China and the Bush Doctrine


The recent unrest in Tibet captured the attention of the world and showcased the true nature of Red China.  This was a golden opportunity for President Bush, and the Western World, to finally confront Communist China over its continued human rights record.  But we are reminded once again how shallow our president actually is when it comes to foreign policy.

President Bush has faced mounting pressure to boycott the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Beijing since the Chinese crackdown but has yet to make any decision on Tibet.  Other Western leaders, such as French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, have expressed their intention to remain absent.  Yet the question remains why Bush will not do likewise, to show solidarity with Tibet and a united front against Chinese aggression.  This would at least show that he actually believes in the theme of his second inaugural address, which he seems to use only when it suits him.

On January 20, 2005, President Bush addressed the nation after taking the oath of office for his second term.  “America, in this young century,” stated the president, “proclaims liberty throughout all the world, and to all the inhabitants thereof.”  His new administration’s policy would be “to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.”  The country would embark on the “idealistic work of helping raise up free governments.”  True conservatives rightfully cringed. 

The President continued:  “All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you.  Democratic reformers facing repression, prison, or exile can know: America sees you for who you are: the future leaders of your free country.  The rulers of outlaw regimes can know that we still believe as Abraham Lincoln did: ‘Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves; and, under the rule of a just God, cannot long retain it.’”

But with all the high-minded idealism and artful rhetoric, how has his foreign policy been carried out towards China?  Has Bush stood with Tibet in its battle for liberty from Chinese aggression?  Has he stood with Taiwan, as its democracy is increasingly threatened by a China bent on conquest?  The obvious answer is no. 

Tibet is not an old province of China but has its own separate history.  It is an ancient civilization, and like any “nation” it has its own distinct heritage, language, ethnicity, and religion.  It is not culturally Chinese.  But Tibetans have battled China for independence since the mid-18th century.  The modern Communist nation under Mao, invaded Tibet in 1950 with the People’s Liberation Army, presumably to “liberate” Tibet from its freedom and independence.

According to the Heritage Foundation, the campaign was brutal.  “After invading Tibet in 1950, the Chinese communists killed over one million Tibetans, destroyed over 6,000 monasteries, and turned Tibet’s northeastern province, Amdo, into a gulag housing, by one estimate, up to ten million people. A quarter of a million Chinese troops remain stationed in Tibet.”

China has since instituted a campaign of cultural genocide, attempting to wipe all vestiges of Tibetan tradition off the map.

Taiwan, on the other hand, is of Chinese heritage.  But, in a manner reminiscent of the American South in 1861, Taiwan formed a government of its own, as democratic forces under Chiang Kai Shek fled the mainland, escaping Mao’s Communists during the Chinese Civil War.  The small island became the “Republic of China” in 1950.

When the United Nations was formed, and the Security Council set up with five permanent members, all victors in World War II, Taiwan held the Chinese seat, and did so until 1972, siding consistently with the United States in most issues before the council.  The seat was then stupidly given to mainland China, while the Nixon administration did nothing to stop it.  China, Kissinger said, must be brought in from the cold. 

Taiwan left the U.N. in protest and now does not possess sovereignty, with no U.N. recognition and no American embassy.  The U.S. maintains a “One China” policy but also vows, via treaty, to defend Taiwan against Chinese aggression and sell them weapons for their defense.  Someone figure this one out!

Mainland China has continued to threaten the autonomy of Taiwan, particularly over the issue of its independence.  As of now China has hundreds of missiles pointed at the island, which they fire over its airspace any time a Taiwanese election is held, to intimidate any and all for voting for pro-independence parties.  The Communist superpower also practices amphibious invasion techniques in the hopes of one day reclaiming what they regard as a long lost province.

The Bush policy toward China, like many of his predecessors, has been, in a word, disgraceful.  He has placed the Almighty Dollar ahead of his own idealism.  Either afraid to confront China militarily, or out of fear of losing the so-called Chinese market, Bush turns a blind eye toward an abysmal human rights record.

The Chinese government carries out forced abortions and sterilizations, censorship on a massive scale, including suppression of most forms of religious expression, executes over 10,000 prisoners a year with little or no due process rights, and engages in shameful organ harvesting.  These organs are taken, without consent, from prisoners who have died or been executed.  This is particularly disturbing when you take into account the fact that in Chinese culture you must enter the afterlife whole.  So the government is, in effect, damning these people in the spirit world.

And let’s not forget the brutal crackdown on peaceful demonstrators in 1989 in Tiananmen Square, where thousands of protesters were murdered, some brutally.  The first Bush administration threatened sanctions, namely trade restrictions, but after some Chinese sweet talk, predictably backed down.

Yet the United States continues to trade and borrow heavily from China.  Our markets are wide open to Chinese products, even those found to be poisonous, while U.S. products are not given the same liberty.  China continues to manipulate its currency to keep their products cheap.  There are no rights for workers, no health, safety, and labor standards, or any environmental regulations.  Products made in China are, in many cases, the work of virtual slaves, some making only pennies an hour.  Yet there has been no serious condemnation from President Bush.

And now with Chinese aggression front and center, President Bush will not even commit to a simple protest like the proposed boycott of the opening ceremony but plans to attend in person.  Young democracies around the world must feel some comfort in this display.

In making such strong statements in an inaugural address, President Bush was committing the nation to an enormous undertaking, one true conservatives do not support. 

I am not advocating Bush’s Doctrine or that we invade China over Tibet or Taiwan, but if the President of the United States is going to set forth a foreign policy of advancing the spread of democracy around the globe at least he should act like he means it by some small measure of protest.

But with China, we see more empty rhetoric.  The Bush policy seems to be that if you are a small country we can easily obliterate, then you must obey our dictates but if you might give us problems, militarily or economically, then we will let you do as you will and our policy does not apply.  This is madness.  Either follow your own policy or dump it!  And I would prefer we dump it.

Bush would have done better for himself by molding his foreign policy after one of his less-famous predecessors, John Quincy Adams:

“Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be.  But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.  She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all.  She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.”

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Iraq vs. Vietnam


This week President Bush put forth his new approach to deal with a truly deteriorating situation in Iraq. His plan, for the most part as I see it, is simply an increase in U.S. troop presence by 21,500, most of which will be deployed in and around Baghdad. In the tactful, PC language of the White House it’s called a “surge,” not reinforcements. Yet more troops do not equal a new direction and I see nothing here that will change anything in Iraq.

Now I know that most Americans, and the vast majority in Washington, especially Republicans, do not want to hear any comparisons of Iraq to Vietnam, but as a historian I see it very clearly. We are making the exact same mistakes in Iraq today that we made in Vietnam in the 1960’s and, sadly, Bush is looking more and more like another Lyndon Johnson.

When seeking to engage in nation-building, as we are doing now in Iraq and attempted to do in South Vietnam, clear goals must be established and the will to carry out those efforts must be present, particularly when dealing with a hostile enemy, as we are with insurgents in Iraq today and as we were with North Vietnam and Viet Cong guerillas in Southeast Asia a generation ago.

In considering Vietnam, there were really only two options for the United States. One was to completely obliterate North Vietnam, turning Hanoi in to a giant parking lot, or as General Lemay said, “Bomb ‘em back to the Stone Age!” Having done this first option, we would not have needed the second. This possible second option was to build a viable, sustaining, self-sufficient nation in South Vietnam, in which the first option would not be needed. Doing both would have been okay too, but what did the United States do in Vietnam? Half of both! We fought a war against North Vietnam with one hand tied behind our backs, complete with bombing restrictions and no serious thought of invading across the DMZ to destroy the enemy on their own ground or to take out their sanctuaries in Laos and Cambodia (This one sounds very familiar!). We also made half efforts to create a viable South Vietnamese republic. Now I realize we were not getting much help from either President Diem or his successor Nguyen Van Thieu in Saigon, only corrupt regimes, but we were not putting serious pressures on them either, such as insisting on meaningful land reform for the nation’s peasants, which many point to as a huge mistake. South Vietnam never did exhibit the kind of nationalism that was present in North Vietnam, so therefore, the people had no country in which to fight for. It was only a geographic entity, not a sovereign nation loved by its people. No one was ready to die for the Republic of South Vietnam.

