Sunday, April 23, 2006

Dianne Feinstein on Taiwan

From time to time people drop by here and ask me if it bothers me that so many of my allies on Taiwan are political conservatives. And my considered answer is that it bothers me not one whit. What bothers me is not that conservatives are right, but that liberals and progressives are so very, very wrong when it comes to Taiwan.

Take Dianne Feinstein for example. Feinstein spoke on Thursday at a meeting of the Committee of 100, an invitation-only club of influential Asian-Americans. According to one news report, Feinstein ripped Taiwan:

Feinstein, who in 1979 as mayor of San Francisco brokered a sister-city relationship between San Francisco and Shanghai, blasted Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian in her speech. Chen, she said, has taken what she characterized as a provocative and belligerent stance toward mainland China, all for his personal political gain, in hopes that he can be hailed as the savior who stands up to Communist China.

Feinstein is merely regurgitating Communist Chinese agitprop. It's sad enough when some freelance stringer for one of the major news organizations does it, but it is both despicable and pathetic when a US Senator chooses to call a US ally "belligerent." Feinstein has long shilled for China -- as the National Review pointed out several years ago when Feinstein was first mentioned as possible Vice Presidential candidate for Al Gore, and her husband Richard Blum is a major investor there:

In 1986, Feinstein and Jiang teamed up to create corporations that would encourage business between San Francisco and Shanghai. Blum became a director of one of these groups, Shanghai Pacific Partners. Feinstein even promoted the company in a 1987 article for the San Francisco Business Times. The Shanghai government then launched a joint venture with Blum to construct a $30 million, 28-story apartment building. Blum says he lost money on the deal, but the experience hardly turned him off to sending good money after bad-more than $100 million in various Chinese investments since his wife became a senator, in fact.

However, there is no mention of her close business ties in the news articles that have appeared in the US (Mercury News and SF Chronicle). The Taipei Times merely mentioned in passing that she and Jiang Zemin were old pals dating back to the days when she made San Francisco and Shanghai sister cities. It is no wonder the mainstream media is so mistrusted in the US. Meanwhile the SF paper goes on to say:

She praised mainland China -- which regards Taiwan as a renegade province -- for declining to take Chen's bait, while simultaneously calling on Beijing to dismantle the hundreds of ballistic missiles that it has positioned opposite Taiwan in a clear military threat to the island.

In the space of a few paragraphs, Feinstein praises China's "restraint" for not blowing Taiwan to smithereens -- as if she thinks they had every right to -- and condemns the President of a longtime ally for acting solely for his own political gain -- instead of praising his support for democracy here in Taiwan -- while concealing her own longstanding links to Chinese elites (though they must have been known to everyone present). It is clear that Beijing is writing her script, for the focus on Chen, as being the end-all and be-all of Taiwan independence, betrays a Chinese source (a more measured position would have condemned Taiwan independence). Feinstein also accused her fellow Congress critters of being paranoid:

In a question-and-answer session, Feinstein said there is a "mind-set in Congress'' that "China is destined to become an enemy of the U.S.'' She said this kind of thinking is dangerous, and called for more "high-level conversations'' between China and the United States.

I am all for more jaw-jaw between the US and China, but I would like to see it conducted by people who don't have nine-figure investments there, and who have a more balanced view of events, and a more respectful attitude toward a longtime US ally.

It is interesting to contemplate how Feinstein's comments will be received in China. Everyone at the gathering had to have known that she is in Jiang Zemin's pocket, yet the papers reported that listeners were surprised by her comments, though their content could not have surprised anyone who knew her. Rather, they must have been surprised that any US senator would have uttered such strongly pro-China comments in public, in front of a gathering of Asians, comments that emphasized that the US has no obligation to defend Taiwan (true) and belittled Taiwan. Feinstein is known to have aspirations for higher office. I hope she doesn't get there; she's already bad enough where she is.

5 comments:

STOP_George said...

