The last time I saw Communists carrying AK-47 weapons, I was serving my country in South Vietnam.
I must admit to having mixed emotions in San Diego this past March while witnessing Communist China’s proud warship, the guided missile destroyer Harbin, tied up next to the proud USS Constellation.
Then I saw the picture of the Chinese Navy Admiral guarded by a young sailor with his AK-47 rifle.
I know times have changed, but have the Communists changed?
Was this the same ship that participated in war exercises off Taiwan not long ago? Was this the same one that the U.S. carriers Independence and Nimitz confronted just last year?
Was this the same Chinese military that warned us of their ability to strike Los Angeles?
We gave Gorbachev the Presidio military base in San Francisco, and the United Nations’ flag is flying in many U.S. government locations. Now we have the Communist Chinese government buying politicians and moving in on the Port of Long Beach.
Not only are they establishing themselves at Long Beach and visiting San Diego, but the Chinese government has a major presence in other places in America. From major retail developments in Arkansas (where else?) to special docking privileges near U.S. bases, the Chinese are moving fast and winning the economical game.
They are quickly overtaking Japan as a leading trading partner with the U.S. and have learned their lessons well from Japan. China seems to believe that free trade means they are free to trade their products openly in American markets, but they can feel free to close their markets to our products.
They give lip service to controlling their illegal piracy of our intellectual property, while demanding that we give up our patent rights and trade secrets.
One must ask, “What are we getting in this deal?” Are we getting better relationships, dialogue, or a better understanding of this giant nation? Do we get a reduction of the tension between China and Taiwan?
NO! We only get heightened tension and more pressure to surrender our friends and allies.
Just days after the Communists left San Diego, days after the Vice President and Newt Gingrich arrived back from Tiananmen Square (Oh, they missed that tour), the Chinese were back with threats and intimidations.
While Vice President Al Gore was toasting the Chinese leadership, the Clinton administration was insisting on a U.N. resolution criticizing China. Bill Richardson, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in New York, declared that China “continues to commit wide-spread and well-documented human rights abuses.”
China argues that no country’s record is perfect. Of course, no one is asking China’s record to be perfect-just consistent with normal human dignity and generally accepted behavior.
This rebuke by the Clinton administration may somewhat temper the outcry over China’s funding of the Democratic National Committee and other campaign irregularities. But any open attack on China in the U.N. could only be for show.
The U.N.’s 15-nation European Union was not united on its annual bid to condemn China. The 53-member Human Rights Commission, led by France, probably will not vote to condemn.
So Clinton can criticize China’s human rights violations, quell the opposition to Gore’s visit, and welcome the Communists to the San Diego Zoo.
If Clinton really wanted to take aim at China’s human rights violations, why not use Al Gore? Gore was in China with the world press watching and he was silent on the subject — while Newt Gingrich visited China and told the Chinese that America would defend Taiwan.
The Communist government’s response was predictable. Taiwan was an “internal” problem and we should mind our own business. Clinton did not back up Newt, and White House spokesman Mike McCurry told reporters that Gingrich was “speaking for himself.”
That is fine and dandy, but who is speaking for America?
Mason Weaver of Oceanside is author of It’s OK to Leave the Plantation. He can also be heard on KOGO Radio (600 AM) and can be contacted at (760) 758-7448 or e-mail at “[email protected]”