The United States, and its allies, made a similar mistake after World War I, in which, as some would say, we stuck our nose where it did not belong. Germany was beaten when she surrendered to Allied forces in November 1918, yet she was not totally destroyed. Britain and France, particularly the latter, wanted to complete the job, even dismember the unified German nation into several smaller chunks, thinking a divided Reich would no longer be a threat. President Wilson and the U.S. opposed that plan but sought to bring Germany back into the family of nations. So, here we were, with the same two options and what happened? A middle ground was agreed upon in which Germany was punished just enough to be humiliated but yet left strong enough to seek revenge at another time, and we all know how that story ended.

I see a similar situation in Iraq today, doing half of both nation-building options. More troops will mean nothing without a new direction. Now our government has given the Maliki government some deadlines, mostly in regards to security, that they must meet, or, presumably, else. These, if they are insisted upon, would be a good start, something we did not insist upon in Saigon. But what happens if they don’t meet them? Do we just simply leave? That would have disastrous consequences. And, though we seem to be talking a tougher game with Iran and Syria, getting a stranglehold on those two is long over due! Why we have allowed Iran to fund and supply suicide bombers who have killed our troops and not retaliated against them is beyond me. Iran and Syria represent the Laos and Cambodia of this war. Let’s not make the same mistake twice.

Sadly, we did not go into Iraq with enough troops, in my opinion, and we momentarily lost control of the situation in the days after Saddam’s regime fell, allowing foreign fighters (i.e. Viet Cong) to infiltrate into the public and wage a guerilla war against us, killing tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians as well. We seem to be engaged in a police action in Iraq, not a war, and we all know those never work. Iraqis must police themselves. If a “surge” is the answer, fine but let’s use our troops much more aggressively and wage war to completely destroy the insurgents and their foreign support nations, whoever they may be, not police a young nation that needs to stand on its own two feet. In addition, we should heavily pressure the Iraqi government to get with the program and to encourage the Iraqi people to rise up and fight for their own country, without which I do not see how the violence will ever end and we can finally come home with a complete victory.

“The Path to 9/11”


On the fifth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, ABC released a controversial movie detailing what I would describe as government failures that led to the worst terrorist strike on American soil. The film began with the first attempt by Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda to destroy the World Trade Center in 1993, in the early days of Bill Clinton’s first term. The lengthy film detailed the sheer cowardice and incompetence of the Clinton Administration toward Islamic terrorism. Though it happened on Bush’s watch, as liberals are quick to point out, he hasn’t dithered the way Clinton did. Yet some of what happened in the aftermath can be blamed on Bush.

In the weeks after the tragedy, the federal government went into damage control. Who was really to blame? The intelligence community? Airport security? As you will recall, it was a little of the first and a lot of the second! The government eventually spent billions beefing up security at airports by taking over the job themselves, which has led to a much greater degree of harassment of honest Americans, all because we won’t profile the ones who are trying to blow up planes to begin with!

Blame for the disaster that occurred on September 11, 2001 ultimately rests in two areas. First, as the film accurately portrayed, the Clinton Administration bears most of the responsibility for it. Time after time we had chances to get bin Laden, and for whatever reason, namely cowardice, chose not to do so. Bill Clinton is a prefect example of what happens when you elect an unqualified bungler to be president. We must not have learned our lesson with Jimmy Carter! And, for some strange reason, we elected this guy twice!

Clinton came into office at a time when many liberals, including Bill and Hillary, believed we were moving into a new area. The Cold War was over, we were told. There was no need for maintaining a strong military force, which Carter had torn down and Reagan had re-built, which won the Cold War by the way! We needed to focus on domestic policy, namely the economy, they told us. As we heard over and over again – “It’s the economy, stupid!”

