More Bush Doctrine Fallout

You remember the Cox Committee, don’t you? It was a bipartisan commission established by Congress in 1998 to look into how a billion or so rice-farmers – aka, the People’s Republic of China – had managed to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles as well as small thermonuclear warheads, spy satellites and communication satellites to fit atop them.

The Cox Committee concluded – somewhat hysterically – that either American traitors had given our technological Crown Jewels to the rice-farmers or that Chinese moles had stolen them from us. It never occurred to Cox that the PRC was a rapidly developing technological giant, capable of developing many of those hi-tech things themselves.

Now, five years later, comes the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission – a bipartisan Commission established by Congress in 2000 “to investigate, analyze and provide recommendations to Congress on the economic and national security implications of the U.S.-China relationship.”

The Commission has concluded that – among other things – “a number of the current trends in U.S.-China relations have negative implications for our long-term economic and national security interests.”

The Commission doesn’t allege that the “negative implications” for our national security result from continuing activity by American traitors and/or Chinese moles.

But neither does the Commission admit that negative national security implications largely resulted from the insanity known as Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Without question, the impending preemptive attack on Iraq – allegedly to disarm Saddam of the nukes and/or nuke programs which the International Atomic Energy Agency had certified him not to have – was the cause of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (a) withdrawing from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, (b) ejecting the IAEA inspectors who had all DPRK plutonium production reactors, associated facilities and materials under IAEA lock and seal, and then (c) beginning the recovery of enough weapons-grade plutonium from the reactor’s spent fuel to make a half-dozen nukes.

The actual invasion of Iraq may have been a “cakewalk,” but it is obvious to every interested observer – most especially the Chinese – that our armed forces are now effectively tied up in the Persian Gulf and will be for years to come. There is essentially nothing we can do about DPRK’s nukes – except bluster.

If something is to be done, it will be up to China to do it, and it is not clear that China – whose “volunteers” fought our “policemen” to a standstill in what we call the Korean War – is convinced that anything needs to be done.

As the Commission puts it:

“The United States has placed great faith in China’s ability to move North Korea toward renouncing its nuclear weapons programs. The U.S.-China working relationship to defuse this crisis has been lauded as an essential component in bilateral relations, one that appears to trump other areas of U.S. concern.”

What might those “other areas of U.S. concern” be?

Well, there’s Formosa, aka, Taiwan.

Occupied first by the Portugese (Formosa), then by the Japanese (Taiwan), it is an island located about 120 miles from the Mainland. Chiang Kai-shek and his Nationalist entourage fled there in 1950 to escape the victorious Communists, imposing a virtual dictatorship on the people living there.

Chiang claimed there was but one China, and he was President-in-exile of it. Chairman Mao also claimed there was but one China, that Taiwan was a merely a province and when the time was ripe, he would come to Taiwan, arrest Chiang and his entourage, liberate the people – mostly Chinese – Chiang had enslaved and bestow on them the benefits of Communism.

Perhaps coincidentally, the North Koreans invaded the South in 1950, and we soon found ourselves fighting “hordes” of Chinese “volunteers.” So, for more than 50 years, the U.S. 7th Fleet has been steaming back and forth in the straits of the Western Pacific, effectively deterring the Communists from annexing either Taiwan or South Korea.

Now, we are shifting our deterrent to the oil-rich Persian Gulf and it has become obvious that we are no longer in a position to effectively oppose whatever “realignments” the PRC may wish to make vis a vis Taiwan or Korea.

Here’s the way the Commission put it:

“Congress and the administration should conduct a fresh assessment of the one China policy – given the changing realities in China and Taiwan – including the policy’s successes, failures, and continued viability [and] whether changes may be needed in the way the United States government coordinates its defense assistance to Taiwan.”

Oh, well. Our ships haven’t been allowed to make port at Kaohsiung – a great “liberty” town – since Carter was President, anyway.

Author: Gordon Prather

Physicist James Gordon Prather has served as a policy implementing official for national security-related technical matters in the Federal Energy Agency, the Energy Research and Development Administration, the Department of Energy, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Department of the Army. Dr. Prather also served as legislative assistant for national security affairs to U.S. Sen. Henry Bellmon, R-Okla. -- ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee and member of the Senate Energy Committee and Appropriations Committee. Dr. Prather had earlier worked as a nuclear weapons physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico.