by Justin Raimondo
BUCHANAN ON CHINA
We received a very interesting letter from Shaoyan Zhang, of Toronto, Canada, and it is worth printing here in full because it raises some vital questions for conservative opponents of this war:
"Your site has always been my favorite. I frequent it every day. But your recent article from Patrick J. Buchanan on May 28, 1999 is annoying to me. I think it is not suitable for a site named 'antiwar.com.' In his article, he implied that [the] U.S. should bomb China (actually they did) instead of FRY. First, I would say that no war is wanted, just or humanitarian, even though it is a defensive one. Only a defensive war like the one [the] Vietnamese fought, and the ones the Iraqis and Serbians are fighting can be said to be justified. According to Mr. Buchanan's point, one nation like the US can initiate war based on their imaginary or suspected threat from another nation like China. This is wrong. If he feels [the] US should bomb China, then he is no different from Clinton. I hope you editors would keep this site as a site which would endeavor to promote peace not hostility."
ZINGED BY ZHANG
Of course, Mr. Zhang is right. While Buchanan and the congressional Republicans are (correctly) saying that the war over Kosovo is a civil war within a sovereign nation, a strictly European affair that is none of our business, and a potential quagmire not worth the life of a single American soldier, when it comes to China these same people are the loudest warmongers on the block. Somehow, we are supposed to believe that, while the United States should not involve itself in a civil war in Yugoslavia, it is perfectly okay to intervene in China's ongoing civil war between the mainland and the breakaway province of Taiwan. The inconsistency is breathtaking.
THE RIGHT WAR?
Buchanan writes: "Kosovo was the wrong war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time, with the wrong enemy." Apparently, he has another war in mind, presumably at the right place, the right time, and with the right enemy China. "If any nation is a potential threat to the United States, it is that mighty tyranny in Asia that persecutes Christians, robs our nuclear secrets, threatens Taiwan with missiles and targets our cities with atomic weapons." How could someone who inveighs so eloquently and passionately against the architects of a "New World Order" utter such rubbish? It is one of the great mysteries. I have been exuberantly celebrating the apparent conversion of the Republican right to an isolationist position in foreign affairs, all the time overlooking the rising chorus on the Right for war with China. With the explosive news of an alleged Chinese "spy ring" responsible for stealing US nuclear secrets, the hysteria on the Right has reached the point where it even seeps into their agitation against the war in Yugoslavia. Not this war, but this war over here, is what the new "Asia-lationism" amounts to a confusing argument that falls under the sheer weight of its contradictions.
PAT ROBERTSON IN CHINA
When Buchanan accompanied President Nixon to China, and effectively sealed an alliance with Beijing against the Soviet Union, Christianity was completely outlawed in China: it was the height of the "Cultural Revolution" when Red Guards were stamping out all vestiges of religion, and thousands of Christian (and non-Christian) martyrs died for their religion at the hands of Mao's mobs. Back then, we did not hear anything from Buchanan about the suffering of Chinese Christians. How ironic that today, when religious organizations in China operate with much more freedom than at any time since the Communist revolution, he chooses to make an issue of it. Today, the Christian Broadcasting Network regularly buys time on Chinese television and millions tune in to Pat Robertson's "700 Club" unthinkable during the Maoist era. While the Chinese government requires all religious organizations to register with the state authorities, this is a long way from martyrdom.
FREE WEN HUN LO!
As for Buchanan's hysterical rhetoric about China "robbing our nuclear secrets," this is complete hogwash. The central figure in this alleged "spy scandal" is a hapless Chinese-American scientist, Wen Hun Lo, who stands accused of transferring vital nuclear secrets to the Chinese military. The accusations were made public months ago, Mr. Lo was widely characterized in the right-wing press as "the worst case of espionage since the Rosenbergs," and a report has been issued by the Cox committee in which a pervasive pattern of Chinese espionage has been alleged and they still haven't arrested Wen Hun Lo. Why not? Because, at least up until this point in time, you need evidence that a crime has been committed before you can put someone in jail, and apparently that is the one thing lacking in this case. Wen Hun Lo has been charged with no crime, yet he is being deprived of his work and his good name. With the recent bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, Chinese the world over will be forgiven if they somehow perceive a rising tide of Sinophobia sweeping the U.S. Will the loyalty of all Chinese-Americans now be questioned? Do they seriously propose to monitor the activities of all Chinese-American scientists currently working on military projects for the US government and its satellites in academia? The ethnic cleansing of America's scientific community would devastate defense research. How will the ethnic cleansers fill all those empty desks with affirmative action hires?
