- The Washington Times - Monday, September 26, 2005

China, Taiwan and the U.S.

While the point Justin Logan makes is an important one — that “Taiwan should not believe potential U.S. action would be a panacea, if war erupts in the Taiwan Strait” — it seems like a mistake to suggest that the appropriate “panacea” would be a rush to drastically increase defense spending on the part of Taiwan (“Taiwan’s turn,” Commentary, yesterday). The logic is sound, however one has to wonder if it is at all possible for Taiwan, a country of 22 million people and a GDP of $576 billion (compared to China’s 1.3 billion people and GDP of $7.3 trillion), to develop the military capacity to render a potential Chinese invasion “prohibitively costly.”

And, all the while, any military buildup would inevitably antagonize China, perhaps to the point of sparking an invasion.

So long as the United States does not withdraw its support, China should see the consequences of any action against Taiwan as “prohibitively costly,” though imagining this scenario, and any continued war with China that would follow, certainly makes me agree with Mr. Logan more, that “The island needs to take the lead in defending itself.”

What Taiwan really needs is to find a detente with China that is based not on military escalation, which would provoke more than deter, nor on a U.S. “blank check” for defense, which leaves us in a position we would not want to be in.

Surely if the U.S. is able to set up a democracy in a country like Iraq, we should be able to broker some reasonable agreement that both countries would adhere to.

JUSTIN SMITH

New York

Questionable security profiles

I found Clifford May’s (“Designer profiling,” Commentary, Saturday) to be spot on.

In my last two flights I was selected for “special attention.” My bags and I had been searched before being allowed to proceed. In each case I was informed by the United Airlines representative I was not the subject of a random search, but as the result of a security profile.

I am a 64 year-old Caucasian male, born in the United States. I am a retired Marine Corps colonel in my 37th year of combined military and federal service.

I was traveling on an official U.S. government employee passport. My round trip flight reservation had been made through a government contract travel agency. The ticket was purchased with a U.S. government credit card more than a month in advance. My United Airlines frequent flier status (Premier Executive, meaning I fly a lot) was on the ticket.

Clearly our federal government security experts have a flawed profiling program. While they are hassling individuals like me — probably with higher security clearances than most of them — the terrorists are in all likelihood walking through untouched, laughing at our ineptitude.

W. HAYS PARKS

Lorton

Ineffectual protests

Take it from a lifelong Democrat: As long as Ralph Nadar and Jesse Jackson continue to be the featured speakers at anti-war protests, the president is not going to change his mind about bringing the troops home from Iraq (“Demonstrators assail president, war in Iraq,” Page 1, Sunday).

If Republican Reps. Peter King of New York, Ray LaHood of Illinois and David Dreier of California were to publicly speak out against the war, then President Bush would have to rethink his position. In my opinion, absent credible Republican support for withdrawing U.S. troops, the usual suspects don’t stand a chance of accomplishing their, or my, goals.

DENNY FREIDENRICH

Laguna Beach, Calif.

The Mall anti-war rally this weekend was the usual parade of freaks, geeks and loud beaks. A more looney bunch I haven’t seen since, well, since the last anti-war protest. The only things missing were the bearded ladies and sword swallowers.

But the “Bush lied, thousands died” signs were laughable. Have these people all been struck with amnesia? Several Democratic politicians, from Sens. John Kerry to Ted Kennedy to Bill Clinton and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (political saviors all, no doubt, to most of the protesters) said exactly what President Bush and other world leaders said about Saddam Hussein and his weapons before the war.

If “Bush lied, thousands died,” then the signs should be much larger to accommodate the other names alongside his.

JACK WEBB

Springfield

I understand that the relief agencies helping the hurricane victims are in dire need of volunteers to sort through the enormous quantity of generously donated goods.

This is a tremendous task that more than 100,000 proud citizens could tackle quickly to aid the already difficult transition faced by the evacuees. Where could we find that many patriots?

It has been reported that there were approximately 100,000 well-intentioned anti-Iraq war activists marching in Washington and around the country to bring our troops home. Additionally, it is reported that a number of patriots were protesting in response.

If these marchers are seriously concerned with the preservation of American lives and American life, perhaps they should consider jointly participating in a one-week effort to help Americans at home. Even a mere week spent volunteering in the relief effort following this hurricane disaster would make a dramatic difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans whose own views on the war have been supplanted by the need for basic necessities.

Timing is everything. And now would be a great opportunity to call a time out in this currently ridiculous media circus game. The war isn’t going anywhere soon, but tons of potentially helpful clothing and supplies are sitting in parking lots and warehouses requiring immediate attention.

I call on both sides in this heated debate to join with the rest of us Americans helping at home during this crisis.

Cindy, can you spare a week?

BRIAN MEAD

Tempe, Ariz.

Fighting terror on three fronts

The article “Battling against terror” (Op-Ed, yesterday) misses two-thirds of the battlefield.

One battle against terror left unfought is the unplugged holes of terror in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Part of the U.S. military aid to Pakistan should be used to fast track construction of a border fence on the Afghan side so that U.S. and International Security Assistance Force soldiers can secure the lawless Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

The other battle against terror left unfought is American focus on the demand side of nuclear proliferation which ignores the supply side.

By ignoring the sole supplier of nuclear proliferation in the world — Pakistan — the United States is attacking the symptom rather than the disease.

Even if the Iran and North Korea nuclear standoffs are resolved, without solving the Pakistan issue, we are setting the stage for another country to repeat what these two rogue states are currently doing.

ARUN KHANNA

Visiting professor of finance

Butler University

Indianapolis


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