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Tags: China | Plane | Incident | Sparks | Re-election | Drives | Security-minded

China Plane Incident Sparks Re-election Drives of Security-minded Senators

Friday, 06 April 2001 12:00 AM

This is not to say that the reality has suddenly made Washington security conscious about the real intentions of the Chinese. But several influential voices are being heard reminding us that these are Communists, after all. Remember them? They engaged us in a Cold War for about half a century while they plotted to take over the world.

Fox News commentator Fred Barnes reminded us this past week that these people are not like a normal government. They are "Communist thugs," he said.

Frank Gaffney, who served as assistant secretary of defense under President Ronald Reagan, warned in an article in National Review Online that President Bush "should use this occasion to make clear to the American people that the PRC [People’s Republic of China] is acting in an increasingly belligerent manner.

"Mr. Bush needs to talk about these threats as well as his commitment to defend the American people, their forces overseas and their allies," he added.

All of this is serving to bolster the determination of security-minded conservatives within the Republican Party to roll up their sleeves and support the re-election drives of lawmakers who have stood up to the economic enticements offered by the Chinese and said, in so many words, that they are unwilling to be bribed into silence by the pro-China business lobby that sees nothing but dollar signs and is willing to convince itself that trade will tame the dragon.

That is not happening.

Looking ahead to next year's Senate campaign, where the Republicans will be fighting to hold on to or possibly add to their threadbare "control" of the Senate, made possible only by Vice President Dick Cheney's tie-breaking vote:

Foremost among the lawmakers up for re-election in 2002 who have taken a strong stand on Chinese aggression is Sen. James M. Inhofe, R-Okla.

Last year, he declared on the Senate floor that "we cannot allow the pursuit of dollars to blind us to certain realities" about China.

Among the realities cited by the senator were China's massive military modernization, its proliferation of dangerous weapons to rogue states, its theft of U.S. nuclear secrets, its exploitation of commercial relationships to acquire advanced military technology, its attempts to corrupt the U.S. political system, its violations of international agreements, and its brutal repression of dissidents.

"National security must take precedence over trade," Inhofe said before voting against Permanent Normal Trade Relations with Beijing, a legislative act he called "unconscionable."

First, he declared, we should require "some measure of permanent normalized international behavior as a prerequisite for permanent normal trade relations."

Oklahoma has been veering very much in a conservative direction in recent years. For four years, it even had an all-Republican congressional delegation. But that will not stop the pro-China lobby from targeting Inhofe as he gears up for a third term in the U.S. Senate.

He is favored neither by the pro-China Republicans nor the pro-China Democrats. Chief among the latter are those who defended the Clintons during their criminal activity.

About two years ago, Inhofe arose on the Senate floor to discuss what he called "a story of espionage, conspiracy, deception and cover-up; a story with life-and-death implications for millions of Americans; a story about national security and a president and an administration that deliberately chose to put national security at risk, while telling the people everything was fine."

Of course, he was talking about Chinagate, wherein he charged that "at the very time the Clinton administration knew of China's theft of nuclear secrets and the enhanced national security threat it posed, the president was dragging his feet on the investigation, soliciting Chinese-tainted campaign contributions," allowing China "to gain advanced missile guidance technology, ignoring China's missile help to North Korea and other countries, and misleading the American people about the threat posed by nuclear missiles in the modern world."

The Oklahoman said he was moved to "tell the truth about President Clinton because no one else will."

That statement in itself is significant. Can you imagine so many lawmakers afraid to speak out during the Rosenberg spy trials 50 years ago or the Alger Hiss case? Apparently money was not a factor then.

Inhofe described Chinagate as "more serious than Aldrich Ames, and perhaps more serious than the Rosenbergs."

Without blurting out the "T" word (treason), the senator asked, "Could President Clinton have been tried for impeachment for the wrong crime?"

"The truth will ultimately prevail," he said. Perhaps. But will it prevail in time to help Inhofe's re-election effort?

Security-minded activists are similarly rallying to next year's re-election effort of Sen. Robert C. Smith, R-N.H.

"The president should say forget about [China's hosting of] the [2008] Olympics," he told NewsMax.com. "And they can forget about [trade] too."

The trade issue comes up again in a couple of months when Congress gets to vote on whether China has lived up to its promise to join the World Trade Organization and subject itself to the rules of that international body.

There are those in this country who question whether the U.S. itself is surrendering too much of its own sovereignty by being in the WTO, but that is another issue.

