Amidst these failures comes a truly shameful ethical lapse on the part of Financial Times in hosting a piece by one Bill Owens. Just a taste:
It is often politically expedient to paint China as an adversary, or worse, a future enemy. Our national security apparatus is aiming to continue the present level of defence spending and emphasising 30-year-old legislation that is doing more harm than good.Who is Bill Owens? FT tells us: Retired Admiral Bill Owens is a former vice-chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff. Clearly presented as a disinterested expert who only has the best interests of the US in mind.
The Taiwan Relations Act was passed in 1979 after the establishment of relations with the People’s Republic of China and the breaking of relations with the Republic of China. It is the basis on which we continue to sell arms to Taiwan, an act that is not in our best interest.
A thoughtful review of this outdated legislation is warranted and would be viewed by China as a genuine attempt to set a new course for a relationship that can develop into openness, trust and even friendship.
I've blogged many times before about how advocates for US China policy positions are presented in the media as experts speaking from lofty perches, when they are actually businessmen involved in the China trade (here, here, and don't miss Ken Silverstein's excellent article on the issue, and Carsten Holz's FEER piece). Former vice-chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Bill Owens is no exception. Let me pass along a friend's comments:
"After leaving the military, Owens served as president, chief operating officer and vice chairman of Science Applications International Corporation ("SAIC"). Recently SAIC provided tsunami warning buoys to China.There is absolutely nothing unethical about a businessman advocating a particular policy position, namely, that Taiwan be sold out to China so that he can make heaping amounts of cash in the China trade. FT would have done nothing wrong had it clearly identified Owens as connected to a number of firms currently expanding in the China trade. The ethical breach occurs when the knowledge of his investments in the region he is advocating policy for is withheld from the reader and instead he is presented as if he were solely an analyst. It is sad that after numerous exposures of this sick practice in both the print and broadcast media (the latest major one that of Peter Galbraith), that this practice continues. Until our media improves, our democracy won't.
On April 28, 2004, Owens became the chief executive officer of Nortel, where he had previously served on the board of directors since February 2002. Owens stepped in to replace Frank Dunn, who was fired following an investigation into financial reporting. Owens served until November 15, 2005. Nortel is HEAVILY onvested in China.
On April 1, 2006, Owens became the Chairman and CEO of AEA Holdings Asia overseeing all Private Equity, and Real Estate investments in Asia.
Admiral Owens is also a chairman of privately held Intelius, an information commerce company based in Bellevue, Washington. Intelius is currently expanding into China.
UPDATE: Taiwan Link has an awesome piece on Owens, missiles, etc.
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