- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 8, 2005

U.S., China, Pakistan and democracy

Your editorial “Countering China” (Monday) shows a mature understanding of geopolitics and the implications of China’s rise for free democratic societies in general and the United States, Japan and India in particular. In coming years, China’s economic power could translate into military might.

I fully agree with the editorial that America’s ability to contain China could depend on the rise of other global counterweights allied with the United States, particularly Japan, India and Australia in the Asia-Pacific region, i.e., the “core” group formed by the United States to lead post-tsunami relief efforts. You are again right in stating that India, the largest democracy with a billion-plus people, is another critical potential counterweight to China. Although China’s growth has outpaced that of India, India will become an economic and geopolitical challenger to China because of its knowledge-based industries and younger demographic profile. China’s one-child policy will make an increasingly “older” population dependent on fewer working-age people in about 15 years.

The two countries, as you write, are also natural adversaries because of their proximity and competition for energy resources. An Indian challenge to China could serve U.S. interests well so long as U.S.-Indian relations remain strong in the next couple of decades.

Logically, the United States should review its policies to achieve its longer-term objectives so clearly defined by the editorial. Pakistan is facilitating China’s access to a new port at Gwadar in the Baluchistan province of Pakistan near the Gulf of Oman, which could threaten the security of U.S. assets in the gulf and the Mideast as well as India’s naval capabilities in the Indian Ocean.

The United States needs to counter this development. The United States should further develop its multilevel relationship with India, especially in economic and military spheres. India expects that the United States should also take a stronger line with Pakistan because of Pakistan’s involvement in both nuclear proliferation and support for various Islamic terrorist organizations for cross-border terrorism into Afghanistan and Indian Kashmir. Under no circumstances should the United States sell high-tech military systems such as F-16 nuclear-capable aircraft to Pakistan, as that would encourage Pakistan to create a military confrontation with India. Lesser Pakistani problems would enable India to contribute to the United States’ geopolitical interests from the gulf through the Indian Ocean to the Far East.

VIPUL THAKORE

London

In regard to the editorial “Countering China,” when the United States finally refocuses its attention on East Asia after it has won the war against terrorism and the peace in Iraq, it will find the region’s strategic landscape transformed beyond recognition.

While the United States is preoccupied with a foreign policy that increasingly loses worldwide empathy, China has ended American pre-eminence, if not expelled its influence altogether. China has replaced the United States as the largest trading partner of such key U.S. allies as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. China is forging free-trade agreements with Southeast Asian nations and offering economic benefits in exchange for diplomatic deference, much like the ancient tribute system. China also is signing long-term energy contracts with countries ranging from Australia to Iran.

While China’s long-term intentions after its “peaceful rise” remain uncertain, its growing capabilities are clear. As a precaution, the United States should redouble its diplomatic, economic and military endeavors in the Asia-Pacific region, as the Pentagon’s 2001 quadrennial report advocated.

VINCENT WEI-CHENG WANG

Department of Political Science

University of Richmond

Richmond

No genocide in Kosovo

With all due respect to Linda Chavez, I must disagree with her statement in an otherwise outstanding article that “The U.N. sat idly by when Serbians began wiping out ethnic Albanians in Kosovo in 1998, a genocide interrupted only when NATO, under U.S. leadership, intervened” (“U.N. inaction on genocides,” Commentary, Saturday).

Daniel Pearl’s front-page article of Dec. 31, 1999, in the Wall Street Journal carried the headline “Despite tales, the war in Kosovo was cruel, bitter, savage, but wasn’t genocide.” This brave journalist exposed as a hoax the story of Serbs having murdered 700 ethnic Albanians, ground up their bodies, thrown them into the Trepca mine shaft and incinerated them.

Mr. Pearl further stated that “other allegations — indiscriminate mass murder, rape camps, crematoriums, mutilation of the dead — haven’t been borne out in the six months since NATO troops entered Kosovo. Ethnic Albanian militants, humanitarian organizations, NATO and the news media fed off each other to give genocide rumors credibility. Now a different picture is emerging.”

Furthermore, Agence France-Presse reported on April 5, 1999, that “Serbian acts in Kosovo do not constitute ‘genocide,’ despite the horrifying treatment of Kosovar Albanians, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Eli Wiesel said in an editorial in Monday’s edition of Newsweek.”

Rep. Curt Weldon, Pennsylvania Republican, on the floor of the House on July 16, 2003, said, “We became involved in Kosovo after being bombarded with exorbitant claims of ethnic cleansing, subsequently proven exaggerated and largely committed after NATO started bombing.”

Sen. James Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican, spoke of his visits to Kosovo and stated that the only dead bodies he saw were those of three Serbs lying by the side of the road.

In my opinion, William Jefferson Clinton is undoubtedly the biggest con artist this country has ever seen. Our wag-the-dog former president was able to take the spotlight off the Monica Lewinsky scandal by persuading the American people to go to war over a manufactured “humanitarian crisis.” The real genocide in Kosovo is going on today against the Serbian population, once the majority in Kosovo, as we “idly stand by” and watch the eradication of Serbian culture, society, language and religion from the Serbs’ Jerusalem.

STELLA L. JATRAS

Camp Hill, Pa.

Shame on Sen. Domenici

Nat Hentoff’s criticism of Alberto Gonzales is well-taken (“Why is this man attorney general?” Op-Ed, Monday). Mr. Hentoff notes his disappointment with Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback’s vote affirming Mr. Gonzales. May I add Sen. Pete Domenici of New Mexico to the list for his summary statement about a serious debate over torture.

Torture is a form of terrorism, as Mr. Domenici surely knows. Yet he dismissed the entire debate and, thus, the entire issue as “frivolous” and as being over “legal niceties.” Whatever other virtues Mr. Domenici may possess, these comments are shameful.

HAROLD NELSON

Washington

‘Militarization’ of the Super Bowl

I felt uneasy about the militarization of the Super Bowl (“A Patriotic dynasty,” Page 1, Monday). Combining the excitement and adrenaline of football fans with war is unsettling. There were soldiers marching, fighter jets flying over, a reading of the Declaration of Independence, cheering crowds, and explosions of fireworks when Paul McCartney sang “Live and Let Die.”

The enmeshment of the military and sports reminded me of Hitler’s use of the Olympics and the Nuremberg rallies to whip up support for nationalism, militarization and wars of aggression.

Watching the festivities, one might easily get the impression that Americans are nearly unanimous in supporting President Bush’s wars and forget that half of Americans are opposed to the war in Iraq and any further unilateral military action.

ROBERT E. GRIFFIN

Forty Fort, Pa.

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