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August 11, 2005

Nuclear China Good, Nuclear Iran Bad?


by Paul Craig Roberts

What I have noticed about conservatives and Republicans is that they are no longer conservative and Republican. They believe in the efficacy of force. If we are losing in Iraq, it is because we are not using enough force. All we have to do to win in Iraq, they maintain, is to nuke the towel-heads. In case you have forgotten, Rich Lowry, editor of National Review, suggested that the United States nuke Mecca in retaliation for a terrorist attack.

Conservative Ann Coulter was more mild, no doubt due to her feminine nature. Her solution to Islam was to "invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity."

Determined to win, conservatives and Republicans are willing to nuke Iraq. Precisely what they would be winning, they cannot identify. But they believe that with sufficient force, America can teach those on the receiving end a lesson and make them do what the Bush administration wants. That is the extent of the brainpower that conservatives and Republicans bring to war and diplomacy.

Conservatives and Republicans used to be people who thought it was America's business to avoid wars and to govern well at home. It was Democrats who involved us in wars – World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam all started under Democratic presidents.

Governing well at home meant being suspicious of government power, not giving government carte blanche with Orwellian legislation called "the Patriot Act." I can remember when conservatives and Republicans would have gone berserk if Democrats had identified patriotism with the police state legislation called "the Patriot Act."

You can't learn a word of this from right-wing talk radio or Fox "News." According to these warmongering propagandists, Democrats (read Jane Fonda and John Kerry) are squishy pacifists who want the commies to take over the world. Democrats always run away once a shot is fired, say the right-wing crazies, and believe terrorists are people who had bad childhoods.

As a result of the influence of Israel's neoconservative supporters and evangelicals expecting The Rapture, conservatives and Republicans are focused on the Middle East. They are apoplectic over Iran's nuclear power program. If Iran has a nuclear power program, Iran might be able to produce a nuclear weapon in 10 years. Vice President Cheney has ordered a plan for the United States to use tactical nuclear weapons to take out Iran's capability should an excuse arise.

That would be the third Islamic country the United States would have attacked in as many years. All hell would break loose. Meanwhile, the chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has announced that the commission will approve Westinghouse's sale of two nuclear reactors to China.

Conservatives and Republicans think this is a good idea. Vice President Cheney has lobbied in behalf of the sale. It is good for private business. It means $2.4 billion in revenues for Westinghouse Electric Company.

Iran will never again be a world power, even if it has a few nukes. Persia was a power in ancient times, not today. If we don't bother Iran, Iran won't bother us.

China is a different matter. China already is a world power. China holds enough U.S. government debt to have the dollar and U.S. interest rates in its hand. Last month in an official briefing, a top Chinese general, Zhu Chenghu, said that if the United States messes around with China or tries to interfere with China's reunification with Taiwan, China will nuke the United States: "If the Americans are determined to interfere, then we will be determined to respond. We Chinese will prepare ourselves for the destruction of all the cities east of Xian. Of course, the Americans will have to be prepared that hundreds of cities will be destroyed by the Chinese."

VP Cheney and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission want to make sure China has what it takes to do the job.

The moronic Bush administration is all concerned about "weapons of mass destruction" where they aren't, not where they are. Why in the world is the Bush administration using up the U.S. military and its weapons systems in Iraq, a country that was no threat whatsoever to the United States, while aiding and abetting China's rapidly growing economic and military power?

Having asked this question, I will receive 1,000 e-mails from Bush worshippers who will indignantly inquire why I am demonizing China. I am not demonizing China. I am simply asking a question about the intelligence of the Bush administration.

Bush's supporters, of course, are busy at work demonizing Middle Eastern states that have nothing but fanatical insurgents to ward off U.S. military attacks on their homelands.

The conservative movement has disappeared. The Republican Party has disappeared. The two have morphed into a brownshirt movement that worships coercion and a strutting little marionette who believes he can threaten peoples into submission.

Why does Cheney want to sell nuclear reactors to China, but order the U.S. Strategic Command to prepare to nuke Iran's nuclear power capability, a capability that would allow Iran to sell more oil to an energy-starved world?

What's going on here?


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    Paul Craig Roberts wrote the Kemp-Roth bill and was assistant secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was associate editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and contributing editor of National Review. He is author or co-author of eight books, including The Supply-Side Revolution (Harvard University Press). He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon chair in political economy, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and senior research fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He has contributed to numerous scholarly journals and testified before Congress on 30 occasions. He has been awarded the U.S. Treasury's Meritorious Service Award and the French Legion of Honor. He was a reviewer for the Journal of Political Economy under editor Robert Mundell.

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