It was mid-1982 and a Long Island businessman, a Mr. Stern, came to D.C. to see me in my Capitol Hill congressional office.
He came in and asked me to set up a meeting with the Red Chinese ambassador to the United States. In return, he said, he would make a "substantial – five-figure – charitable donation" to my pet cause, the POW issue.
As soon as he left, I called in my AA (administrative assistant) and my secretary and we dictated a 'Memorandum for the Record' of everything that had just occurred. Then, as I recall, we may also have called the FBI or the Capitol Hill police to inform them. (I think nothing ever came of this.)
But I did learn a very valuable lesson that is still applicable today: American businessmen will do
It is this thirst for cash that has been driving our foreign policy toward Beijing – and thusly toward Taiwan, too – ever since Richard Nixon first visited in February 1972. Then, the presidential concern was counterbalancing Moscow in the red-hot Cold War. But Nixon knew, too, that getting the Chinese economy hooked into the world economy could have a moderating influence on that country's militant communism.
Here is where Nixon might have been wrong: hooking up the then-weak Chinese economy with the world has enabled the natural and fantastic Chinese work ethic and innate business sense to flourish. Thus, 30 years later, the Chinese economy is growing exponentially. And the vast, vast majority of Chinese people spend their time trying to survive and get ahead – not on spewing hateful thoughts and comments toward America.
As San Diego radio talk show host – and annual Chinese visitor – Mark Larson told me yesterday, "Out of one billion, two hundred million Chinese, only 58 million are members of the Communist Party."
But here is the rub: The power and might of the Communist Party is fueled (and paid for) by the work and money earned by those 1.2 billion Chinese. And so is the ever-expanding Chinese military.
In other words, these ever-eager profiteers like Mr. Stern are inadvertently subsidizing Beijing's aggressive military, which someday will perhaps fight against us!
One of my best college pals today is the head of a major Wall Street investment bank. His firm does
I didn't want to fight that day. But inwardly I seethed. What is a "good guy"? Could a Chinese Communist who has risen to the top post be what we would call a "good guy"?
Remember back in the early eighties when Soviet watchers tried to calm us about the just-elevated Yuri Andopov, the former head of the KGB? They said, "Oh, he's OK. He speaks English and he loves American jazz."
Many Americans – especially well-educated ones – can be hopelessly naïve when it comes to measuring our potential enemies. All during the thirties many Big Shot businessmen ran to Berlin to make deals with Hitler. Did they, too, think he was a "good guy"?
These so-called good guys are usually cunning bastards who have risen to the top through guile, terror and murder.
The shame of it all is that our own gullible businessmen value profits over people.
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