Friday, December 17, 1999

Hollywood's Tibet

Hollywood's Tibet
Tinseltown's Sacred Cow
Bevin Chu
December 17, 1999

Marlon Brando and Richard Gere

The emotionally overwrought quality with which Hollywood's beautiful people have been demonizing China for "human rights abuses" and alleged "territorial ambitions" bewildered me for quite some time. From a Machievellian geo-political perspective I understood it reasonably well. But I have also struggled to understand the irrational antagonism toward China's economic recovery as a global, collective, transpersonal process.

Then while was watching the Discovery Channel's documentary series "How the West was Lost" it struck me. Could what's happening be a collective projection of American guilt over the treatment of American Indians onto the Chinese? Was that too farfetched? After all, the stunt Marlon Brando pulled at the Academy Awards ceremony a number of years ago was echoed by Richard Gere's similar recent performance. Brando sent Sacheen Littlefeather to guilt-trip America over the US government's genocidal mistreatment of Native Americans, and years later Gere launches into an impromptu (and embarrassingly self-righteous) sermon about Deng Xiaoping's alleged mistreatment of Tibetans. The two events struck me as having a remarkable resonance.

The Lost Horizon

The conventional wisdom of course, is that aggressively industrializing China is committing "cultural genocide" against "traditional Tibetan society." In this version of events, the Dalai Lama's Lhasa is an idyllic paradise of Love, Light and Harmony -- the Shangri-la of James Hilton's utopian novel "Lost Horizon," and is threatened by Jiang Zemin's quasi-capitalist Beijing, a soul-less, money-grubbing dictatorship unredeemed by Maoist "idealism."

Ironically Hollywood's version of Hilton's tale, made during the Red Decade by depression-era populist Frank Capra was a crypto-Communist propaganda film. But who ever accused movie celebrities of intellectual consistency?

Gone with the Wind

For Americans who know nothing of China's history to presume that they know what life was in pre-1959 Tibet after watching "Seven Years in Tibet" is a little like Chinese who know nothing of America's history presuming they know what life was in the antebellum South after watching "Gone with the Wind." I remember while living in Houston during the 70's my folks and I attended a premiere of a restored version of GWTW. When the scenes of idyllic antebellum life appeared on screen, you know the part I'm talking about -- the graceful mansions, the mint juleps, the gay cotillions -- some schmuck sitting directly behind us sighed to his date "Life must have been wonderful back then!" His date cuddled up to him and sighed in agreement. My brother snickered, loud enough for them to hear, "Yeah, if you were white." The couple had no problem blanking out the awareness that the southern aristocrats' "wonderful life" was squeezed by brute force out of the involuntary servitude of other human beings, for whom life was something less than "wonderful."

Seven Years in Tibet and Kundun

Similarly it has never ceased to flabbergast me how little difficulty the Beautiful People have blanking out the darkside of the Dalai Lama's pre-1959 Tibet. After the premieres of "Seven Years in Tibet" and "Kundun" Jean-Jacques Annaud and Martin Scorsese granted interviews in which they waxed nostalgic about how "spiritual" life was in pre-1959 Tibet. Just think! An entire culture dedicated to nothing but spiritual development! Imagine that! A Shangri-la "gone with the wind," tragically wiped out by grubby materialistic carpetbaggers from Beijing.


If Hollywood New Agers want to evaluate the role of Tibet's serf-owning clergy and aristocrats from a transpersonal, Jungian perspective and absolve them of blame -- fine. But then they are obligated to evaluate the role of the communists from the identical perspective and absolve them too. Instead they want to have it both ways. They want to apply linear ethical criteria to Beijing even as they conveniently edit out the moral outrages of the Dalai Lama's ancien regime.

None of them have any apparent problem blanking out the awareness that this "spiritual" life for a privileged minority of Tibetan elite was squeezed by brute force out of the involuntary servitude of masses of miserable Tibetan serfs for whom life was considerably less than "spiritual." The Beautiful People (now joined by the religious right, of all people) would have us believe that pre-1950s Tibet was one big touchy-feely New Age workshop -- a Findhorn or Esalen in the Himalayas. Maybe it was for the wealthy serf-owning Lamas and aristocrats, but why don't we ask the serfs how it was for them?

When I attend a personal growth workshop and am pampered physically while I work on my psychological and spiritual evolution, I pay for this worthwhile and uplifting experience with money earned by my own honest labor. Similarly, the workshop facilitator supports his material needs by offering his wisdom and talent as a teacher on the open market, for which I pay gladly, voluntarily. Neither he nor I maintain a permanent underclass of abused and mistreated persons whom we rip off at our whim to support our inner journey.

It strikes me as obscene for "Kundun" director Martin Scorsese and screenwriter Melissa Mathiessen to hold such an exploitive system up to the world as ethically and spiritually exalted. How is that any different from Margaret Mitchell or D.W. Griffiths holding the Old South up as some sort of "paradise lost?" It is mind-boggling to watch them rationalize the darkside of it all away so breezily, even as they spew venom at the commies for wiping out the entire corrupt mess in sheer disgust. Today's Tibet is run by former serfs, the poor slobs exploited by the Dalai Lama and his faction under the old system, just as South Africa is today run by former political prisoner Nelson Mandela, and South Korea is run by former political prisoner Kim Dae-jung. To me that is justice. Why don't Hollywood filmmakers make a movie about that?

Good Cop, Bad Cop

During high profile interviews on Larry King Live the Dalai Lama smiles benevolently, flatly denies being an agent provocateur for Tibetan independence, and "magnanimously forgives" Beijing for all the bad things they did to "his people" (serf-owing aristocrats who exploited the Tibet region's 90 plus % majority of serfs.)

Meanwhile his "Office of Tibet" website and willing proxies (Robert Thurman, Richard Gere, Jean-Jacques Annaud and Jon Avnet) promote a relentlessly Manichean "Good versus Evil" (and decidedly un-Buddhist) demonization of Beijing, with his official blessing.

This Good Cop/Bad Cop division of labor permits the Dalai Lama to have his cake and eat it too. He preserves his public image of Ghandi-esque forbearance even as "Seven Years in Tibet" (which received script approval and a glowing review from him) and "Red Corner" (which Richard Gere deliberately moved up to coincide with Jiang Zemin's state visit) villify Beijing while sparing the Dalai Lama from the charge of vindictiveness.

Robert Thurman, Father of Uma

I find it hard to believe that Dalai shill Robert Thurman is a nationally recognized scholar in Buddhist studies. He seems utterly oblivious to the central premise of Buddhism, which is non-attachment to positionality.

His Hollywood metaphors pitting "good against evil" are embarassingly simplistic, and suggest that he has never broken out of a rigidly moralistic Zoroastrian/Manichean world view. His unapologetic yearning for a religious and ecological "Shangri-la" (that never was) suggest that he has never confronted the energy of infantile regression underlying utopianism. Add to that a heavy handed and utterly unconvincing attempt to draw inspirational parallels between the libertarian values of the American Revolution and repressive serf-owning pre-1950's Tibet, and I can't help wondering why he isn't laughed off the public stage. But then I'm surprised that his idol the Dalai Lama isn't laughed off the public stage as well.

Mere Autonomy?

The Dalai Lama currently insists he merely wants "autonomy," implying that he never attemped or even advocated independence. This is disingenuous, to say the least. He "merely wants autonomy" today only because having failed miserably to achieve complete independence in 1959, he knows autonomy is the most he can hope for.

Actually the only reason Tibet's serfdom lasted into the 20th century in the first place is that the Yuan, Ming, and Ching imperial courts did in fact grant Tibet the very autonomy the Dalai Lama is currently demanding. It is far more than they should have granted from a humanitarian perspective. Otherwise Lhasa's inhumane serfdom, which did not exist in any other region of China, would have been abolished centuries ago. Chalk it up to previous emperors' ho-hum attitude. Out of sight, out of mind.

Ironically, despite their brutality, the commies showed more concern. In retrospect they probably wish they hadn't, with all the flak they've taken. If only they had let sleeping dogs lie, Tibet's serf-owning aristocracy would have felt far less pressure to secede from China. Chalk that up to the communists' obssessive egalitarianism. The exploitive inequality of serfdom really stuck in their craw.

The Dalai Lama himself recently admitted that he only began advocating democracy for Tibet belatedly, in 1964, five years into exile. He could hardly deny it; the facts are on the record. By then Tibetan serfdom was already a way of life "gone with the wind," abolished by Beijing. By then he had nothing to lose, and plenty to gain propaganda-wise by playing the "democracy" card. It never ceases to amaze me how his acolytes glide right past this embarassingly inconvenient fact.

The Dalai Lama's Realpolitik

The Dalai Lama has been a realpolitik opportunist all along, albeit a failed one. The Dalai Lama imagined he could achieve independence in the wake of the chaos following Mao's accession to power, and decided to go for it. A debacle followed.

Later, he decided to go for the brass ring again following the cataclysmic global upheavals of 1989 and 1990. After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the tragedy at Tiananmen he flatly refused to deal with Beijing, imagining that what happened to the Soviet Union would also happen to China. Alas, he misread global events a second time.

More recently he has been increasingly worried that his prolonged absence from the Tibetan region has diminished whatever residual prestige and influence he might still command. Out of sight, out of mind, as the saying goes. Politicians know they must remain in the public eye to remain viable. The Dalai Lama knows his constituents are in the Tibetan region of China, not Hollywood. In the wake of recent developments he has concluded (correctly) that his game is up, and is making conciliatory gestures toward Bejing. He's even jettisoned his erstwhile ally, Lee Teng-hui, the covertly pro-Taiwan independence president of the ROC.

The Last Dalai

Personally, I don't object to his realpolitik opportunism, at least not at this point in time. It would be better for all if a compromise could be negotiated, and this entire futile, ersatz "Struggle between Good and Evil" nonsense over and done with. The Dalai Lama himself negotiating a settlement with Jiang Zemin is perhaps the only development which might shut the sanctimonious Tibetan independence busibodies up once and for all. Won't that be a relief.

Hollywood's New Agers understand perfectly why China's "Last Emperor" Pu Yi (Bertolluci's "The Last Emperor") was doomed to irrelevance, but harbor a blind spot where Tibet's "God-King" Tenzin Gyatso is concerned (Scorsese's "Kundun," Annaud's "Seven Years in Tibet"). Pu Yi attempted to revive the decadent Manchu dynasty to no avail. The Dalai Lama, like the hapless Pu Yi, is "on the wrong side of history." He might turn out to be Tibet's "Last Dalai."

