- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Wishful thinking

“Arms control with China?” (Commentary, Sunday) fails to present a convincing case why the United States can or should pursue “comprehensive” arms control with China. Noting that the United States did not trade with the Soviet Union, Daniel Gallington seems to imply that our extensive relationship with China may give us political leverage to prevent that country from “cheating” — a serious problem in arms control. Unfortunately, this is wishful thinking unsupported by theory or evidence.

China’s strategic culture emphasizes deception — a mixture of concealing weakness and concealing strength, as circumstances dictate — to achieve the maximum strategic advantage.

Whereas transparency is a general problem with China’s military establishment, its strategic forces (2nd Artillery) are the most secretive. Given that China treats trade and the military as separate domains, U.S. trade deficits are unlikely to translate into a strategic lever.

Moreover, it is unwise to seek arms control with China because it would confer on China a strategic parity (a la the Soviet Union) that would limit U.S. “hedging” strategy and unduly exaggerate China’s international status.


Associate professor of political science

University of Richmond


Left Coast logic

Voters may have elected more conservative Democrats (“A verdict on Republicans,” Editorial, Nov. 9) but guess what? Those freshmen representatives and senators will have little, if any, influence. By electing these so-called conservative Democrats, the voters have allowed left-coast liberals (like Rep. Nancy Pelosi) and New York liberals (like Sen. Chuck Schumer) to rule. They will spend the next two years bashing Republicans so they can elect a Democratic president in 2008.


Lake St. Louis, MO

Women libbers

Upon learning of last week’s election results, feminists across the nation were glowing with praise for Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the first female speaker of the House (“Democrats take control of House; Senate hinges on race in Virginia,” Page 1, Nov. 8). The excitement was palpable. As the ladies at the National Organization for Women put it, “We look forward to cheering as Nancy Pelosi breaks through the marble ceiling.” Women had spoken, they declared, and history had been made.

Which, of course, was true. But whenever feminists celebrate one of these “first woman” milestones, I can’t help but feel unsettled — not because the accolades are unwarranted, but because they are reserved only for women at least as liberal as Mrs. Pelosi.

It seems funny that a movement that supposedly seeks to promote women is reluctant to even acknowledge a large number of them. While middle school girls can recite brief biographies of Geraldine Ferraro, Madeleine Albright and Janet Reno, the feminist establishment maintains a strict silence on the achievements of non-liberal women. This deliberate oversight prompted conservative radio host Dr. Laura Schlessinger to ask: “What’s a girl gotta do to be a feminist role model?”

I became concerned with this question back in high school, when I first sought the acceptance of the women’s-liberationist clique. From the moment I understood the word “feminist,” I labeled myself as one. What kind of forward-thinking girl wouldn’t embrace a movement that championed equal opportunity and freedom for women? Back then, the feminist label was exhilarating, like a personal declaration of independence.

But to my disappointment, it became apparent that the feminists didn’t much like me — especially the ones I encountered in college.

I was shunned for a variety of reasons. I didn’t brand myself a “Vagina Warrior” or chant obscenities in a crowded auditorium (see the feminist play “The Vagina Monologues” for details). I wasn’t offended by suggestions that men and women are innately different. And, perhaps most egregiously of all, I didn’t consider the “right” to butcher my unborn child essential to my liberty. The message from the feminist clique was clear: conform to our worldview, or remain permanently on the outs.

I chose the outs — and the outcome wasn’t pretty. As any conservative woman on a college campus knows, it’s tough to be on the feminists’ bad side.

Just ask Karin Agness, a University of Virginia graduate who founded a conservative group called the Network of Enlightened Women (NeW). The group’s description sounds laudable enough: “NeW provides a place for college women to explore and discuss ideas we meet regularly to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing women today.” And yet Miss Agness and the members of NeW were bullied and denigrated for daring to challenge the feminist orthodoxy — mostly by the “women’s advocates” themselves. As Ann Lane, former director of UVA’s women’s studies program, said of NeW’s existence: “I just don’t like it.”

But wait a second — isn’t it the stated goal of feminism to achieve greater liberty for women? Certainly, Miss Agness and the members of NeW had acted of their own accord, exercising their freedom to fight for a cause. And yet the women’s liberationists are quick to shut out women who show a capacity for independent thinking.

This behavior alone should make us question the intentions of the so-called “women’s movement.” Ideally, a “women’s movement” would respect the independence of all females, whether or not they choose to align with feminists. If they don’t, feminism is not an honest “women’s movement” — it’s just an estrogen-heavy branch of the left wing. Women’s studies departments should be renamed liberal women’s studies departments, and NOW should become NORLW — the National Organization for Radical Leftist Women.

At least then we would know what embracing “women’s liberation” actually entails.

Unfortunately, the punishments are harsh for women who refuse to cower in the face of feminist intimidation tactics. The godmother of the women’s movement, Gloria Steinem, famously called Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson a “female impersonator” and said, “having someone who looks like us but thinks like them is worse than having no one at all.”

Silencing, harassment, intimidation, relegation to non-human status — all of the ill treatment feminists predicted for women who challenge the “patriarchy” is actually what conservative women endure from feminists. The fact that feminists treat non-liberal women worse than the most dedicated male chauvinist reveals where their loyalties lie: with their own band of leftist thinkers, not the female sex as a whole.

Remember that the next time the feminists toast to another “first woman” milestone.


Avon Lake, Ohio

Say what?

Neocon pundits like Morton Kondracke must have a death wish for the Republican Party. After contributing to the Republicans’ midterm election disaster by enthusiastically backing the Bush administration’s invasion and occupation of Iraq, Mr. Kondracke is carefully parsing election results to persuade the Republicans to pass amnesty for illegal aliens and spare Democrats the wrath of an angry electorate in 2008 (“Polarization pique,” Commentary, Tuesday).

What I would like to ask Mr. Kondracke and his pro-amnesty fellow travelers is this: How do they reconcile their belief in limited government and low taxes with amnesty for 15 million illegal aliens that would result in an instant mass market for the welfare state?

It’s easy to understand why big-government types such as George Soros and other leftists are so enthusiastic in their support for mass amnesty and a path to citizenship for illegal aliens. They detest the United States for the middle-class country it is and want to transform it into a North American version of Brazil.

But what explains Mr. Kondracke and his pro-amnesty fellow travelers such as Fred Barnes, Linda Chavez and others who claim to be small-government conservatives?


Falls Church

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