durham, N.C.


The Washington Times editorial endorsement of President Clinton's China policy in "Free trade with China" tries to limit the debate to the low politics of commerce, so as to avoid what has made the vote on "normal trade" with Beijing so contentious.
The real issue is whether it is wise to aid a brutal regime that keeps threatening war.
Ronald Reagan believed in free trade, but not with regimes that menaced his country. In 1982, Mr. Reagan said the United States had "helped the Soviets avoid some hard economic choices by providing preferential terms of trade, by allowing them to acquire militarily relevant technology, and by providing them a market… . By giving such preferential treatment, we have added to our own problems creating a situation where we have to spend more money on our defense to keep up with Soviet capabilities which we helped create."
Moscow was never granted "normal trade relations." Without American money to bail out its inherent contradictions, communism imploded and the "evil empire" collapsed.
In contrast, Mr. Clinton and the Republican leadership sound like those who appeased Nazi Germany. British businessmen, bankers and equally naive politicians felt in the 1930s that commercial interdependence would lead to peace. If Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler could be shown the benefits of shifting his economy from armaments to consumer goods, he could be brought into the mainstream of international society. What they did not understand was that Hitler did not share their liberal values any more than Chinese President Jiang Zemin does today.
China, like Germany, will use its strength to overthrow a world order it considers illegitimate.
State-run Chinese newspapers were again talking of war as The Times editorial appeared; including plans to bomb and blockade Taiwan and to defeat the United States if it dared intervene.
I should note that British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, now justly vilified for appeasing Hitler, was the leader of the Conservative Party. Winston Churchill, whose warnings were ignored until too late, is now considered the greatest statesman of the 20th century. It's too bad The Times and so many Republicans have decided to embrace the legacy of Chamberlain, and turn their backs on Churchill and Mr. Reagan.
Visiting fellow
U.S. Business and Industry Council

Tough road ahead for next school superintendent[p]

As one who was deeply involved with the change in school governance during my years on the D.C. control board, I think you have gone to the heart of the matter in your May 14 editorial "Revolving superintendents."
I wonder if any of the people who tried to manage the superintendent instead of allowing her to do her job ever thought about how difficult to downright impossible it will be to get another competent superintendent to follow Arlene C. Ackerman. We seem to be a self-destructive city, with points going to the person who can exercise the best crabs-fighting-in-a-barrel mentality. No superintendent will ever be able to please some of the overseers.
Hats off to The Times for telling it like it is.

A call to withdraw from Kosovo

The conflict between Congress and the president over our involvement in Kosovo, which is related to U.S. actions in Bosnia, was inevitable. The reason is twofold: For the most part, the president acted without congressional approval, and he misled Congress. The president took military action against one party (the Serbs) involved in the Bosnian civil war, and he led NATO into an undeclared war against a sovereign country (Yugoslavia), which had not taken any action against any NATO country or any other country.
The White House, whether under Republican or Democratic leadership, always asserts that the United States cannot have 535 foreign policies, that our Constitution vests the conduct of foreign affairs in the executive branch. By and large, Congress respects that position, but it also points out that the Constitution gives Congress certain powers in foreign affairs, notably the power of the purse.
Defenders of the administration assert that current efforts in Congress to put a time limit on our stay in Kosovo would undermine our program there. But critics in Congress say the president has seriously misled them. For example, in 1995 President Clinton said he was sending American peacekeepers to Bosnia and it "should and will take about one year." Now, five years and billions of dollars later, troops are still there, with no prospect of coming home soon. The troops have similar prospects for an even longer stay in Kosovo.
What is Congress to do? What alternatives does it have? Taxpayers back home are asking how long they will have to continue to pour billions of dollars into holes in an area where U.S. interests are minimal at best. Moreover, members of Congress believe they have a right to ask: What is the end game? What is the administration's plan for winding up our involvement?
Critics in Congress also complain that the other members of NATO are not contributing their share of the reconstruction costs. Our NATO allies are complaining that the United States misled them. They were assured that Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosevic would cave in quickly and, hence, reconstruction costs would not be excessive. Some of our NATO allies are asserting that they would not have agreed to attack Yugoslavia if they had had any notion that the damage would be so extensive.
The administration does not seem to have any remedies in hand. It expects to keep American troops in place, with the taxpayer footing increasing bills while America's military readiness becomes progressively weaker.

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