Thursday, December 09, 1999

International Trade and National Security

International Trade and National Security
Back to Basics
Bevin Chu
December 09, 1999

WTO? Just Say No!

The federal government of these United States of America should withdraw from and refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of the World Trade Organization, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.


The WTO violates Americans' Right to engage in Free Trade

Because as Austrian economist Llewellyn Rockwell of the Ludwig von Mises Institute has underscored recently, supranational entities such as the WTO, World Bank, and IMF, at least as they are configured in today's world, are a menace to laissez-faire capitalism and global free trade, notwithstanding the good intentions of many of their supporters.

Instead, private American corporations, which are not evil bogeymen, but merely voluntary For Profit associations of individual American citizens, should be left alone to negotiate their own deals with foreign corporations and governments. If they can cut deals satisfactory to their own management and shareholders, and turn a profit in an unregulated international marketplace, then more power to them. If they can't, that's their tough luck. Either way the entire process, from start to finish, ought to remain a strictly private commercial affair.

The federal and state governments of these United States are legally authorized by the American public to enforce commercial contracts within America's territorial boundaries. That's part of the definition of national and state sovereignty.

They are not however entitled to enforce international commercial contacts. No national government is, including all current and future members of the WTO. Empowering our federal leviathan to stick its nose into international commercial contracts, and collude with foreign governments to micromanage "our" corporations' business dealings merely serves to centralize ever more dangerous, unchecked power in the hands of both our homegrown and foreign nomenklatura, socializes international commerce, and weakens the concept of national sovereignty, including American sovereignty.

But what about foreign governments' violations of the principles of free trade? Shouldn't "our" government pressure foreign governments to respect the principles of free trade?

Absolutely not.

If a foreign government is too obtuse to realize that untrammeled free trade is in its own citizens' long term best interest, too bad for them. Their citizens will learn the folly of their government's self-destructive policies, sooner if not later. Their nation's competitiveness in the global marketplace will suffer, the way the former Soviet Union's suffered when her Stalinist nomenklatura imagined they could repeal the iron laws of economics. Their citizens will demand economic reform from within, without any outside pressure whatsoever.

It is neither the duty nor prerogative of our fascistic Keynesian beltway bureaucrats to tutor foreigners on the principles of free market economics, assuming they know anything about free market economics in the first place.

Unfortunately this is not the end of the story. Now comes the unpleasant part.

Protectionists also violate Americans' Right to engage in Free Trade

Protectionist opponents of international free trade, laborite, luddite and nativist alike, have absolutely, positively, no right whatsoever to forcibly prevent American and foreign businessmen who wish to engage in mutally agreeable international trade from doing so.

Protectionists, like warfare statists, invariably resort to the Orwellian vocabulary of collectivism. They can be counted on to invoke the "w" word, "we" and the "o" word, "our." "We" must protect "our" industries, for the sake of "our" national interest, as if "our" national interest could ever be other than the individual interests of millions of sovereign and independent American citizens.

Protectionists operate under a mighty peculiar set of unexamined assumptions. They seem to imagine that just because an American businessman is a fellow American that somehow the businessman owes the protectionist some sort of special consideration, beyond refraining from violating the protectionist's life, liberty and property. Protectionists seem to imagine merely because they are American citizens that private American businesses, which are the private property of other private American citizens, are somehow "our" industries.

Excuse me, but the assumption that "we're all in this together" and therefore owe each some vague, undefined obligation beyond refraining from violating each others' individual rights, is the central premise of communism, fascism, democratic socialism and welfare statism. It is most certainly not the guiding premise which inspired our Founding Fathers to wage the American Revolution.

Unless the protectionist owns shares of stock in the company in question, the company is not "our" company, it is somebody elses' ' company. Merely being a citizen of the same country does not give one the right to dictate how someone else disposes of his economic assets.

But what if the protectionist is an employee of the company in question? Doesn't he have therefore a say in whether "his" company moves its plants or outsources its labor overseas? Doesn't he have a "right" to "his" job?

Sorry, he does not. Not unless he owns shares in the company and can persuade a majority of shareholders to keep him on. What the company owes him is wages or a salary. What he owes the company is his manual or mental labor.

The employee's relationship to the company he works for is morally and ethically no different from that between the protectionist's neigborhood barber and himself. His barber cuts the protectionist's hair. The protectionist pays the barber for services rendered. End of story. Just as the protectionist has no obligation to patronize the same barber in perpetuity, so the protectionist's employer has no obligation to employ the protectionist in perpetuity.

Being an American citizen does not mean that other Americans' bank accounts are the common property of "all Americans," welfare parasites to the contrary notwithstanding. By the same token, being an American citizen does not mean that other Americans' private property, in the form of business enterprises such as traditional manufacturing plants, can be suddenly reclassified as the common property of all Americans.

This is not to equate honest, hard-working blue collar workers in sunset industries with welfare parasites. Absolutely not. It is merely to remind protectionists of the fundamental distinction between capitalism and communism. Laissez faire capitalists know that not only is there no such thing as a free lunch, there is no such thing as an iron ricebowl either. Both Maoist China and Japan, Inc. found that out, the hard way. The most one can do is delay the inevitable day of reckoning.

Radical economic reformer Zhu Rongi caught on to this fact about twenty years ago, and was subjected to Maoist thought reform for talking about it. Apparently many otherwise intelligent mainstream American intellectuals, including some ostensibly on the capitalist right, still haven't figured it out.

Warfare Statists violate Americans' Intellectual Property Rights

In case that was painful, there's more.

Conservative warfare statists like Republican Congressman Chris Cox of California routinely prattle on about restricting the export of "American technology" and "American industrial secrets."

Pardon me Chris, but unless the technology in question was developed as socialized science in government laboratories, by scientists and engineers on the federal payroll, the way Nazi scientists developed German weapons technology for the Third Reich, they are not "American technology" or "American industrial secrets," not in the sense you and your ilk mean it. They are not public property, and ought not to be disposed of at the whims of paranoid politicians and beltway bureaucrats.

Instead, any scientific breakthroughs or technological innovations made by Boeing, Hughes, Loral, Lucent and McDonnell Douglas are private property. They are the private intellectual property of private individuals who work for or own shares of Boeing, Hughes, IBM, Loral, Lucent and McDonnell Douglas. What Boeing, Hughes, IBM, Loral, Lucent and McDonnell Douglas choose to do with their private intellectual property is properly their private decision.

Boeing, Hughes, IBM, Loral, Lucent and McDonnell Douglas must be able to sell their high tech products to recoup their immense R&D costs. If they don't recoup their R&D costs, they lose money. If they lose money they declare Chapter Eleven. If American high tech companies declare Chapter Eleven, high tech companies in foreign nations will replace them in the global marketplace. If foreign high tech companies replace them, America will lose its technological lead.

Question: But what about "National Security?"

Answer: What about "National Security?"

The bedrock precondition of a free economy, hence a wealthy nation, hence a strong national defense, is the sanctity of private property. Private property makes possible private enterprise. Private enterprise make possible immense wealth. Immense wealth makes possible America's superpower status.

Advanced military weaponry is immensely costly. Only extravangantly wealthy nations like America can afford extravagantly expensive weapons such as supercarriers and state of the art air superiority fighters like the F-22.

No private property means no private enterprise, means no immense wealth, means no superpower status. The former Soviet Union learned this lesson the hard way. The former Soviet Union is now a former superpower. This is merely one of many reasons why the threshold for government abrogation of private propety rights must be set extremely high.

You want to be a superpatriot? You want a strong national defense? You want America to remain a superpower into the 21st century? Then keep your eye on the bottom line and remember, "It's the economy, stupid!"

Thursday, December 02, 1999

Tibetan-Chinese are not American Indians

Tibetan-Chinese are not American Indians
Bevin Chu
December 02, 1999

History according to Hollywood

Humanitarian Interventionists and Benevolent Global Hegemonists, most of whom lack even a rudimentary understanding of China's long and complex history, share a particularly nasty trait. Many of these Globocops imagine because they have downloaded a few pages of separatist propaganda from, and shed a tear or two while watching "Seven Years in Tibet," that qualifies them as China experts. They believe this qualifies them to pass judgement about whether China "deserves" to remain intact or be forcibly Balkanized by the World's Only Remaining Superpower. Their attitude rivals that of the most contemptible 19th century imperialists.

I have seen Mel Gibson's "Braveheart" once in the theater and several times on cable, and I never cease to be deeply moved by what screenwriting teachers term "a good story, well told." The same holds true of Neil Jordan's political biography "Michael Collins," about the famous, or infamous Irish revolutionary of the same name.

I do not however assume merely because I have enjoyed a well scripted and well produced two hours of entertainment that I have necessarily learned anything substantive about English, Scottish or Irish history. I retain enough presence of mind to recall Hollywood's record of playing fast and loose with historical facts, motivated by either commercial considerations or the filmmakers' political biases.

I certainly do not leave the theater convinced of either the rightness or wrongness of Scottish secession. Instead I remain scrupulously neutral. The issue of Scottish secession is one for the English and the Scots to settle between themselves. Why should I, who am neither an Englishman nor a Scots, behave like a damned busybody and stick my nose into something which is none of my business?

Now if only the Globocops would have the decency to do likewise after watching "Kundun" or "The Wind Horse."

China's West is not the American West

One especially disturbing aspect of the Tibet crusade in America is that Hollywood, academia, New Agers and the Washington establishment have drawn patently misleading parallels with American history. These comparisons of European immigrants to Han Chinese, and American Indians to Tibetan Chinese, have led to a grotesque collective misunderstanding.

This dangerously egocentric, even narcissistic way of experiencing the world may get America into deep foreign policy hot water. In fact, it has. When such historically irrelevant parallels are drawn what non-Chinese get is worse than ignorance. What non-Chinese get is the illusion of understanding.

Unfortunately most of what is readily available in English on the web regarding contemporary Tibet is predictable PC orthodoxy. The few rebuttals which are available in English are summarily dismissed by the intellectual orthodoxy as not credible simply because they are posted by Chinese or ethnic Chinese sources and do not support the "correct" conclusions.

Tibet is a region of China. It has been since the 13th century. Obviously one needs to refer to Chinese history and Chinese historians to learn about it. Most of that data is obviously going to be in Chinese. Yet it is only virulently anti-China Tibetan secessionist propaganda written in English which is automatically accorded the status of unassailable truth. The China bashers' attitude reeks of colonialist arrogance.

Far better to not know anything, and retain the humility that accompanies such ignorance, than to imagine that one knows all one needs to know to pass moral judgement and demand military intervention. As the old saw goes, "the problem isn't what people don't know, it's what they know that just ain't so."