As part of his grand plan, Clinton proceeded to cut the military in half, citing no new threats, despite conservative pleas. But there was an emerging threat; Clinton just did not want to see it. Attacks on the World Trade Center, on our troops in Somalia, the Khobar Towers in Saudia Arabia, two U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, and the U.S.S. Cole, which killed 17 sailors, littered Clinton’s presidency. Yet the only one he retaliated for, as Ann Coulter has recently pointed out, was for the embassy bombings, which happened to coincide with the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Now that we are in a global war on terror, we’ve heard much talk, amazingly much of it from liberals, that our military is stretched too thin. Now who was it that thought we needed to cut it in half because we wouldn’t need a large force?

Secondly, and this has not been given much press, our worse tragedy was not a security problem but an immigration one. The majority of the 19 hijackers were in this country illegally, as their visas had expired. Our immigration system is so incompetent that we simply have no idea who is in the country at any given time. Yet the tragedy happened, but instead of trying to fix these problems, immediately one would think, we have, five years later, done NOTHING to change our immigration laws, restrict Arab entry, or seal our southern border with Mexico, where Islamic terrorists have been slipping into this nation to conduct operations against us. If that’s not the height of stupidity, I don’t know what is! President Bush has failed us miserably in this crucial area.

Finally, my fellow citizens, we must recognize that we are in a war, not just against terrorism, but we are in a war of civilizations. We better recognize soon that we are in a religious war. These Islamic terrorists, like al-Qaeda, certainly recognize that. We do not but we must. We must end our politically correct policies, stop fighting a “sensitive” war, and do what we must to destroy our enemies and bring this war to a swift conclusion. Just this week our military leaders decided not to strike a target with more than 100 Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, possibly including some their leadership, because it was determined that it might be a funeral service they were attending. Outrageous! Our leadership has told us that we must prepare for a war that might last decades. With decisions like this, I can see why!

The Real Lessons of Vietnam


Since 1975, in any engagement involving the U.S. military, particularly major wars such as Desert Storm, Afghanistan, and Operation Iraqi Freedom, liberals have warned of the possibility of getting into “another Vietnam.” We hear it all day, every day. Yet the real lessons of the Vietnam War have yet to be learned. And as we speak, our nation is committing the same blunders in the Middle East that we did in Southeast Asia 40 years ago. For the record, I am not arguing that Iraq was a mistake or that we should pull out now, but three major lessons of Vietnam are of particular interest in our present situation.

Lesson # 1 – Know Your Enemy. Sun Tzu taught this valuable lesson more than 2,000 years ago. “If you know yourself and not the enemy,” he wrote, “for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat.” We made countless blunders in Vietnam because we did not know our enemy and we did not understand Vietnamese culture.

For starters there were very few Asian experts in the State Department, so very little guidance could be provided to U.S. policy makers. By contrast, experts on Japan provided much needed information during the Second World War. Had a few of these analysts been around in the 1960’s, crucial mistakes might have been averted. One example occurred early in the American phase of the war. In order to attempt to separate rural Vietnamese peasants from Viet Cong insurgents, the Strategic Hamlet Program was initiated. Villagers would be relocated from their homes to fortified settlements. The problem was that these villages, most of them ancient, are a major part of Vietnamese culture. Ancestors dating back generations are buried there, a belief that they will bless and watch over the land, making it fruitful. Having been to Vietnam on three separate occasions, I have seen this culture first hand.  Forced relocations from ancestral lands caused massive resistance among the Vietnamese people and pushed many villagers to join the Viet Cong.

In addition, the Vietnamese are a very martial people, a fact that most at the time did not know or understand. They fought a war for independence against the Chinese for 1,000 years! These people do not give up nearly as easily as the Johnson Administration believed they would after a few days of Rolling Thunder. These are just a few of many examples that could be cited.