Mr. Zhang, my sympathies are obviously with you, but I must disagree with your statement that the Buchanan article we posted "is not suitable for a site named 'antiwar.com.'" The main body of the piece argued cogently and brilliantly against US intervention in the Balkans, which is why we not only ran it but also made it that day's spotlight article. The editors and staff of Antiwar.com do not often agree with all of the points made by authors linked or otherwise featured on this site. At a time when the main struggle against war is taking place over the US/NATO intervention in the Balkans, the chief political criteria for posting articles on this site is opposition to this war. Other pieces are presented for purely informational purposes. Literary quality is an important factor: we will often post an article that is questionable politically but nonetheless very readable. Looking at the front page of Antiwar.com on any one day is not likely to give the casual browser a clue as to the politics of the editors except that they oppose US intervention all over the world, and especially in the former Yugoslavia. Only by consulting this War Diary, or signed editorials, will our readers discover that we are libertarians, that we are active in the Republican party, and that we place ourselves squarely in the Old Right tradition of the America First Committee and the 'isolationists' of yore.
I have been warning that Montenegro could be the flashpoint that could spark a ground war, and the news of a confrontation between Serbian police and the Montenegrin militia makes this mountainous mini-state the likeliest site of a cross-border "incident." In the village of Cetinje, a full-scale confrontation between local and federal authorities is fast coming to a showdown, with local residents split between Montenegrin separatists and FRY loyalists. How long before the pro-Western government of Montenegro implores NATO to intervene?
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
There have been rumblings from the World Court and even the formidable Louise Arbour that NATO could be prosecuted for war crimes if their "accident" rate continues to soar. Don't you believe it. At the regular morning briefing, NATO mouthpiece Jamie Shea was asked "what will happen if NATO is brought before the International Tribunal?" His answer: "As you know without the NATO countries there would be no International Court of Justice, nor would there be any International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia because NATO countries are in the forefront of those who have established these two tribunals, who fund these tribunals and who support on a daily basis their activities." Translation: He who pays the piper calls the tune. Let Louise just try it, and she'll find her office padlocked, one morning, and herself on a plane back to Canada so fast her head will spin.
EAT, DRINK, AND BE MERRY
A report from the Ottawa Citizen cites Scott Taylor, the editor of Espirit de Corps, a military magazine, who says: "The crowd here, it's so surreal. It's so festive, it is unbelievable." Bombs are falling, and so are people's inhibitions: "The stores are full, the cafes are full, there are couples making out in the park," said Taylor in a telephone interview from Belgrade. And why shouldn't couples continue to make out in the park, especially when the bombs are falling? This, too, is a kind of defiance, the triumph of life over death, of Tristan and Isolde over Madeleine Albright and Jamie Shea. An even greater triumph is the apparent disdain for death that, in the end, may prove to be the secret weapon that will save the Serbians from conquest and occupation: "When the sirens go off," says Taylor, "nobody moves. Nobody runs for shelter. It's fatalistic. It's like a lottery ticket."
FREE SCHOLARSHIPS FOR STUDENTS
I have six scholarships for student activists available for the upcoming Left-Right Conference Against the War, to be held June 12, in San Mateo. The registration fee is normally $89 for adults, and $25 for students, but contributions have made it possible for us to sponsor six students of high school or college age. Two are already taken, but we have room for four more. If you are a student (and can prove it) and want to apply just email me, telling me a little about yourself and why you want to come. You'll have to pay your own way to the conference, but once you get there we'll let you in for free. High school students are especially welcome.
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Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of Antiwar.com. He is also the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement (with an Introduction by Patrick J. Buchanan), (1993), and Into the Bosnian Quagmire: The Case Against US Intervention in the Balkans (1996). He is an Adjunct Scholar with the Ludwig von Mises Institute, in Auburn, Alabama, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Libertarian Studies, and writes frequently for Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (forthcoming from Prometheus Books).