Suffice it to say Congress will get another bite at the Chinese apple and Sen. Smith, you can be sure, will have much to say.

Last year the New England Republican was behind an effort to set up a commission to monitor China's behavior on a number of issues. Chief among them was the activity of the People's Liberation Army.

"Currently, the Chinese People's Liberation Army directly or indirectly owns scores of businesses," Smith declared on the Senate floor last Sept. 7. "They conduct commerce with U.S. companies. That includes the sale of products to U.S. consumers."

Smith would "simply require the FBI to monitor and report to Congress on the activities of the PLA's … businesses here in the United States. Specifically, they would take data collected by the DIA, CIA, Customs and other agencies and report their findings to Congress on the dollar amount of PLA revenues and where these revenues are being directed within the Chinese military."

In other words, the senator thought it would be interesting to learn to what extent American consumers are pouring money into China's military machine so she can build up her capability to wipe us off the map.

Reasonable, no? Unfortunately, many of Smith's colleagues do not share his curiosity.

And the pro-Chinese business lobby was not any more enthusiastic about the other Chinese activities proposed to be monitored by the senator's commission legislation. They include POW/MIA issues, forced abortions (no "choice" there), slave labor and organ harvesting.

The pro-China interests in this country will be targeting Smith as he faces re-election next year and possibly a tough primary challenge from Rep. John E. Sununu, R-N.H., namesake son of a top aide to the senior President George Bush.

Although Congressman Sununu sports a conservative voting record in the House, a search of his Web site failed to turn up anything specifically related to China.

Moreover, an effort by NewsMax.com to elicit a comment from him on the latest China situation was not acknowledged as of press time.

Smith supporters point out that there is a difference between being a conservative and being a conservative leader, which they say their man is.

He has been in the forefront of the gut issues – not only China, but also opposition to the Kyoto global warming treaty, gun rights, and opposition to sending Elian Gonzales back to Castro's police state.

If the senator survives the primary, he will be challenged by Gov. Jeanne Shaheen (D).

One more upcoming race that has attracted conservative attention does not involve China because it is a gubernatorial contest.

Mayor Bret Schundler of Jersey City is seeking the GOP nomination for governor of the Garden State in the June primary this year. New Jersey is one of two states electing its state officials in the odd-numbered years.

The young Schundler is the first Republican mayor of Jersey City since World War I. He has adopted a philosophy of what you might call "urban conservatism" to win over the large minority and ethnic population in that old bastion of big-city Democratic machine politics.

Schundler has been twice re-elected by overwhelming margins, despite the best efforts of the Hudson County Democrats to oust him.

He has also had to deal with roadblocks thrown in his path by former Republican governor Christine Todd Whitman, now EPA administrator here in Washington.

The Whitman machine believes the only way a Republican can win in New Jersey is to follow the basic outline of Democratic liberalism. Schundler told News.Max.com, "I would argue that the Republicans have done badly in recent New Jersey elections precisely because they didn't offer voters a real alternative."

Whitman has ignored Schundler's calls for school choice, undermining at every turn his programs to get poor children out of taxpayer-funded under-performing schools so they can learn and prepare for a better life.

When Schundler hired a private contractor to handle the city's garbage, Gov. Whitman went to Washington to persuade Congress to forbid him to do it and return to the state-sanctioned monopoly. It turned out that Schundler also had friends in Washington, and Whitman's effort failed.

To try to whip the mayor into line, the governor reduced state aid in other established programs, putting a crimp in the mayor's local tax-cutting efforts, although taxes in Jersey City remain lower than when he took office.

Mayor Schundler has won the fierce loyalty of the overwhelming majority of his constituents, largely through self-help programs aimed at bettering their lives through the free enterprise system.

Schundler's opponent in the June primary is acting Gov. Donald DiFrancesco, the Senate president who took over when Whitman left. He is rather low key and sports a "nice guy" image, but has been caught in a couple of "conflict of interest" embarrassments and has been roundly criticized by the mayor for his failure to veto tax increases when he had the chance to do so.

If Schundler is successful in this effort, it definitely will strengthen President Bush's right flank, and will shatter cherished myths of what Republicans need to do to get elected in the Northeast.

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This is not to say that the reality has suddenly made Washington security conscious about the real intentions of the Chinese. But several influential voices are being heard reminding us that these are Communists, after all. Remember them? They engaged us in a Cold War for...
Friday, 06 April 2001 12:00 AM
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