Today in the Middle East, we seem unwilling to admit who we are fighting and why they make war on us. The standard line we’ve been getting since September 11, 2001 is that Osama Bin Laden and his Al Qaeda network are fighting the United States because of our way of life, a culture Muslims despise. But this is far from accurate. Bin Laden and his ilk could care less what we do over here. It’s what we do over there that has them upset. Bin Laden issued a declaration of war against the United States in 1996. There is not one word in it that even remotely suggests he is upset with our lifestyle here at home. But he did state unequivocally that he is angry with the presence of American troops on the sacred soil of the Arabian Peninsula and continued U.S. support for Israel against the Palestinians. Muslim extremists like Bin Laden also fear that the United States is exporting American culture to the Islamic world, thereby poisoning the Muslim way of life.

Al Qaeda is fighting a religious war against us and we refuse to recognize it. Though I am not suggesting this course of action, in theory, should the U.S. pull out of the Middle East totally, our terrorist problems would disappear. But as long as “American infidels” are engaged in the Middle East, I’m sad to report, Islamic extremists will never stop fighting us.

Lesson # 2 – If You Must Use Military Power, Then Use It Decisively. During the Vietnam War the politicians did not want to use the full weight of the U.S. military against our Vietnamese enemies. We did not use strategic bombing like we did in the Second World War. We never launched an invasion of North Vietnam. We did not seriously attempt to stop the use of Cambodia and Laos as Viet Cong and NVA bases. We were much more concerned with not losing the war than we were on actually winning it. No plan for victory existed anywhere. Now let me be very clear about one thing: American military forces performed superbly in Vietnam, winning every battle. And U.S. forces have been spectacular in the fields of the Middle East. However they are being limited by politicians just as they were 40 years ago.

First, we did not use nearly enough force in Iraq. Turkey should have been punished severely for not allowing us to use their territory to invade with the 4th Infantry Division from the north. More troops on the battlefield would have allowed us to seal the country and keep foreign fighters from pouring into Iraq from Iran and Syria. This was a huge blunder and everyone knows it.

Secondly, we don’t seem to want to get aggressive enough with the insurgency. The job of a military force is to kill the enemy. Period. But what are we currently arguing about? Giving our enemies, those who want to see us dead, the right to use American courtrooms! And worrying that some terrorist thug was humiliated by having to wear underwear on his head! What insanity! The insurgency seems now to be getting stronger not weaker. But yet some of our leaders have stated recently that it is nearly at an end. Funny, didn’t the Johnson Administration say the same thing in late 1967, just before the Tet Offensive?

Lesson # 3 – A Divided Homefront Gives Aid And Comfort To The Enemy. If we should have learned anything from the Vietnam experience it should be this. There is ample evidence that the North Vietnamese did not believe they could continue fighting the United States while suffering the massive casualties inflicted upon them. They are a martial people, to be sure, but they had never taken the kind of beating dished out by the U.S. military machine. But what kept them going was watching American society tear itself apart over the war. Seeing massive protests, dissident congressional leaders, and even violence gave hope to Hanoi that if they just held out longer, the United States would be forced to quit. It was protracted war at its finest. But had we maintained a united front at home, things might have turned out differently.

The American public has been divided over the war in Iraq since it began. And it seems as if every week we get more dangerously subversive rhetoric from congressional Democrats. Fanatical liberals, like Ted Kennedy, Dick Durbin, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi, constantly call the commander-in-chief a liar, compare our troops to Nazis, scream for Rumsfeld to resign, say the war in Iraq is lost, and the list goes on. This kind of behavior is damaging to troop morale and gives aid and comfort to our enemies. Excuse me for asking, but is this not treason in a time of war? Can you imagine if we had had this kind of dissent during World War II? This kind of behavior is irresponsible, inexcusable, and borderline treason. You may hate the war, but once troops are in the field they should be given our full support.

These are just a few of the many lessons drawn from the Vietnam War, but probably the most relevant to our current situation today. But until these lessons are finally learned and never again repeated, the long shadow of Vietnam will continue to hang over our nation.