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Tags: The | China | Syndrome

The China Syndrome II

Sunday, 08 April 2001 12:00 AM

So far that hasn't happened, but the sequel "China Syndrome II" should star friends of Jane Fonda, Bill and Hillary Clinton.

This movie could reveal how they engineered a meltdown of America's national security that burned a hole right through our country.

During the past eight years that I have been covering the national scene, I have consistently been amazed by the daze people seem to be in as the most dramatic developments have taken place.

Sometimes I wondered if anyone was paying attention. Did anyone care?

Much of my reporting directly covered the official corruption of the Clintons and their administration.

It was arguably the most corrupt administration in history, but that's not how the media played the story of the Clinton years.

Even the pardongate scandal – clear-cut evidence of the Clintons' treachery – seems to be fading by the day.

Still, I know that if we hide from truth, reality eventually does catch up with all of us.

With the Chinese hostage situation we are now witnessing this reality, a reality created by the Clintons and shaped by the major media.

China – our one-time "ally" – has been holding 24 American miliary personnel prisoner for over a week.

The current crisis is nothing more than a classic hostage situation.

Webster's defines a hostage as "a person held by one party in a conflict as a pledge that promises will be kept or terms met by the other party."

China has made public its terms: It will release the hostages if the United States issues an apology for the loss of the Chinese pilot and plane.

This demand may just be a negotiating chip, as the Chinese may really be seeking a private pledge from the U.S. not to sell Taiwan high-tech military equipment, including jets and destroyers.

While the hostage story has gotten press play – the major media couldn't very well ignore 24 Americans imprisoned in China – I am amazed how these media are subtly downplaying this incredible and dangerous situation.

CNN's Andrea Koppel, for example, took a feather from Dad's cap Sunday when she said this was clearly not a hostage situation because China was not demanding money.

Perhaps by this new Koppel standard, we haven't seen many hostage situations in the Mideast, since they usually involve terrorists "just" demanding the release of other terrorists or making some other non-monetary demand.

By downplaying the significance of the current situation, what is the game?

I am not so sure.

But one thing I know is that America remains complacent, and the major media are doing little to rouse Americans from their daze.

On Sunday, Tim Russert questioned Dick Cheney about the Chinese defense minister's statement that war with the U.S. is "inevitable."

Kudos to Russert. Except for Russert, this statement, now a year old, has only been reported in the Washington Times.

Why has the press ignored regular statements by Chinese officials and Chinese official news outlets that China is prepared to use nuclear weapons against the U.S. and her naval fleets?

The recent Chinese action should send chills down the spine. It should be a red alarm of the threat now posed by China. It is a threat compounded by the fact that China and Russia have formed a new axis to challenge the United States.

Both nations have talked openly of their new strategic and military partnership that has been strengthened by Bill Clinton's uncalled-for war in the Balkans.

For years we were told – justifiably – that by befriending China we would move them out of the Russian orbit and divide the communist world.

For a while that strategy worked, but policymakers never seemed to consider what would happen if Russia and China buried the hatchet, as they apparently have done. The country with the largest conventional army, China, is now married to the country with the largest nuclear arsenal, Russia.

China can act quite confidently now.

Republicans who think that Bush can easily make counterdemands to the Chinese should think again.

Thanks to Bill Clinton, the U.S. military has been emasculated, and our Navy and Air Force have been cut almost in half over the past eight years.

In fact, the hand Bush has been dealt by Clinton is significantly weaker than the one Jimmy Carter left Ronald Reagan in 1981.

China is also much, much stronger than it was 20 years ago. Reportedly, it has all of the nuclear weapons we have in our arsenal.

Thanks again to Bill Clinton, the Chinese also have our ballistic missile technology, allowing them to hit our cities with pinpoint accuracy.

Is China planning to go to war with the U.S. tomorrow?

I don't think so. Instead, this current hostage situation serves several purposes.

First, it's a dry run for the blackmail strategy China will likely employ when it makes its move on Taiwan in the next year or two. If America backs down now for 24 crew members, it will most undoubtedly do so when China threatens to hit Los Angeles with nuclear weapons as it seeks to secure Taiwan.

Second, the current hostage situation serves to embarrass the U.S. in front of its allies in Asia.

Impotent America will lose face and China knows this will weaken confidence in the U.S.'s security umbrella over Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and other Asian nations. The leaders of these nations will quietly understand that China, not America, dominates the region.

Bush is not in an enviable position.

He made a mistake by not agreeing to emergency funding for the Pentagon earlier this year. The best action he could take to deal with the current crisis is to go back to Congress and ask for more than double the amount in emergency defense funding. This will send the best message to China and our allies.

China knows that after eight years of Bill Clinton, it is in the catbird seat. The next couple of years will offer a window of opportunity to get Taiwan before Cheney and Rumsfeld rebuild American forces.

Surely, other enemies of the U.S. – among them Saddam, the Iranians, the Libyans and North Koreans – will also seek to take advantage of us during this period. We should pray that they don't do so simultaneously.

The current EP-3 incident should not be treated as some bump in the road – as the media are playing the story – but as a precursor of things to come.

Expect even more fireworks from China, perhaps right after monsoon season ends this August.

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So far that hasn't happened, but the sequel China Syndrome II should star friends of Jane Fonda, Bill and Hillary Clinton. This movie could reveal how they engineered a meltdown of America's national security that burned a hole right through our country. During the...
Sunday, 08 April 2001 12:00 AM
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