Tibetan Chinese are not American Indians

For example, projection of "collective guilt" over the mistreatment of American Indians is with little doubt the psychological root of most pro-Dalai activism. Unfortunately the pro-Dalai faction has confused its own internal psychology with a foreign nation's history. Just because they feel "liberal guilt" about America's Indian minority does not mean that China's history actually conforms to their internal guilt and historical misunderstanding.

This is why so many western sympathizers of Tibetan independence are taken aback, stunned even, when they discover that most Tiananmen pro-democracy leaders do not support, and in fact vehemently oppose Tibetan and Taiwan independence. The sympathizers' projection has been so extensive that they are trapped in a "virtual reality" of their own making.

The relationship between majority Han-Chinese and minority Tibetan-Chinese does not historically parallel that of European-Americans and Native Americans. The territory of modern China includes Tibet not because "the Han-Chinese conquered Tibetan-Chinese" the way European-Americans conquered American Indians and Hawaiians. (E.g., "Dances with Wolves")

Instead both Tibetans and Hans were conquered by the Mongols under the leadership of Genghis Khan and grandson Kublai Khan in the 13th century. Tibet's Lamaist theocracy colluded with the great Mongol Khans, helping them conquer and later administer predominantly Han territory. When the Mongol or Yuan Dynasty collapsed a century later, it was supplanted by a Han dominated Ming Dynasty, which inherited jurisdiction over the Mongol empire, including the Tibetan region. This is how Tibet, and of course Mongolia, became part of China.

Those who insist on "victim-victimizer" dichotomies might be tempted on leap to yet another equally simplistic conclusion, that "both Tibetans and Hans were victims of Mongol aggression." This ignores the fact that both "victims" and "victimizers" subsequently intermarried extensively, not under duress, but of their own volition, rendering the issue of victimization moot and irrelevant.

The bottom line is that Tibet was not "invaded" or "annexed" by China in 1959. Because by then the Tibetan region had been part of China for seven centuries, five centuries longer than these United States of America have even been in existence. One does not "invade" or "annex" what is already one's own territory. Beijing dispatched troops to prevent secession by the serf-owing elite which objected to the abolition of slavery, not to implement annexation. Hardly the same thing.

One can argue the merits or demerits of secession, but that is another issue entirely. Rather than debate the issue honestly however, the Dalai Lama and his Hollywood camp followers prefer to lie about history. They are counting on popular ignorance of the details about exotic and distant Cathay and Shangri-la, calculating that the general public will believe whatever is fed them if it is presented in a convenient and satisfying Manichean "good versus evil" framework.

Reds, not Red Herrings

The false equation of Tibetan-Chinese with American Indian has predictably led to the false attribution of racist motivations to Beijing's abolition of serfdom and crushing of Tibetan secession. Beijing's Tibet policies are being falsely equated with everything from Nazi genocide of Jews to Nato's allegations of Serbian "ethnic cleansing."

If one is determined to force the Chinese experience into an American mold, one could perhaps equate the militarily powerful Mongols with one of the aggressive, nomadic tribes such as the Comanche, and Tibetans and Hans with less aggressive, agrarian tribes such as the Hopi or Navahoe. The point is that all of China's major ethnic subcultures are native Chinese, including so-called Hans.

Now that communism is dead, sympathizers of the Dalai Lama, many of whom were sympathizers of Mao Zedong, seem to have forgotten what communism was all about. Communism was a political ideology obsessed with economic equality. Communism adjudged who was good and who was bad on the basis of its fatally flawed economic theory. To communist true believers the relevant question was to which economic class do you belong. Are you a capitalist victimizer or a proletarian victim? Ethnicity to communism was always irrelevant.

The Chinese Communists were no exception. They committed their atrocities because they were fanatical radical egalitarians, "coercive egalitarians." The Lamaist theocracy was targeted because it engaged in the economic exploitation of Tibet's serfs.

When Red Guards vandalized monasteries in Tibet they were doing precisely the same thing to Zen Buddhist monasteries, Taoist monasteries, Christian churches, Jewish synagogues all over the rest of China. They were not doing anything so narrowly parochial as singling out the Tibetan subculture for "cultural genocide." Rather they were motivated by disgust for what they perceived as vestiges of unjust economic systems throughout China.

The Dalai Lama's allegation that Chinese Communist violence against Tibet's serf-owning elite was racially motivated ethnic cleansing is a red herring. Chinese Communists deserved condemnation because they were coercive egalitarians. Chinese Communists were never racist.

If this be Genocide, make the most of it

In fact if the Chinese Communists had really been racially motivated, they could have deliberately and cynically left Tibet's Ancien Regime in place. Traditional Tibet's theocracy imposed a policy of "er xuan yi" (from two choose one) and "san xuan er" (from three choose two) on the Tibetan people. They dragooned enormous numbers of hapless Tibetan boys into the priesthood, where they would remain celibate for life. This draconian policy resulted in an alarming decline in Tibet's population in recent centuries.

Adherence to a religious practice of strict celibacy led to the eventual extinction of the Shaker sect in America. Chinese Communist Party failure to intervene in China's Tibetan region would have, by default, abetted a similar process of Tibetan self-extinction. CCP intervention has instead led to a population increase. Beijing emerges an unlikely hero in this respect. Yet Beijing is ritually and reflexively accused by self-styled do-gooders of "genocide," both "cultural" and racial. Ironies abound.

Genghis Khan and William of Normandy

The fifty-six officially acknowledged ethnic groups in China, including but not limited to Tibetan-Chinese, Moslem-Chinese, Mongolian-Chinese, Manchurian-Chinese, and Han-Chinese, would be more instructively compared with certain ethnic groups in the west and not others. The relationship between Mongolian-Chinese and Han-Chinese, and Manchurian-Chinese and Han-Chinese in particular, parallels that between English of Norman descent and English of Saxon descent following the Norman Conquest.

What made me think of this was a corny old Hollywood movie which I had seen before, but which just ran again on cable here in Taipei -- "The Black Rose," 1950, starring Tyrone Power, Jack Hawkins and Michael Rennie.

The Black Rose

... The hero, Walter of Gurney (Tyrone Power) is the illegitimate son of a Saxon Lord denied his inheritance and birthright by the Norman King Edward (Michael Rennie.) Embittered, Gurney abandons England, which he feels is no longer his country and journeys to the middle-east, joining Kublai Khan's army which is about to invade China. He meets the title character "The Black Rose" who is not a flower, but a woman named Maryam, a teenager played by an 18 year old actress who didn't look a day over 13. Tyrone Power and sidekick Jack Hawkins rescue her from life as a concubine in Kublai Khan's harem. She falls in love with the hero and a typically chauvinistic 1950's type relationship follows in which he treats her like a mere "wench."

At the beginning of the film the Tyrone Power character vows undying enmity for intolerable Saxon victimization under Norman rule. By the end of the film however he is reconciled to a future in which Saxons and Normans live together in peace. What is intriguing to me is how the events in Britain and China occurred at very nearly the same time, the 12th century, making the Marco Polo-ish linkage chronologically consistent and unintentionally underscoring the parallelism, at least for me.

The aspect of the film that intrigued me was not the pyscho-sexual "Lolita" subplot, but the Norman-ruled Britain parallel to Mongol-ruled China. Let me stress that the historical parallel with China was not something the filmmakers intended, but merely a connection I made in my own mind.

Normans and Saxons, Mongols and Hans

Both settings are virtually cliches in swashbuckler action adventure movies. Just as "The Black Rose" and countless Robin Hood related tales center on the conflict between Norman conquerors and Saxon conquered, so countless Taiwan and Hongkong swordfight swashbucklers set in the Southern Sung dynasty and late Ming dynasty deal with Mongol and Manchu conquerors and Han conquered.

Just as these once powerful animosities are "ancient history" in modern Britain, so they are in modern China. Is there any Anglo-Saxon Englishman alive today who actually nurses animosity toward "Normans" for the Battle of Hastings? Is there any "Han" Chinese (good luck finding a "pure" Han Chinese by the way) alive today who actually nurses animosity toward "Mongols" or "Manchus" for the fall of the Sung and Ming dynasties?

Remember the British commander during the Gulf War? He was Sir General Peter de la Billiere. Remember the writer/director of the Emmy award winning British mini-series "Prime Suspect"? She was Lynda LaPlante. Do westerners agitating for Tibetan/Uyghur/Mongolian independence realize why these prominent British subjects have French names?

Remember the pajamas clad student leader of the Tiananmen protest movement who demanded and got a conference with Li Peng? He was Wu Er Kai Xi, a Uyghur. Do westerners agitating for Tibetan/Uyghur/Mongolian independence realize why he and millions of Chinese have Tibetan, Uyghur, Mongolian names?

Americans and Europeans who know nothing of Chinese history, yet shrilly demand that Tibet, Xinjiang, or Mongolia be carved out of China, do not realize how crazy and laughable their demands are. Imagine modern day Chinese wringing their hands and criticizing Britain for imposing the Anglo-Saxon tongue on Englishmen of Norman-descent, characterizing that as "cultural genocide?" Should Englishmen with Norman surnames secede from England? Crazy? Laughable? You bet. If only they knew how crazy and laughable.

The animosities between Normans and Saxons were quite powerful at the time, as they were between Mongol and Han and Manchu and Han. Yet Normans and Saxons did not form separate kingdoms, nor did Mongol, Manchu and Han. If putting behind historical grievances and intermarrying was possible and desirable for Normans and Saxons in Britain, why do western acolytes of the Dalai Lama deem the identical process of reconciliation and integration undesirable for Hans and Tibetans in China? Their sanctimony is both historically ignorant and morally inconsistent. If their folly weren't so widespread, and hence, destructive, it wouldn't even deserve the time and effort needed to rebut it.

America was not the World's only Melting Pot

Modern China looks ethnically homogeneous not because of "Aryan racial purity," but because of millennia of what Ku Klux Klansmen and neo-Nazis denounce as "mongrelization of the races." China ranks among the most "mongrelized" nations in the world. Even China's so-called "Han" majority is in fact comprised of numerous Asiatic tribes which began intermarrying as early as the Shang dynasty.

Jews who emigrated to Kaifeng one thousand years ago are so thoroughly assimilated they are indistinguishable from "native" Chinese. Jews in Europe and even America remain physically distinct due to incomplete assimilation.

Tibet is part of China. Get over it

Tenzing Gyatso, aka the Dalai Lama, rather than rejecting his identity as a Tibetan-Chinese and demanding Tibetan racial purity along the lines of his Nazi mentor, SS Captain Heinrich Harrer, should instruct his band of reactionary theocrats huddled in Dharamsala to forsake their quixotic dream of "restoring" a "Shangri-la" that never existed, return to Lhasa, and shoulder to shoulder with fellow Chinese, help illiterate serfs they once exploited become the Andy Groves and Bill Gates of the 21st century.

China Threat theorists, meanwhile, should get over their obsession with "dividing and conquering" China. Their insistence on seeing the Chinese people not as fellow human beings, but as an insidious "Yellow Peril" to be exterminated, merely reveals their own paranoia and racial bigotry.

Appendix: William the Conqueror

See: William the Conqueror


William (as invaders go) was a bit of a lad quite accomplished in warfare, conquest and other kingly activities. He came from France (Normandy) and was a Norman but rather confusingly the term Norman means "men from the North" and they were originally Scandinavian. The irony here is that when he stomped all over England he was at least in part in conflict with earlier Scandinavian invaders such as the Vikings. It's a funny old world!

Bill was not altogether a nice guy. After he had invaded England he got a bit miffed when the North refused to accept his dominion. Being a touch peeved he sent forth an army to subdue the rebels with instructions to "lay waste" the land from roughly York to Newcastle. Farms were to be burnt and everyone killed, man, woman and child. They did a pretty good job the legacy of which shaped the region for centuries to come (but hey this is just a personal observation).

byname WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR, or THE BASTARD, or WILLIAM OF NORMANDY, French GUILLAUME LE CONQUERANT, or LE BATARD, or GUILLAUME DE NORMANDIE (b. c. 1028, Falaise, Normandy--d. Sept. 9, 1087, Rouen), duke of Normandy (as William II) from 1035 and king of England from 1066, one of the greatest soldiers and rulers of the Middle Ages. He made himself the mightiest feudal lord in France and then changed the course of England's history by his conquest of that country.

Effects of the Conquest

The effects of the Conquest were numerous and ran deep. One of the most immediate and most serious was the almost complete transfer of power at the top of society from Saxon to Norman hands.

William consistently sought ways and excuses to remove Saxons from power, but the Saxons themselves were most obliging. Many went into exile. Many were killed in the invasion and later rebellions. Many more were simply dispossessed. By 1086, 80% of the fiefs were in Norman hands (some held by Flemings and Bretons).

William brought with him the centralizing tendencies and techniques he had followed in Normandy. William as king held one-fifth of all land in England; this was a far greater estate than held by any French king. A quarter was held by the Church. Half the fiefs belonged to Norman lords, but their holdings were scattered rather than concentrated, so they could never become rivals to royal power. William was quite careful about this--he did not want to create another Earl of Wessex to rival the king.

One element in William's control of England was a military innovation he brought with him from France: stone castles. England had few, if any, stone castles before the Conqueror. After him, the landscape was transformed: 84 built by 1100. These castles were always given to Norman lords and many were built in areas prone to rebellion. The castles were all but impregnable and served as Norman anchors in a Saxon sea.

A long-term change was the change of language. The Normans spoke French, and French now became the language of government and the nobility. It remained so until the 15thc. Henry II, Richard the Lion-Hearted, even Edward Longshanks, all spoke French. Language was a barrier and a divide between the Norman lords and their Saxon subjects.

The Robin Hood legend has strong echoes of the division. Remember, all the bad guys in the legend are Normans, while all the good guys are Saxons. Never mind that the ultimate hero is Richard Lion-Heart, whose father was born in Anjou; the legend is filled with anachronisms, like any good legend. But the antagonism between Norman and Saxon in the Robin Hood stories reflected a real one that lasted long after the death of the Conqueror.

History of Western Civilization
Dr. E. L. Skip Knox
Boise State University

Wednesday, December 01, 1999

Inside Taiwan's Political Scene

Inside Taiwan's Political Scene
The 1999 Taipei Mayoral Election, a Personal Retrospective
Bevin Chu
December 01, 1999

Well, the much publicized "Three in One" elections in Taiwan are finally over. I campaigned for New Party (NP) candidate, Wang Chien-hsuan for Mayor of Taipei. Wang was acknowledged to be by far the best qualified man in a hotly contested three way race, even by rival campaign strategists from the far larger Kuomintang (KMT) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Asia Money And Finance voted Wang the "best Finance Minister in Asia" in 1992. Yet it was clear from the start that given Taiwan's current political climate, Wang had only "a Chinaman's chance" of emerging victorious.

Instead, the second best man, the KMT's Ma Ying-jeou won. Ma's not a bad guy, even if he is an attorney -- a Harvard Law School Juris Doctor. (Just kidding.) Frankly, I was relieved that NP votes of conscience for Wang didn't lead to Ma's loss. Three fourths of the NP's membership, after painful soul-searching, crossed party lines to ensure Ma's victory, or perhaps more accurately, to ensure that the worst candidate by far, the DPP's Chen Shui-bian lost.

Wang and Ma are acknowledged to be among the few clean public officials on this corrupt island. Even the separatist DPP does not deny that both men are above reproach. In fact, the two men orignally lost their powerful appointed offices because they were too good at their jobs.

While Wang was Finance Minister he did too good a job of cleaning up Taiwan's corrupt banking practices. When he went after financial institutions with ties to Lee's KMT political machine, "Mr. Democracy" wasted no time handing him his walking papers. Similarly, while Ma was Justice Minister he did too good a job of "shao hei" or "sweeping out darkness," i.e., prosecuting triad members. When Ma netted several crime bosses who were Lee's cronies, Lee unceremoniously canned him. Wang, a devout Christian, retired to preach the gospel. Ma went back to teaching law. Until they were each recently drafted by their own parties to run for mayor.

Ma was born in Hongkong of mainland refugee parents. He opposes independence, but hasn't been ballsy enough to draw a line in the sand between himself and Lee, who is KMT Party Chairman and whose support he needed to field his candidacy, even after Lee screwed him over. That made NP members slightly wary of supporting him. For his part, Lee endorsed Ma's candidacy extremely reluctantly, after months of foot-dragging and searching for a "better" alternative. "Better" meaning someone in his own party who could beat Chen but who also favored separatism. Alas, he couldn't find anyone. No surprise. Everyone knows that in the ROC's current political landscape, no one else in the KMT has the charisma to beat Chen. The women voters on Taiwan love Ma. He looks like a leading man from a HK movie. Year after year he wins "Sexiest Man Alive" type awards in questionnaires conducted by local glossy womens' magazines.

The only other A List player in the KMT is highly popular former Governor James Soong, a "mainlander" who speaks three of the major dialects on the island, Mandarin, Ming Nan, and Hakka. A real "man of the people" and vote-getter. But Lee stabbed Soong in the back when Lee shredded the ROC Constitution and poof, the Taiwan Provincial Government along with Soong's democratically elected office as Governor of Taiwan vanished. Just like that. Ironically Lee would never have risen to power had Soong not stood by him loyally, and in retrospect, foolishly, during a critical power struggle following the death of Chiang Ching-kuo. Lee once declared that "the two people I love most are my granddaughter and James Soong." Where Lee's wife fit into this lovefest remains anybody's guess. But that was then, this is now. Lee and Soong are barely speaking to each other. So much for undying love among politicians. Lee could not and would not nominate Soong. He settled for Ma.

The elimination of Taiwan's provincial status was instigated by the DPP and carried out in cahoots with Lee's so-called Mainstream Faction of the KMT. This faction consists of Lee and his contemptible yes men, some of whom secretly disagree with his separatism, but all of whom cling to his power base for their own self-aggrandizement.

When Lee Teng-hui decided the Taiwan Provincial Government had to go because its mere existence constituted prima facie evidence Taiwan was part of China, the National Assembly stood in his way. What did "Mr. Democracy" do? With the collusion of the DPP Lee ordered closed circuit TV cameras installed inside the National Assembly hall to record who voted "the wrong way." He ordered illegal wiretaps of recalcitrant assemblymen, even his own party's. He sicced Taiwan's IRS onto holdouts with guerrilla tax audits. He arranged for triad hoodlums to phone undecided assemblymen to inquire "Do you know where your children are?" He persuaded parents and kin of Assembly members to threaten to disown or shun them.

Finally, as a capper, Lee nullified all village level elections. Thousands of popularly elected officials have since become Lee's personal appointees. On the other hand, the directly elected and immensely popular Governor James Soong, is out of a job. The ballots of millions of ROC citizens, "native" and "mainlander" alike were swept into the trashcan like so much waste paper.

Soong opposes separatism, and has been tenatively endorsed by the New Party as presidential candidate in 2000. The NP is the closest thing to the USA's Libertarian Party (LP) on this island. Not surprisingly, it's the smallest of the three major parties. On the plus side, it is much larger in proportion to the ROC's population than the LP is to the USA's.

Other New Party supporters like myself who preferred Wang voted for Ma, with reservations, to prevent a split vote among the anti-separatist camp. A split vote is exactly what happened four years ago, when Chen Shui-bian got into city hall with a plurality. This was akin to when Perot caused Bush to lose to Clinton. New Party supporters vowed, not this time. Anything but a second term for the Taiwan "independence" movement's rising star. They bit the bullet and voted for Ma.

Immediately after the ballots were counted Ma thanked, and Chen denounced the New Party for casting the crucial swing votes. The election result was comparable to a scenario in which libertarians hold their noses and vote for a moderate Republican to prevent an ultraliberal Democrat from winning. NP members sacrificed their own beloved candidate and party for their nation.

Fortunately Chen Shui-bian, incumbent and Taiwan "independence" rabble-rouser par excellence lost. His defeat is considered a serious setback for separatism, as the Taipei mayorship is considered the springboard for the presidency. Chen now faces serious challenges from more moderate rivals within his own party who propose some sort of accommodation with Beijing and will point to his reckless radicalism as politically unmarketable.

Chen turned out to be a corrupt petty tyrant who has alienated even city council members from his own party. Quite a feat. Those who know Taipei probably have been to the old Wan Hua district. It's a major tourist attraction. Chen went after the legal prostitution trade in the area. Big reformer going to clean up Taipei, right? Wrong. He coordinated the cleanup with major campaign contributor, the Typhone corporation, the Dole Pineapple of Taiwan. Property in a red light district can be had on the cheap. Who wants to live next to a whorehouse? Let me rephrase that. What nice conventional middle-class family would invest in real estate next to a whorehouse? Typhone bought up the surrounding land for ten cents on the dollar. Only then did Chen conduct his sweeps, throwing legal prostitutes into the street, literally. They protested, begged even, for a two year transition period to retrain themselves for other, legal employment. Did Chen relent? Are you kidding? Typhone wanted their windfall profits. Now. Not in two years. Chen and Typhone have "cleaned up" in Wan Hua, all right, though not in the way Taipei citizens had in mind.