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You know, regardless of political sellouts like Feinstein, I think this visit by Hu Jintao -- or should I say that daring widely covered protest by Dr. Wang Wenyi -- has helped put China's human rights issues (along with the Taiwan issue) in the fore.

I nearly choked on some bean curd when I heard Mike Malloy (Air America Radio) rant and rave about the China / Taiwan issue for well over 5-10 minutes on his show last week. It was all positive for Taiwan.

This was NOT a good visit for Hu Jintao in the eyes of liberal Americans. Hopefully this sentiment is passed on to the congresspeople and senators (who are not corrupt, like Feinstein).
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Anonymous said...

It’s inevitable---Taiwan will be annexed in the not to distant future.

So with the KMT likely to win the next election, the ? becomes one of who seizes the power.

Yes, it’s possible for another clout split that would allow the DPP to sneak in---but don’t bet a noodle on it. Lien basking like a young lion China, Ma telling the Americans (I mean Chinese) in the US that America won’t dictate Taiwan policy, The ROC is the one China (come on Ma, no one is that gullible!) and the KMT will keep the peace for another decade.

It’s good to hear Feinstein say what she said---It’s great to hear someone tell Taiwan----Kids, the future is China. For a lot of nationalistic, strategic, technological, and security reasons, that sucks. But that’s the game. Forget invasion, it’s now a matter of invitation.

I know it’s not all that simple, and there is going to be some serious head bashing before it’s done. But after the all important Olympics is completed, the elections take place in Taiwan and the USA. Ma wins here. The USA is still up for grabs---but Bush will be
in office until the end of January.

Head bashing breaks out here. Who knows what will happen then.
Ma’s big battle is not with the DPP, it’s within the KMT. And we’ve seen lately he’s all hat and no cattle (or maybe a baseball cap and a cow). Will the Chinese show up to keep the peace? (invited of course).

Greg Gliemi

Venitha said...

"Kids, the future is China." This is the truth, and I think it's a good thing that politicians in the US are finally starting to realize this. There's much more to be concerned about re: China and Taiwan than democracy and human rights, and it's about time the US started seeing a bigger picture.

Anonymous said...

"Kids, the future is China."

Then the future is shit, just like the Chinese.


Developers demolish school for cripples
Published: Wednesday, 19 April, 2006, 01:10 PM Doha Time
BEIJING: Men dressed in military fatigues stormed a boarding school in a Beijing suburb and evicted 75 crippled and orphaned children to make way for development projects, state media said yesterday.
Officials had allowed the Zhiguang Educational Training School in Changping county, north of the capital, to be torn down before new housing could be found and the children were now homeless, the Beijing Morning Post reported.
“We have gone to the school, but we’re having difficulties finding another piece of land for them,” the paper quoted a county education official surnamed Qiu as saying.
“At present there is no way to find classrooms or dormitories for these children,” Qiu said.
Last Friday, some 200 unidentified workers dressed in military camoflague gear evicted the students from the school and began tearing it, the paper said.
Workers indiscriminately destroyed the dormitory rooms and threw their belongings outside, the paper said.
“Some of the children are suffering from epilepsy. The workers just threw their things all over the place,” a teacher surnamed Guo said. “We can’t find their medicine, their symptoms are becoming serious.”
According to principal Wang Haitao, the school grounds and surrounding land were leased three years ago to a company that agreed not to disturb the school.
But when the lease expired, new leaseholders were brought in to develop the area, leading to the demolition of the school, he said.
Orphans and handicapped children form one of the most vulnerable sectors of Chinese society, with the state only able to offer the bare necessities in ensuring their education and living conditions.–AFP

cleverCLAIRE said...

>>What bothers me is not that conservatives are right, but that liberals and progressives are so very, very wrong when it comes to Taiwan.

Michael, you've nailed it. I've also just read this quote from an editorial on Investor.com:

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For most Americans, supporting democratic forces in the world is a no-brainer. For those running the Democratic Party today, it's always an agonizing decision.
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