High anxiety in the Taiwan Straits following
Republic of China (ROC) President Lee Teng-hui's "two nations"
challenge to the People's Republic of China raises the question: How
should patriotic Americans respond to the Taipei-Beijing confrontation?
answer is: Americans who revere our heritage of freedom and independence
must have the courage to defy 1990's political correctness and uphold
core American values by politely but firmly refusing to intervene,
regardless of one's sympathies.
George Washington stated in his Farewell Address of 1796: "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. . . . Tis our true policy to steer clear of permanent
Alliances, with any portion of the foreign World."
Washington's 18th century idioms into bumper sticker-ese: "trade
with either, side with neither."
the Taiwan Relations Act, which should have gone the way of the Berlin
Wall, is exactly the kind of pernicious "permanent Alliance"
with a "portion of the foreign World" the Father of our Country
urged us to steer clear of.
was hardly alone. His resolute opposition to foreign intervention was
shared by all the Founders. Neither he nor the other Founders intended
any exceptions to be made for Kosovo or Taiwan.
James Madison put it, "it has been the true glory of the United
States, in fulfilling their neutral obligations with the
most scrupulous impartiality . . . to maintain sincere neutrality toward
belligerent nations, and to exclude foreign intrigues and
foreign partialities." Thomas Jefferson concurred, declaring that
the foreign policy of a free society has to mean Peace, commerce,
and honest friendship, with all nations entangling alliances
with none." "Our first and fundamental maxim should be, never
to entangle ourselves in the broils of Europe." Ditto Asia.
John Quincy Adams, author of the Monroe Doctrine put it, "America...
does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is well-wisher
to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator
only of her own."
exactly were the Founding Fathers so unanimously and unambiguously opposed
to "proactively" exporting American values beyond our shores?
Did they not want liberty to prevail all over the world, not just in
America? What was their problem anyway? Were they too shortsighted or
selfish, as the nomenklatura of the New World Order seem to imply,
to understand the value of "making the world safe for democracy?"
answer to all these questions is a resounding "No."
The Founding Fathers were cultured cosmopolitans who devoutly hoped
that liberty would triumph the world over. And no, their foreign policy
prescriptions have not been rendered obsolete by jet travel and the
Internet, because their soundness was not predicated on specific technologies.
Rather, their strategic vision was grounded solidly in their grasp of
fundamental human nature, which has evolved little since 1796, however
we might wish otherwise.
Founders, powdered wigs and all, were infinitely more "hip"
than we give them credit for, and understood something our smug modern
politicians do not. They understood that to yield to the powerful temptation
to "do good" abroad carries an enormously expensive and hidden
price tag: the loss of our own liberty at home.
understood that "power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,"
that handing the political class the power they demand to impose "benevolent
global hegemony" on the rest of the world permits them to impose
a malevolent domestic dictatorship on Americans at home.
understood, as too many well-intentioned Americans today do not, that
once we compromise the safeguards against domestic tyranny written into
our own system of law, no matter how compelling the rationale, we will
rapidly cease to be the nation others once considered worth emulating.
We would instead soon resemble the very nations we so confidently set
out to "reform" and "enlighten."
Kai-shek's Taiwan, along with South Korea and West Germany, demonstrated
capitalism's clear superiority to socialism. Democratic reformer Chiang
Ching-kuo's Taiwan, which witnessed the repeal of martial law and the
enfranchisement of "native" Taiwanese, demonstrated that economic
reforms are the harbinger of political reforms.
Teng-hui's "New Taiwan" on the other hand, demonstrates that
"eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Lee Teng-hui
is a corrupt Marcos/Duvalier-style petty despot who has shredded Taiwan's
Constitution, modeled by ROC Founding Father Sun Yat-sen on our own
American Constitution. Acutely aware of China's susceptibility to backsliding
into de facto monarchy, Sun took the added precaution of dividing
the ROC government into five, not three branches. Not that it did any
good. Lee Teng-hui, whom Newsweek gullibly anointed "Mr.
Democracy," merely nullified all constitutional constraints on
his executive powers in four stages over nine years, including the power
of impeachment, and now simply does whatever he damned well pleases.
is an "elective monarch" who finances his personal dream of
a "Republic of Taiwan" with hapless Taiwan taxpayers' dollars,
even though the government's own surveys show that over 80% of the Taiwan
people oppose Taiwan independence. Lee's headline grabbing offer of
US$300 million in foreign aid to Kosovo was merely the latest in a string
of outrages. Lee consulted no one, not even the Legislative Yuan, Taiwan's
equivalent of our Congress, constitutionally charged with funding government.
three major broadcast television stations on Taiwan are owned by Lee
Teng-hui's KMT party machine. So are several of the Chinese and the
two leading English language newspapers. The pro-reunification opposition
is banished to cable TV or "outlaw" radio, where they survive
only if they do not criticize Mr. Democracy too harshly. A hilarious
and popular "McLaughlin Group"-style panel show called Dianfu
Xinwen ("Underground News") was forced off the air recently
for making Lee look like a buffoon.
Founders adamantly opposed foreign entanglements even when they harbored
no doubt whatever about the worthiness of foreign lobbyists' causes.
Try to imagine the vehemence of their opposition to so-called Taiwan
"independence" when the Taiwan separatist leadership's commitment
to America's republican ideals is more than a little suspect?
the "world's only remaining superpower," has troops stationed
in 144 foreign nations around the globe. Today the sun never sets on
the American Empire. Back home however, Posse Comitatus is a dead letter,
and the smart weapons used against Saddam and Milosevic to "make
the world safe for democracy" have been used to exterminate dissident
parishioners of a rural Texas Protestant sect, including two dozen unarmed
children. As John Quincy Adams warned, America has become "the
dictatress of the world" but is "no longer... the ruler of
her own spirit. Our Founding Fathers' worst fears have come true.
must summon up the backbone to resist the moral guilt-tripping of the
Gauleiters of the New World Order. We must uphold Madison's wise and
principled admonition to exclude "foreign intrigues and foreign
partialities" by staying the hell out of the ongoing Chinese Civil
War in the Taiwan Straits in 1999, just as China refrained from siding
with either the Union or the Confederacy during the American Civil War
a first generation naturalized American I am all too aware that my patriotism
is presumed suspect by many China-haters in Congress simply by virtue
of my race and my national origin. Never mind that I am from Taiwan
that didn't help Lee Wen-ho and currently live in Taipei.
Never mind that my parents live in Taiwan too. Never mind that, like
Joe Sobran and Jude Wanniski, I was a Cold Warrior slightly to the right
of Richard Nixon. I know by advocating policies which appear "soft
on communism" red flags (pun intended) will go up in the fevered
minds of China Threat theorists determined to "go abroad in search
of monsters to destroy."
could keep my mouth shut and my head down. But genuine patriotism demands
that Americans defend the ideals of our Founding Fathers, and speak
up for what is authentically American, and not meekly acquiesce, like
"good Germans" or "good Japanese" in the 1930's,
to the mainstream consensus while our nation continues its downward
slide into imperial decadence.
must have the guts to flatly reject any attempts by foreign lobbyists,
fellow travelers, and domestic politicians in the service or on the
payroll of either Taipei or Beijing to draw America into what Washington
termed "controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign
to our concerns. We must do so without hesitation and without
apology, because contrary to what is politically correct in 1999, unyielding
adherence to James Madison's "most scrupulous impartiality"
and "sincere neutrality" is the fullest and most genuine expression
of enduring American values. It is late in the day, but not too late
to save our republic.