Hey, but Chen is merely following in the footsteps of fellow separartist, Newsweek magazine's "Mr. Democracy" Lee Teng-hui, the real master of Asian cronyism and corruption. Lee is implicated in mind-boggling kickbacks from the procurement of warships for the ROC Navy. We are talking billions here. Ying Ching-feng, a naval officer about to blow the whistle on the whole stinking mess a la Watergate's "Deep Throat," was seen being hustled into a car by two men the night before he was to present an audio tape to the media. His body was later discovered floating in the Pacific off the Keelung coast by fishermen.

A special commission went through the motions of investigating for several years before being disbanded, and its members retired quietly overseas. The tactic of "sha ji jing ho" ("kill the rooster to intimidate the monkey") seldom fails. Ying's widow and 22 million people on Taiwan know the case will never even be investigated, let alone solved, as long as Lee is in power. So perhaps I can be forgiven for wanting to puke when I have to listen to the jingoist hawks at the New Republic and the Weekly Standard prattle on about how America has a solemn obligation to defend Taiwan's "maturing democracy."

About a month ago Chen announced that he was "taking a vacation" from his job as mayor "so he could devote full time to campaigning for reelection." He ignored protests from the City Council that they were smack in the middle of policy reviews, and just walked away. He then proceeded to misappropriate city funds and resources, including buses to display, free of charge, his re-election posters. Yet his supporters stand by him. This reminds me of Washington, DC, where petty tribalists re-elected Marion Barry merely because he was "one of us." Yes, he was framed by the fibbers, but is that any reason to inflict a crook on oneself? I for one refuse to believe the African-American community has no better candidates than Marion Barry for mayor of America's capitol. I could rattle off a dozen names from the top of my head.

The DPP accuses the NP of being a "mainlanders' party". They allege that the NP is elitist and looks down its nose at "native" Taiwanese. Let's look at the facts. Over two thirds of the NP's elected officials are Minnan Taiwanese. Less than one third were born on the other side of the Strait. I supported a highly qualified Minnan NP candidate named Lai Shi-bao. He won. I cheered. As is always the case with me, my support was based on ideology, not ethnicity.

The DPP on the other hand, fielded 50 officials last election, not one of them a "mainlander." The DPP was cofounded by a pro-democracy, anti Chiang Kai-shek mainlander who was forced out immediately after. Wang noted that if the DPP had forsaken its strident separatism and virulent hatred of "Chinese Pigs" it would have displaced the KMT as the ruling party on Taiwan years ago.

The victorious Ma must not permit a wrong take on the so-called "New Taiwanese" identity slogan which helped him to garner enough middle of the road Minnan votes to win, or else his win could be worse than a DPP win. It could lend a moderate, seductive human face to incremental alienation from the mainland. He must do the right thing. He must not imply that while harmony among Chinese residing in Taiwan is indispensible, that harmony across the Taiwan Straits is not equally indispensible. He must not imply that "New Taiwanese" are not also Chinese. He must, however cautiously, acknowledge that he is also a "New Chinese". If he has the will, he will find a way. He can work with the Reform Faction of the KMT and with the NP for gradual reunification, a la Germany and Korea. It's up to him.

My father, a retired high-ranking diplomat with 40 years experience in the Taiwan government, says Ma, having been democratically elected, with his own independent power base in Taipei, will now be able to thumb his nose at Lee. Lee must step down as KMT Party Chairman in 2000. After that he will have no more power than George Bush. Nil. I am skeptical, but guardedly optimistic. Time will tell.

I can't help but think of Mel Gibson's film, Braveheart. Wang, like Braveheart, tells it like it is. He runs a campaign so clean and so consistent I've never even seen any Democrat or Republican in America run as principled a campaign. Only LP candidates have lived up the kind of example Wang set for Taiwan. Naturally he gets martyred. Ma is like Robert the Bruce. He compromises, bides his time, even when his heart screams out to him: Stand up for Braveheart! In the movie Scotland is saved. Hopefully Ma/Robert the Bruce's realpolitik will not backfire in Taiwan, and will lead to a happy Hollywood ending.

I hope this gives the political scene on Taiwan a human face. The Washington Post, CNN, Time, Newsweek have all done a sorry job of laying out the complex three way power struggle between the KMT, DPP and NP. Only Singapore's Straits Times has gotten the Taiwan scene consistently right.

Thursday, November 25, 1999

American China Policy vs. Common Sense

American China Policy vs. Common Sense
Bevin Chu
November 25, 1999

A Little Learning Is a Dangerous Thing

America's foreign policy elites, liberal and conservative alike, share a common failing, a mind-boggling lack of common sense when the subject is China. Mainstream American policymakers charged with formulating America's China policy labor under a deadly handicap -- a near total ignorance of Chinese history, Chinese culture, and the Chinese people.

This ignorance in and of itself is perfectly understandable, reasonable even. Most people make no bones about their ignorance about what life is like in foreign countries. Much of the world's population, even in our era of jumbojets and the internet, is necessarily going to ignorant about foreign history, culture and people.

I myself confess ignorance about the facts surrounding Scotland's historical relationship to England. I am not so arrogant however as to imagine that merely watching Mel Gibson's deeply moving hit movie "Braveheart," once in a first run movie house, and a half dozen times on cable, qualifies me to pass judgement on the merits or demerits of Sean Connery's demands for Scottish secession.

Most people do not presume to micromanage the internal affairs of nations about which they know next to nothing. Most people do not insist on making facile moral judgements about who the Good Guys and Bad Guys are in order to stroke themselves for having "sided with the angels." Most people do not bomb complete strangers with into oblivion from 15,000 feet, then rationalize their war crimes as "promoting American values."

The problem is not ignorance. The problem is arrogance. The problem is our foreign policy elites, liberal and conservative alike, are simultaneously crusading global interventionists who insist on meddling without understanding.

Warfare Statists vs. the Yellow Peril

In case anyone imagines I'm referring only to the Clintonistas and Blairites, think again. Conservative Warfare Statists who pay hypocritical lip service to non-intervention are arguably worse than liberal Welfare Statists, who are at least up front about being unregenerate interventionists.

Conservative Warfare Statists, aka "Globocops on the Right," are noninterventionists only when the hare-brained military intervention is being undertaken at the behest of meddling liberal Welfare Statists occupying the White House and Ten Downing Street, and directed against an "Hitlerian Serbia" in the Balkans.

But when the hare-brained military intervention is undertaken at the behest of meddling conservative Warfare Statists on Capitol Hill, and directed against an allegedly "Hitlerian" China in the Taiwan Straits, Globocops on the Right undergo an astonishing and instantaneous transformation, from noninterventionist Dr. Jekylls to interventionist Henry Hydes.

Exhibit A: Senator Fred Dalton Thompson. Exhibit B: Congressman Chris Cox. Combine equal parts ignorance and arrogance. Add a dash of ugly subconscious, unexamined bigotry, and presto! A foolproof recipe for foreign policy disaster.

Classical liberal, aka libertarian champions of economic nonintervention, myself included, have leveled entire forests castigating liberal Welfare Statists for demanding American economic intervention in our domestic economy, all in the name of specious altruist collectivist notions of "social justice."

Libertarian champions of military nonintervention on the other hand, myself included, have consumed only a few scattered stands of Douglas Fir faulting conservative Warfare Statists for demanding American military intervention in foreign nations, all in the name of specious altruist collectivist notions of "Benevolent Global Hegemony."

The reason is that during the Cold War many libertarians viewed conservative Warfare Statists as allies locked in a common struggle against creeping socialism at home and galloping communism abroad. Libertarians as a consequence cut conservative Warfare Statists a lot of slack. Too much slack.

With the end of the Cold War it is time libertarians called conservative Warfare Statists to account for their hypocrisy. By sacrificing American citizens' lives, liberty and property in pursuit of a vainglorious American Empire, conservative Warfare Statists have inflicted as much if not more damage to our great republic as liberal Welfare Statists.

Question: What should America's China Policy be?

Answer: The same as Canada and Mexico's China Policy.

Can anyone name one earthly reason why America's China policy should be substantially different from that of our nearest neighbors Canada and Mexico? Are Canada and Mexico endangering their own national security by not adopting an hysterical attitude of unremitting hatred of China? Are Canada and Mexico at risk from waves of PLA Marines swarming onto the coast of British Columbia or Baja California because they weren't sufficiently alert to a non-existent "China Threat?" Does anybody who hasn't completely lost his sanity actually believe post-communist China has any interest in invading America?

No? Then why in the world would the United States of America be at greater risk than Canada and Mexico? What in the hell are the China Threat theorists so damned worried about?

The US Air Force has, depending on whom one believes, between 17,000 and 21,000 nuclear missiles in her inventory, enough to annihilate every man, woman and child on the planet, including nearly 300 million Americans. Not even the former Soviet Union, with an estimated 23,000 nuclear missiles, dared to attack America during the Cold War, knowing full well they faced assured mutual destruction.

A practical, workable ABM system is at least several decades, if not a half century away from being anything more than Popular Science magazine cover art. This means that for the next half century America would remain utterly invulnerable even if American defense contractors and the Pentagon froze all high tech military R&D for the next fifty years, something no one in America is advocating.

China has 18, count 'em, 18, nuclear missiles with an intercontinental capability. Knowledgeable American strategic analysts know full well China's nuclear arsenal is a purely defensive, retaliatory, second strike capability intended as deterrence against other nations' nuclear blackmail.

Nor does China have the slightest intention of squandering her national treasury acquiring tens of thousands of ICBMs like the former Soviet Union merely in order to acquire a first strike capability. They know from sobering cost benefit analysis that the numbers simply don't add up. Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin saw up close and personal how the Soviets bankrupted themselves economically engaging in a futile arms race with America. They aren't about to repeat that mistake. That's why Deng Xiaoping decided early on "It's the economy, stupid" and "took the capitalist road" instead.

The only moral use of force is in self-defense. This is as true between nations as it is between individuals. If America is attacked, without provocation, by a foreign nation, Americans have a categorical right to defend ourselves. Self-defense naturally does not include travelling thousands of miles out of our way to side with one faction rather than another engaged in a foreign civil war. That is plain and simple imperialist aggression, and the diametric opposite of legitimate self-defense.

Instead, our government should, in the words of George Washington:

"Observe good faith and justice towards all Nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all -- Religion and morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be that good policy does not equally enjoin it?"

Question: What kind of foreign policy should naturalized Americans advocate if they want to be genuine American patriots?

Answer: The same foreign policy as America's Founding Fathers.

Naturalized Americans who wish to be patriotic Americans should advocate a policy of "Trade, not Aid" with citizens of every nation on earth, including their homelands. As George Washington put it:

"The Great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign Nations is in extending our commercial relations to have with them as little political connection as possible."

Pro-reunification Chinese-Americans should demand that the American government neither help nor hinder mainland China's efforts to prevent Taiwan secession. Chinese-Americans who deny their identities, and who insist on referring to themselves as "Taiwanese" should demand that the American government neither help nor hinder Taiwan's efforts to achieve secession.

Just as German, French and Italian Swiss refrain from urging that strictly neutral Switzerland give preferential treatment to either Germany, France or Italy, so Chinese-Americans should urge that our American government remain strictly neutral regarding the confrontation between Beijing and Taipei.

If naturalized Americans or other American citizens are determined to take sides in a foreign conflict, either via financial contributions or volunteering for combat, they should do so purely as private individuals. They may wish to join Abraham Lincoln style brigades the way anti-fascist Americans did during the Spanish Civil War. They must however not attempt to foist either the economic or military burden of their causes onto other Americans who may not share, and may in fact bitterly oppose their political agendas.

Conservative Warfare Statists, i.e., "Globocops on the Right" consider this sort of neutrality un-American, unpatriotic. Unfortunately they are dead wrong. If anyone is unpatriotic, it is the Warfare Statists, "native born" or otherwise. They have apparently forgotten what genuine American values are, assuming they knew in the first place. A refresher course on American history would not be out of order, starting with George Washington's Farewell Address of 1796.

America is composed of immigrants from almost every nation on earth. If every hyphenated American, including but hardly limited to Chinese-Americans, Irish-Americans and Jewish-Americans demanded that America remain strictly neutral in the face of endless foreign conflicts, America would be at peace with almost every nation in the world. Are jingoist hawks like Jesse Helms and Chris Cox going to tell me this is a bad thing? I can't think of anything more patriotic a naturalized American can do than to prevent fellow Americans from coming home in bodybags, can you?

Question: Should the US government do the Chinese government any favors?

Answer: Absolutely, positively not. The US government should not do the mainland Chinese government any favors whatsoever. Rabid Taiwanese separatists take note, this means no favors for the Quisling Lee Teng-hui either.

Anything private Chinese citizens or the Chinese government want from private American citizens or the American government must be paid for in full, preferably in cold cash, preferably in advance.

Free trade is not a handout. Free trade is not a free lunch. Free trade is merely the opportunity to fork over the market price for something one wants to obtain in the marketplace. As consumers everywhere know, the market price for highly desirable products or services is often quite dear. But "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch." If both the buyers and sellers are content, no one else has any say in the matter.

Not coercing a foreign nation to "reform" under threat of military intervention does not constitute doing their government a favor. Not taking sides in a foreign nation's civil war does not constitute doing their government a favor. Not violating foreign businessmens' inalienable right to engage in free trade does not constitute doing their government a favor.

Our federal government should not do any foreign regimes any favors. Why not? Because the federal government's resources, from whence any favors to foreign regimes would have to come, belongs to millions of individual American citizens and taxpayers. They constitute the hard-earned wealth of millions of individual Americans and should never have been taken from us in the first place. They should be returned to those individual Americans who earned it, so that we may use the wealth as each of us individually sees fit.

Conservative Warfare Statists, who ought to know better, in contrast to liberal Welfare Statists, seem to have forgotten that free trade is a fundamental human right, more basic to raw human survival than free speech. Free trade is not a privilege conferred by the state, but an inalienable natural right. Free trade is a human right neither the American government has the right to deny American citizens, nor the Chinese government has the right to deny Chinese citizens.

If conservative Warfare Statists do not understand even this much about the inseparable relationship between individual rights and free trade, then what pray tell is the ideological difference between them and communists, socialists and left liberal Welfare Statists?

Question: Doesn't "Humanitarian Intervention" increase the amount of freedom in the world?

Answer: Not on your life.

Conservative Warfare Statists harbor the erroneous belief that "Humanitarian Intervention" in less free foreign nations will be rewarded by a net increase in the amount of freedom in the world as a whole. Let's examine why conservative Warfare Statists' rosy scenario is self delusion.

Conservative Warfare Statists are inclined to blank out any number of inconvenient facts about "Humanitarian Intervention." Anyone who knows anything about the way people learn, and I mean really learn, know that most learning occurs at a subliminal, intuitive, non-linear level. Not by exhortation, but by example. Not by deduction, but by induction.

The hypocritical convention of demanding that unwilling pupils "Do as I say, not as I do" has never worked, does not work, and will never work. Why? Because the power of living example trumps insincere lip service every time. Lessons learned at gunpoint about "human rights" will never teach the world genuine respect for others' human rights. Instead the reluctant pupil will internalize the unintended lesson that "Might makes Right."

Commodore Perry is an early example. American gunboat diplomacy failed utterly to teach feudal Japan the value of American respect for the individual. Instead it inculcated Japan with the delusion that the only game in town was to beat westerners at their own game of high tech imperialism. Feudal Japan became fascist Japan. Republican America meanwhile became Imperial America.

Instead of increasing the amount of freedom in the world, Perry decreased it. One relatively free nation, America, intervened to "impose freedom" on a less free nation, feudal Japan. The result? A less free America and a less free Japan. American military intervention in Japan accomplished the remarkable but dubious feat of simultaneously reducing freedom in both Asia and America. Instead of two free nations, the world wound up with two less free nations. A lose/lose formula if ever there was one. As James Madison observed, "Of all the enemies to public liberty war, is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded."

Russia is a more recent example. Yeltsin is currently using the identical tactics against the Chechens that Clinton and Blair employed against Milosevic in Kosovo. Nato and the Pentagon certainly taught everyone in the Balkans a lesson. The only problem is it isn't the lesson the Guardians of the New World Order had in mind. What Nato's "Bombing for Peace" taught Russia, China, India, Pakistan, and God only knows who else, is that "Might makes Right," and that anybody who doesn't want what happened to Milosevic's Serbia to happen to them had better acquire or enhance their capacity for strategic deterrence.

Then of course, there is China

Having failed to learn the lessons of history with feudal Japan, conservative Warfare Statists are repeating their earlier Asian misadventure with China. Fortunately Chinese political culture is very different from Japanese samurai/fascist political culture, and it is extremely unlikely post-communist China will go down the same road as post-Perry Japan.

American moves to "contain" China will however have the perverse effect of delaying China's political liberalization. A Beijing unthreatened by western hegemony is prepared to allow considerably more freedom of domestic political expression than a Beijing which perceives foreign colonialists poised to take advantage of China in the event increased political freedom leads to widespread chaos. China remembers only too clearly what fate almost befell her during the late Ching dynasty, when internal disarray almost led to China's permanent partition by opportunistic Japanese, European and American imperialists.

Christian evangelist Reverend Ike used to preach that "The way to help the poor is to not be one of them." The way for America to help less free nations of the world is not to be one of them. Americans can promote American values best by being a living example of our way of life at home, demonstrating that our system works, and works beautifully, instead of ramming our values down foreigners' throats at gunpoint. Actions, as the cliche goes, speak louder than words. Americans should make sure the lesson we're presuming to teach is the one we're successfully living, not the one we're merely talking about.

Thursday, November 18, 1999

Letter to an American Patriot

Letter to an American Patriot
Bevin Chu
November 18, 1999

The following is a letter to Richard, a close personal friend descended from a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Richard's credentials as a bona fide American patriot are of course based not on heredity, but on his own merits. Richard is an expert on Constitutional law and a courageous and principled defender of Original Intent.

Dear Richard,

Recently an American film called "Siege at Ruby Ridge" showed on cable TV in Taipei. At first I assumed it was yet another in the series of sickening "In the Line of Duty" docudramas, in which tinsel town totalitarians depict federal storm troopers as heroes and their hapless civilian victims as villains with a didactic heavy-handedness rivaling Stalinist and Maoist propaganda.

But "Siege at Ruby Ridge" was nothing of the sort. The director was none other other than Lionel Chetwynd, screenwriter for "The Doomsday Gun" an HBO docudrama on Gerald Bull, the genius Canadian weapons designer assassinated by Israel's Mossad for designing a nuclear cannon for Saddam Hussein at the behest of the CIA.

"Seige at Ruby Ridge" was framed from the perspective of maverick civil rights lawyer Gerry Spence. The film makers neither flinched from portraying reclusive white separatist Randy Weaver, played by veteran character actor Randy Quaid, as the bigot he was, nor did they strain to affirm their PC credentials with the Beautiful People by unfairly caricaturing him as any worse than he actually was.

"Siege at Ruby Ridge" did not set Weaver up as a straw man to smear thoughtful defenders of the Second Amendment or civilian militias with undeserved guilt by association. Millions of ordinary Americans who not share Weaver's irrational prejudices about race do share his accurate perception that federal law enforcement is grinding ordinary Americans' rights into the dust. Instead the film presented Weaver, warts and all, but not therefore any less deserving of due process under the law. Randy Weaver and David Koresh's persecution by our federal leviathan are proof of the adage, attributed to Henry Kissinger, that "even paranoids have real enemies."

One aspect of the film in particular stuck in my mind. It may not have been an issue for other Americans, but it was for me. I'm talking about the role of FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi, an Asian-American. Sure, the rest of the jackbooted thugs were WASPs, including Deputy Director Larry Potts who handed down the indefensible "shoot on sight" rules of engagement. But Asian-Americans have in recent years been investigated by the very same FBI responsible for Ruby Ridge and Waco. Asian-Americans have been scrutinized under a microscope in a way not usually done to hyphenated Americans of European descent or even European resident aliens.

Honest, hardworking, middle-class African-Americans joke bitterly that being black in America means praying when you hear a news story about a holdup that the faces which appear on TV screen aren't black. When I saw the face of the Asian-American actor who played Horiuchi on the screen I had the same kind of feeling. This makes what Horiuchi did a very relevant topic to me.

Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch was every bit as much a foreigner as Indonesian tycoon Mochtar Riady. Geographically Australia is in Asia. Australians are on those terms "Asians." Yet when Murdoch paid Newt Gingrich a three million dollar advance for his nonfiction book about the Republican Revolution no one in the US mainstream squawked about alarming, suspicious "foreign" "Asian" money. Instead the attention was focused exclusively on Gingrich's wrongdoing, not on Murdoch's race and national origin.

Now contrast this with the reaction to Riady's far smaller contribution to Clinton in exchange for similar potential future commercial advantage. A simple "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" commercial deal. Sleazy? Absolutely, but no better or worse than Murdoch's. Yet it suddenly gets blown up into a "Fumanchu" plot to overthrow western civilization.

The next thing you know Fred Thompson embarrasses himself by embarking on a protracted and futile witch hunt in which he comes up with -- zip. This being the nineties he'll have more luck finding Reds on the Berkeley campus and in the Teamster's Union than in "communist" China. He looked even more foolish than the Fibbers after they had to let poor schmuck Richard Jewel go, with a halfhearted "apology" for turning his life upside down. Maybe it's taught Jewel, allegedly an FBI wannabe, a hard lesson about who the good guys are. Maybe he'll think about joining the militia now instead.

The China Threat demagogues just don't get it. The "communist" Chinese no longer want to export revolution. They want to export anything that will make them rich. They don't want to make war. They want to make money. Even the PLA has gotten in the act, to the amusement of some strategic analysts in the Pentagon and American think tanks. Anything that will turn a profit. Barbie dolls, Nike sneakers, Norinco semiautomatics, you name it. Export 'em to anyone who'll fork out hard cash. No political motivations whatsoever, just good old-fashioned, capitalist greed.

Meanwhile the China-bashers in Congress have twisted themselves into pretzels pretending they don't know about the US $15 million bribe KMT Business Affairs Manager Liu Tai-ying offered to the DNC. Liu, on instructions from his boss KMT Party Chairman and ROC (Taiwan) President Lee Teng-hui, tried to turn the US Seventh Fleet into the Taiwan independence movement's Rent-A-Cop, at their beck and call for a price.

So how do these same intrepid investigators into the Donorgate scandal treat this outrageous attempt to misuse the Navy of the world's premier superpower? Answer: the way unregenerate hard-liners insist on treating Tiananmen. Namely, if you pretend hard enough that something never happened, then it didn't.

The China-Threat demagogues want to hold Taiwan up to the world as the virtuous, democracy-loving underdog and caricature mainland China as "The Return of the Evil Empire." They don't want Lee Teng-hui's sleazy attempts to purchase American foreign policy with NT dollars muddying up the tidy moral scheme in which Taiwanese and Tibetan separatists are portrayed as pure virtue and mainland Chinese are portrayed as pure evil.

Why this grotesque distortion of reality? Because China may one day challenge America's dominant status on the world stage.

Did you know almost every one of the top Beijing leaders' children were at one time enrolled in American universities? Would they subject their own sons and daughters to capitalist "brainwashing" by a supposed "enemy" if they really hated America as much as the China-bashers insist? China's hostility toward America essentially died with Mao.

In fact what is emerging from China is not a threatening military challenge to America, but a peaceful, albeit highly competitive commercial challenge, one which might one day challenge America's global economic dominance.

The China-bashers' desire to preemptively squash a peaceful competitor in the global marketplace militarily "before it is too late," is morally contemptible and un-American to boot. America is the philosophical home of the "win/win" capitalist ethic. The China-bashers' mercantilist world view represents a "zero-sum" perspective alien to the benevolent American view of the world as a level playing field on which everyone wins.

The China Threat demagogues long to Balkanize China, even though post-communist China has evidenced not the slightest intention of wanting to harm America. Apparently no evidence is needed. All that is needed is dehumanized stereotypes of Fumanchu bogeymen in the fevered imaginations of the editorial staffs of the Weekly Standard on the right and the New Republic on the left.

Now if China had just launched a sneak-attack on the US, the way fascist Japan did at Pearl Harbor in December 1941, this anti-China hysteria would at least be understandable. Every American, including Chinese-Americans, would rally behind it.

I say this based on the historical record, not wishful thinking. During the Cold War Chinese-Americans and Nationalist Chinese in Chiang Kai-shek's ROC fell right in line with the Cold War postures adopted in Washington, London, Bonn and Paris. For capitalism and against Mao's hard-line Marxist China. The possibility that one might choose on the basis of racial-tribal affiliation instead of a shared intellectual commitment to political liberty never crossed anyone's mind.

But the Cold War is over. In fact China and the US had a rapprochement back during the Nixon administration, even before the Cold War was over. Has China done anything aggressive toward the US since? It has not. The missile intimidation of Spring 1996 was specifically targeted at Taiwan separatist Lee Teng-hui. No one else. No one else was in harms way. Not any neighbors in SE Asia, certainly not the USA way the hell on the other side of the Pacific Ocean.

Clinton's dispatch of the Nimitz and Independence carrier task forces to the Taiwan Straits in Spring of '96 was in retrospect the last straw for me. It was excessive force cavalierly invoked simply because it could be, because those abusing their power knew no one could defy it. I felt about the two carriers in the Taiwan Straits the way we both felt about the APCs and choppers at Ruby Ridge and Waco. I've not only been feeling more angry about our federal leviathan the past couple of years, I've also found myself saying and writing things I wouldn't have before. Particularly about contemporary US foreign policy.

Much of what I say I have no doubt will strike mainstream intellectuals as unpatriotic. What may make my criticisms even more suspect is that I've probably been sounding suspiciously like an apologist for the current PRC leadership. If so, too bad. The fact remains I've denounced both federal stormtroopers and Maoist Red Guards equally the past thirty years. So except that ethnically I'm Chinese, as a former Cold Warrior my case is similar to Richard Nixon's. As Mr. Spock reminded Captain Kirk in a Star Trek sequel, "Only Nixon could go to China."

The undeniable fact is that from the standpoint of explicitly guaranteeing individual rights for its citizens in its structural, institutional arrangements, America was until very recently, the moral leader of the world. To use an analogy from our school days, America started out as an "A" student. Whereas China for much of its history got "Cs" or "Ds."

This is not to say that China wasn't free in defacto terms. It was. At the beginning of several of the more prosperous dynasties, such as the Han dynasty and the Tang dynasty, the laws were few and clear. Chinese lived under what in practical terms amounted to laissez-faire.

In 206 B.C. the first Han emperor on assuming the throne took one look at the tens of thousands of edicts, laws, rules and regulations which had proliferated before him and in one fell swoop brushed them all aside. He declared that the country would have only three laws, no more. Only three acts would be illegal. If my memory serves me they were murder, assault, robbery/theft. Everything else was by default legal. China not surprisingly prospered as it never had before. Tragically but all too predictably later emperors did exactly what Lincoln, Wilson, Roosevelt, Johnson and Carter did, and dynasty after dynasty decayed under the crushing burden of expanding government.

These United States of America are the legatees of the Framers of the American Constitution, the wisest, most far-sighted political philosophers in human history. For this reason those of us who defend Original Intent and Strict Construction have every right to expect American public officials to live up to America's unique and exceptional political heritage. When it came to conceptualizing and implementing theoretical and institutional arrangements required to preserve human rights and liberties America was once the world's intellectual and moral leader. The tragedy is that America has moved so depressingly far in the wrong direction, away from a prior condition of unprecedented respect for the individual.

Conversely, the current Chinese government started out from such a dismally low departure point, everywhere looks like up. China had little or no historical legacy of the "rule of law." Yet it is moving astonishingly rapidly in the right direction, away from a previous condition of virtually no individual liberty during Chairman Mao's nightmarish regime.

I suppose I feel the same guarded hopefulness that anti-Communist Russians felt when Gorbachev and Yeltsin started to dismantle Russian communism. Many of them were inclined to overlook some of Yeltsin's undemocratic executive actions because contrasted with what went before what he was doing was positively benevolent.

You've gotten an earful from me about "human rights" meddlers and their double-standards. I can think of only one instance in which a double-standard makes sense. I think it is laudable for a nation to apply a higher standard to itself than to others. If a nation applies a higher standard to itself, taking pride in its scrupulous respect for civilized conduct, even when others don't, it is behaving with integrity and honor. When a nation faithfully persists in doing the right thing at home, converting others only by moral example, that nation acquires a quiet dignity and nobility, which paradoxically it forfeits if it struts about loudly trumpeting its own moral rectitude and denounces its "inferiors" for failing to meet its exalted standards. Sadly, as grating weekly lectures from State Department mouthpieces remind us, that's exactly the opposite of how human rights "champions" are going about it these days.

Citizens of China will one day become as vigilant about encroachments on their political liberty as Americans. But it must happen gradually. It can't be rushed. It can't be forced. Especially by outsiders. Because foreign pressure is associated in China's historical memory with unjust, humiliating and hypocritical exploitation of the Chinese people by colonial powers during the late 19th and early 20th century, much of which was rationalized with rhetoric remarkably similar to what we are hearing today. Foreign pressure to "reform" will instead itself be perceived as an encroachment on the Chinese people as a whole, not their leadership.

The foreign settlements established by means of gunboat diplomacy in Shanghai had signs reading "No dogs or Chinese allowed." This kind of "might makes right" outrage happened inside China's own borders. Imagine how Americans would feel if America had been colonized by Europe and Japan by dint of sheer military might. Imagine if New York City had European and Japanese settlements with signs reading "No Dogs or Americans allowed." Suppose Americans finally managed to drive out the intruders, were only starting to get back on their feet again, only to be confronted with former colonial powers carping and harping about "human rights abuses." How would Americans react?

So the response, perhaps understandably, becomes, "Since you put it that way, f--k you!" "Human rights" busybodies absolutely don't understand this. They don't understand why their efforts are utterly doomed to evoking nothing but cold rage and a counterproductive backlash.

To bring the train of thought back to Ruby Ridge, traditionally most Asian-Americans bend over backwards to live up to their "model minority" image. They are law-abiding to a fault and only want to keep their noses clean and go along to get along. Asian-Americans are remarkable docile in contrast to other minorities which are constantly protesting or trying to get "one of their own" elected to public office.

For the most part this is probably a good thing. In some ways though this docile conformity can be lethal. It matters not whether it shows up in Americans of Asian or Caucasian descent. The uncritical civil servant who participates in government power abuse while oblivious to his complicity, betrays, however unwittingly, America's sacred heritage. He may sincerely believe he's the embodiment of patriotism and good citizenship, but he's not. He's the precise opposite.

I don't think I'm out of line when I say that this sort of uncritical acquiescence to mainstream assumptions about right and wrong is what permitted an Asian-American who became an FBI agent to click his heels with a brisk "Yes sir!" then turn around and blow away a mother armed with only an infant.

Our publicly funded high school social studies classes force-fed us a load of happy horses--t about how the system works, which has no relation whatsoever with the way things actually work. We were told with straight faces that the president never lies and that federal law enforcement agents were like Robert Stack's Elliot Ness in the "Untouchables."

