- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 11, 2001

Henceforth, I intend to behave very badly.

I will employ force and threaten violence. I will violate the norms of civilized behavior and international law. When called to account, I shall say that my feelings are easily hurt, and, unless the aggrieved want even more trouble, they'd better ignore my drunken Cossack conduct and give me what I want — chop, chop.

In short, I'll act like the People's Republic of China, which gets away with bloody murder time and again.

It even has President George Bush — who came to office promising a new realism in U.S.-China relations — anxiously trying to determine what degree of kowtowing will suffice to secure the release of our plane and its crew.

Chinese thuggery succeeds because it's abetted by a U.S. appeasement lobby — an energetic cadre that rationalizes the most atrocious behavior. Call it Team Panda.

Corporate Quislings — It's not in our interest to upset these touchy tyrants, they plead. “Today is not the day to inscribe the epitaph on a tombstone of U.S. trade relations with China,” warns Bob Kapp of the hey-roll-me-over U.S.-China business council.

We can't risk the opportunity to transfer roughly $83 billion annually (last year's trade deficit) from the pockets of American consumers to the budget of the People's Liberation Army.

State Department Stooges — They've made a career of accommodation and are proud of their ability to defuse any crisis with their teeth while licking Beijing's boots in the process.

U.S. Ambassador to China Joseph Prueher's forte is advising his hosts on how to seem reasonable while pursuing megalomaniacal goals. Last year, Prueher told Beijing that by removing a few of its missiles opposite Taiwan, it would “undercut American hardliners who think China is a threat.”

China Policy Experts — Their expertise lies in consistently misreading a Stalinist regime. Sen. Joe Biden, ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, says of the hostage crisis, now in its second week, “I think they are desperately looking for a face-saving way out of this.”

Don't blame China for kidnapping the crew of the EP-3 and holding them for ransom (a groveling apology and promise to end reconnaissance flights in international airspace). It's in a tight spot and seeking a way to preserve its pride. Where would we be without men of vision like Neville Chamberlain, who allowed Hitler to preserve German pride prior to World War II?

Whatever offense China commits, its apologists are there to explain it from the Chinese perspective. Team Panda always has an excuse, which comes down to Chinese sensitivity or insecurity.

Taiwan — The Chinese get emotional about sovereignty issues, we are advised. They consider Taiwan (ruled by the mainland for less than five of the past 100 years) to be sacred soil of the Middle Kingdom. So they're entitled to threaten war with the tiny democracy if it doesn't agree to merge with a gulag. American efforts to give Taiwanese the means to protect themselves are an affront to Chinese nationalism.

Missile Defense — Aw, the poor politburo feels threatened by our ability to forestall a nuclear Pearl Harbor. Better we should leave ourselves vulnerable than “precipitate” an arms race. Annual double-digit increases in Chinese military spending apparently are aimed at lessening tensions.

Human Rights Abuses — We mustn't criticize China for brutally crushing dissent. The People's Republic is mortally offended by interference in its internal affairs. In January, five members of the Falun Gong tried to set themselves on fire in Tiananmen Square to protest the jailing and torture of thousands of their compatriots.

But, as James Murdoch, son of Rupert and head of News Corp's Asia operations, explains, Falun Gong is a “dangerous, apocalyptic cult” which “does not have the success of China at heart.” Pity young Murdoch wasn't on hand to fan the flames.

Beijing's bully boys think they'll win the latest test of wills and hasten the end of America's role as regional super-power. With an influential lobby explaining every outrage from the Chinese viewpoint, how can it lose? I can't wait to hear what they'll say when Chinese missiles begin falling on Taipei or Los Angeles.

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