- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 20, 2005

Ascendant China’s Voting Rights Act problems war games

The column “Anti-American war games” by James Hackett (Commentary, Thursday) correctly pulls no punches in describing the current military exercises between China and Russia as anti-U.S. war games.

This is only the latest manifestation of China’s challenge to the U.S. supremacy internationally, especially in the Asia-Pacific region. China has been trying to establish a strategic partnership with Moscow to confront what it calls U.S. global hegemony. As the article mentions, through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, China took a lead to get Uzbekistan to order out U.S. forces that support operations in Afghanistan and tried but failed to get Kyrgyzstan to do the same.

China depends heavily on foreign arms suppliers for advanced technologies and is obtaining increasingly effective weapons from Russia to project its ever-growing military power. Earlier in the year, Chinese Maj. Gen. Zhu Chenghu said China should use nuclear weapons against U.S. intervention on Taiwan’s behalf.

China has been given access to Pakistan’s new port, large enough for China’s nuclear subs, at Gwadar near the Gulf of Oman, which could threaten U.S. assets in the Middle East. China had supplied Pakistan both the nuclear weapons and missiles, and subsequently, Pakistan got missiles from North Korea in exchange for nuclear assistance to the evil regime as part of A.Q. Khan’s gigantic nuclear-proliferation bazaar.

Your editorial “Pakistan’s shot across the bow” (Thursday) states that Pakistan, though a poorer country, has been able to compete with India in cruise missiles, which, I think, is because China gave these missiles to Pakistan for access to the port facilities at Gwadar.

Pakistan does not indigenously manufacture even a small car engine, let alone a car, as autos are only assembled there. Its engineering and electronics industries are very narrow and shallow, so it just cannot have indigenous manufacture of any missiles. When it comes to any seriously high-tech products, Pakistan begs, borrows, steals, trades or gets as military assistance — anything but its own creation.

Perhaps this is China’s move to counter the growing relationship between the United States and India, the largest democracies. The United States needs to move very fast and without any reservations to further develop its economic, political and military relationships with all leading democracies, especially India and Japan, to achieve its strategic objectives, which include countering China.

In the wider interests of free and democratic countries, the United States must not give precedence to any tactical requirements or political expediencies.

VIPUL THAKORE

London

Voting Rights Act problems

In “Voting Rights Act milestone” (Commentary, Thursday), Jack Kemp accurately and eloquently describes the origins and transformative triumphs of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. He is also accurate in noting that one part of the act, Section 5, “originally was intended to last no more than about five years because of its extraordinary nature, in effect pre-empting the Constitution’s vesting of voting laws and procedures.” Then he astonishingly says that Section 5 should be reauthorized again, 40 years after the original act. He gives no justification other than these two words: “Problems remain.”

With all respect, this is unpersuasive. Section 5 requires certain jurisdictions to get advance permission from the federal government whenever they make any policy change that involves voting — whether it is moving voting booths from an elementary school to a high school across the street, for example, or increasing the number of representatives on the local animal control board from five to seven or redrawing city-council district lines.

It made sense to single out some Southern jurisdictions for this mother-may-I requirement in 1965, but it does not today. Why should Virginia be treated differently from Maryland, Texas from Arkansas, Arizona from New Mexico, Georgia from Florida? What problems remain in one that are absent in the other?

Remember that everyone agrees that the core guarantees of the Voting Rights Act — that no Americans is to be denied or in any way hampered because of skin color in exercising the right to vote — are permanent and should remain so. It also would make sense to subject any jurisdiction with a recent history of discrimination to greater scrutiny than other jurisdictions. However, the way the present Voting Rights Act defines these covered jurisdictions can no longer be justified.

ROGER CLEGG

General counsel

Center for Equal Opportunity

Sterling

Secession and the Constitution

In reading Bruce Fein’s Tuesday Commentary column, “After the constitution,” I was very surprised to find the following statement in a section discussing our Constitution and Civil War: “Secession was attempted despite its unconstitutionality.”

I am not a constitutional lawyer like Mr. Fein, but I can read, and a thorough reading of the Constitution will reveal that there is no mention of secession. It doesn’t say you can, and it doesn’t say you can’t.

After the Union victory in the Civil War, Confederate President Jefferson Davis was captured, and the federal government declared its intention to try him for treason. Davis was held in prison for two years before being released on bail, and his trial was postponed repeatedly. Eventually, in early 1869, nearly four years after the war, all charges were dropped.

Davis actually was disappointed not to be brought to trial, for he had been diligently preparing his case and was confident he would win. Furthermore, no less a personage than the chief justice of the United States, Salmon P. Chase, agreed with him. As quoted in Shelby Foote’s “The Civil War,” Chase advised some of his former Cabinet colleagues as early as July 1865, “If you bring [Davis and other Confederate officials] to trial it will condemn the North, for by the Constitution secession is not rebellion.”

What our Civil War determined was that secession would not be permitted. It did not determine that it was unconstitutional.

JAMES E. BOWMAN

Laurel

Cypriots and union

Contrary to what it is suggested by the headline, “Cyprus a roadblock to union” (World, Sunday), it is neither the Cyprus question nor “Turkey’s stance on divided island … ” But the European Union’s failure to treat Turkey and Turkish Cypriots fairly and equally is the real impediment in the way of Turkey’s accession to the Union.

As the article indicates, Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots have done everything they could for the settlement of the issue both during the referenda of April 24 last year and since. The untenable demands of the Greek Cypriot side to be treated as the sole sovereign authority over the whole island, however, would reduce the Turkish Cypriots to the position of a second-class “minority” on the island deprived of Turkey’s effective security guarantee.

This is diametrically opposed to the concept of “equal partnership” of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots in a bi-zonal federal setup, envisaged by the United Nations Plan as one of the fundamental parameters of any viable settlement.

We agree with diplomats who “consider the admission of Cyprus to the European Union without the Turkish Cypriots a major mistake.” Expecting Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots to pay for this mistake, however, is neither just nor realistic.

OSMAN ERTUG

Representative

Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

Washington

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