In the movie Chetwynd showed a shot of a bumper sticker which read "Question Authority." Even though the bumper stickers were stuck onto pickup trucks sporting rebel stars and bars belonging to Neo-Nazis and Aryan Nation members. That's one of the difficult things about real life. It's not like the movies. In real life even bad guys sometimes champion good ideas. Like dismantling the federal government.

Just because one's government tells one that somebody is evil incarnate doesn't make it so. Just because one's government draws up a list of good guys and bad guys doesn't their judgment the final word. One might even be safer in assuming that they were exactly wrong and do the exact opposite. I know I would reverse our government's and Hollywood's Conventional Wisdom about the Dalai Lama being Obe Wan Kenobe and David Koresh being Darth Vader 180 degrees.

Koresh may or may not have been diddling the under aged daughters of parishioners. I have no knowledge of that. But I do know that the Branch Davidian Church was a private religious entity which anyone could leave at any time. In contrast to the Dalai Lama's Yellow Hat Sect theocracy, it did not conflate church and state. In contrast to the Dalai Lama's Yellow Hat Sect theocracy it did not, upon threat of physical torture, exact tithes from its impoverished serfs of fully 50% of their pathetic harvests, five times what the medieval Catholic church and Islam require from believers. The Yellow Hat Sect Lamaists make our own IRS look benevolent by comparison, not a easy feat.

The blind obedience which Horiuchi gave the Feds is the antithesis of the American tradition of questioning authority. Did Horiuchi question whether the official line from Janet Reno and Louis Freeh about who the good guys were and who the bad guys were held water? Would he have eagerly enlisted, in this day and age, when the FBI has far exceeded its constitutional authority, to become an FBI sniper if he had retained the ability to think for himself?

Horiuchi's uncritical obedience of FBI orders was un-American. Ironically it could be considered "Asian" in the worst sense of the word, specifically the fascistic samurai tradition of blind obedience to one's shogun, of killing without blinking on orders from higher up in one's rigidly hierarchical society. It is Rape of Nanking type behavior.

In all fairness to Asians it could also, with equal justification be considered "Western European." I'm not talking about Russians here, whom some Aryan racists consider "borderline Asians" (and thus "inferior.") I'm talking about Italians and Germans, who are squarely in the western European cultural mainstream. When Fascist and Nazi rank and file "merely followed orders" and carried out genocidal atrocities against their African and European neighbors they were behaving little differently.

Does a logical connection exist between contemporary US foreign policy (as opposed to authentically American, pre-Wilsonian "Splendid Isolationism") and current domestic crime fighting policy? The more I examine the mind set behind the former the more convinced I am that the identical mind set informs the latter.

To put it another way, Madeline Albright's "World Policeman" foreign policy is a nearly perfect foreign relations analog of Janet Reno's domestic "crime-fighting" policy. The way the US State Department relates to Burma, Chile or China is virtually identical to the way the ATF and FBI relate to Randy Weaver, David Koresh or Richard Jewel. Actually when we stop to think about it, this consistency shouldn't surprise us. We ought to be more surprised if governments behaved inconsistently.

In the former instance the State Department issues its "Human Rights Report" naming certain foreign nations to a "Ten Most Wanted" list, then Washington declares open season on them. Albright and her cohorts cite Beijing's multitude of sins (weapons sales Washington disapproves of, missile intimidation of Taiwanese separatists and abuse of Tibetan separatists) to justify forcible US intervention. The propaganda machine goes into full swing demonizing the designated international pariah. This clears every ones' conscience for what is about to happen next. The villain is so villainous it deserves what's coming. The next thing you know two carrier task forces are sailing through the Taiwan Straits. Radio Free Asia and Voice of America are blasting propaganda around the clock across the Chinese border into China, and jingoist hawks Bill Kristol and Charles Krauthammer are itching for an excuse to teach the subhuman gooks a lesson about American military might.

In the latter instance the Justice Department cites Weaver's or Koresh's wrong doings (weapons sales the ATF disapproves of, or weapons ownership the FBI disapproves of, sexual abuse of underaged children) to justify Federal intervention. The propaganda machine goes into full swing demonizing the designated enemy of law and order. This clears every ones' conscience for what is about to happen next. The villain is so villainous it deserves what's coming. The next thing you know Janet Reno orders in SWAT teams, and military choppers, armored personnel carriers are surrounding a flimsy plywood cabin on a remote Idaho mountain top or a flammable wooden church building in rural Texas. The Fibbers are blasting propaganda though loudspeakers 24 hours a day and shining klieg lights at the buildings, and "law and order" statists like Charles Shumer are itching for an excuse to "get tough" with the hated right wing gun nuts and lunatic fringe militias.

In both instances the targets of Washington's obsession are parties who merely wish to be left alone on their own turf. Neither Burma and China, nor Weaver and Koresh have (or had) done anything to suggest that they posed a threat to the powers that be in Washington.

Let me digress for a moment. Of course the Beijing government has blood on its hands. More precisely, some current, ousted or deceased officials do. Others do not. If any politicians' hands can be considered clean, then their hands are clean. But none of this is the issue. Burma and China are foreign countries. Human rights abuses, both real and imagined, within their own borders against their own populace are not a US foreign policy and national security issue. They are an issue for its own citizenry to deal with. If they find it intolerable they can stage a revolution. The Chinese people after all staged dozens of successful revolutions in over four thousand years of Chinese history before America even came into existence. Just how did ancient China's domestic injustices suddenly get to be young America's problem anyway?

For that matter even aggression against a third party is no reason to intervene. Unless a Burma, China, whatever, launches an attack against the United States, the US has no good reason to declare war against it. This was the Founding Fathers' sagacious policy of "Splendid Isolation." Washington, Jefferson and Adams were quite explicit and adamant about this point. As Adams put it, "America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy." Of course in those days of enlightened leadership America's Federal government did not go to the Idaho, Texas and Montana countryside in search of monsters to destroy either. Which only reinforces my theory that just maybe the two superficially unrelated behaviors are more closely linked than one might imagine.

Hence Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, one a Republican, the other a Democrat, but both "Progressive" welfare-statists and both bashers of "Big Business," were, surprise, surprise, both rabid foreign interventionists. Both turned their back on America's glorious tradition of doing the right thing at home while refraining from imposing it on others abroad.

This gets back to the brilliant radical libertarian-isolationist thesis of the "Welfare/Warfare State," which posits that an activist welfare state tends to export this activism in the form of a analogous activist warfare state abroad. Both types of intervention are motivated by the same delusion, that an omnipotent omniscient government ("the Only Remaining Superpower in the World") has the duty and the prerogative to rectify all inequities wherever they occur. What is distinctive about this allocation of power is that the means of enforcement belongs exclusively to Washington.

At home the coercion takes the form of the domestic policy of gun control, leaving us defenseless against street criminals. "Police will carry the guns and protect you. More guns on the street only endanger everybody." If someone refuses to comply, what follows is a Ruby Ridge or Waco blood bath. Abroad the coercion takes the form of international "arms control" agreements (i.e., gun control between nations) which leave whichever group the globocops have designated as the bad guys defenseless against their deadly regional rivals. "The UN and NATO will carry the guns. Weapons proliferation only destabilizes the region." If someone refuses to comply with the weapons roundup, Washington sends in Army Rangers, as in Somalia, or a NATO air strike, as in Bosnia and Kosovo.

Ironically the argument interventionists use to justify their global meddling is that "brutal dictatorships tend to treat other nations no better than they treat their own citizens, therefore they will inevitably export their brutality." This means that preemptive initiation of force by Washington, prior even to any actual aggression by the Villain of the Month, is rationalized as self-defense. So who is the "brutal dictatorship" and who is "exporting brutality?" Talk about psychological projection.

Furthermore how many human rights advocates who demand US intervention abroad on moral grounds have really considered the flip side of their own argument? If a foreign government's infringement of its own citizens' human rights constitutes legitimate grounds for US intervention in its domestic affairs, then the US government's infringement of American citizens' rights constitutes legitimate grounds for foreign intervention in America. They can intervene on the pretext that the US government is unjust in its administration of domestic criminal justice.

Canada or Mexico could, using this logic, cite domestic US police brutality such as those committed by New York's Finest (not to mention Kent State, Ruby Ridge and Waco) as justification for imposing trade sanctions or even sending troops into the United States, the way the US sent troops into Somalia, for example. Somehow I doubt this is what these sanctimonious busybodies had in mind. What they had in mind was a one way street: "I get to do it to you, but you don't get to do it to me. In fact you don't even get to squawk about it." Of course we know Canada or Mexico are not about to take such drastic actions in reality, but we are talking about ethical/moral rationales. The interventionists alone know what's good for others, and the others had better obey, or Washington will bomb.

To sum up, the current US/China confrontation has been deeply troubling to me. I was born a Chinese citizen and remained one until well into my adult years, even though I grew up in America. When I decided finally to swear allegiance to America and become a naturalized citizen, I did so only after prolonged soul-searching. I did not want to treat the matter lightly, as a matter of convenience, the way many Taiwanese and Tibetan separatists have. I decided I would only go through with it if I could do so solemnly and without reservations. I finally concluded that the Constitution and Bill of Rights represented noble enduring universal values. Swearing to defend them against all enemies, foreign and domestic, could never required me to violate my conscience. So in response to potential China Threat demagogues who may question my loyalty because I refuse to be an obedient Lon Horiuchi, my response is to quote from an uncannily prescient, neglected document now two centuries years old:

"Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence... the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake; since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of Republican Government. But that jealousy to be useful must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation [or regime, such as Taipei]

and excessive dislike of another, [Beijing]

cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side [unproven allegations of PRC bribery]

and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other [documented, proven ROC bribery. The KMT lost a libel lawsuit against Hongkong's Asiaweek magazine which broke the $15M DNC bribery story.]

Real Patriots, who may resist the intrigues of the favorite, are liable to become suspected and odious; [free trade advocates Henry Kissinger, Al Haig, Brent Scowcroft, all smeared as "apologists for Beijing"]

while its tools and dupes [James Lilley, Jesse Helms, Nat Bellochi, who are all on record as having accepted substantial contributions from the Taiwan Lobby]

usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests. [To drag the US into a bloody replay of the Vietnam War, with G.I.s coming home in body bags. So that Lee Teng-hui and the Taiwan separatist elite can thump their chests and declare a Republic of Taiwan?]

The Great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign Nations is in extending our commercial relations [MFN, WTO] to have with them as little political connection as possible" [Taiwan Relations Act, US Japan Security Treaty. Quagmires waiting to happen.]

-- George Washington's Farewell Address, 19th September 1796

Your friend,