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 Tienanmen. 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 & 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