Ramkumar Srinivasan recently published in the Epoch Times an impassioned defense of President George W. Bush (A Contrarian View: Support President Bush and the U.S). His column was detailed and well-written; it also just happened to recommend an earlier article I wrote for my blog on the Hainan outrage and its possible effect on 9/11/01, which the Epoch Times was kind enough to reprint (How the Hainan Island Outrage Prepared the Way for 9/11). Thus, it might seem odd that yours truly would decide Mr. Srinivasan is, at least in part, mistaken about the President. However, the truth, painful as it may be, is this: unless the President ends “engagement” with Communist China, the War on Terror could be lost.
For nearly everyone who has opined on this President, the discussion of failure or success has centered around two countries: Iraq and Afghanistan. This myopia is understandable, but wrong. Whatever one thinks of Iraq, Afghanistan, or the larger War on Terror, they are all part of the Second Cold War, which Communist China has fought against the U.S. since at least 1989. The President, like his predecessor and his father, has refused to acknowledge, let alone fight, the Second Cold War. This failure has made the War on Terror more difficult to win, and if continued, it will make the war impossible to win.
Let us begin in Central Asia. Note that I do not say “Afghanistan,” which is, at the very least, a tactical success. Unfortunately, this Administration seems to believe that the Taliban and al Qaeda are the only enemies in this region. Nothing can be further from the truth. Communist China’s ties to al Qaeda are long, and its long-time ally Pakistan installed the Taliban and protected it for years. Pakistan’s current leader, Pervez Musharraf, knocked out an elected government in 1999, and struck a deal with Taliban-supporting elements to isolate Pakistani democrats three years later. In fact, Pakistan, to this day, still considers al Qaeda terrorists in its eastern regions to be its allies in its in the dispute with India over Kashmir (Kaushik Kapisthalam, United Press International via Washington Times), despite their links to the London terrorist attacks of this past July. Yet the Administration has said and done almost nothing on this, allowing Communist China and its Pakistan ally to continue supporting al Qaeda elements.
By limiting the Central Asian theatre to Afghanistan, the president has allowed al Qaeda to survive in Pakistan. An anti-Communist foreign policy would have seen al Qaeda’s part in the larger anti-American coalition being put together by Communist China, and worked with Pakistani democrats to ensure a government friendlier to Washington and more hostile to al Qaeda and Communist China. Instead, America’s enemies are allowed to strengthen. Meanwhile, India, the largest democracy on the planet and longtime rival of Communist China, is left to wonder why only America is allowed to wage total war against al Qaeda.
As for Western Asia (again, not “Iraq,” to limit the discussion to Iraq is to completely misunderstand the situation), clearly, the Iraqi people are trying to move forward and build a post-Saddam republic with a government reliant upon popular consent. However, the effort is beset by enemies on both sides (Syria and Iran) that have in fact been allied with each other for over a quarter of a century, and have both been a recipient of military and economic aid from Communist China. However, while the Administration is starting to press Syria on this issue, Iran’s continuing efforts to undermine the will of the Iraqi people (National Review Online) have received no criticism from Washington. Even the recent reports of Iran’s involvement in attacks against British troops in Iraq (BBC) have been met by mere words (BBC).
Again, as in Central Asia, the Bush Administration has made its efforts far too narrow. As such, it has largely ignored Communist China’s ties not only to Iran and Syria, but also to Saddam Hussein’s former regime. Again, an anti-Communist President would have “connected the dots,” recognized Iraq’s role in a larger battle between freedom and dictatorship in the region, and taken active steps to liberate its neighbors. Instead, Syria and Iran continue to plot against America with impunity, as its joint benefactor, Communist China watches in the background.
In East Asia, the failure is far easier to see. The recent debacle on Stalinist North Korea was the sad, but inevitable, result of a policy that refused to see Communist China for the enemy it really is. Thus, when the Communists’ de facto colony rattled its own saber on nuclear weapons, Washington foolishly looked to the Communists to help fix the problem. The result was three years wasted to useless negotiations as Pyongyang and Zhongnanhai strengthened themselves. However, this is far from the only mistake the Administration has made here. Throughout the region, neighbors of Communist China see its rise with trepidation. They are looking to the U.S. for leadership against the Communists. What they have gotten instead is more War on Terror tunnel vision.
Meanwhile, in Africa, Communist China’s policy to make the world safe for dictators has earned it more puppet regimes—among them Zimbabwe (Daily Standard) and Sudan (UPI via Washington Times)—and Communist China has become an anti-U.S. foil across the Western Hemisphere, from caudillo Hugo Chavez to Canada’s Paul Martin.
Again, the problem is not the War on Terror, as it is known, per se. The problem is the Administration’s refusal to recognize that War’s part of the larger Second Cold War. The fact that Communist China has supported all of the terrorists against whom we have fought, and their sponsors, is either ignored or dismissed. Thus, as powerful and dangerous as the terrorists and their sponsors may be, the greater danger—Communist China—is allowed to hide behind them, even as it continues to enable them to kill more Americans and Westerners. What the U.S. must recognize is that the root of the anti-American, pro-terrorist enemy it faces is not al Qaeda, Saddam Hussein, Bashar Assad, or even the Ayatollah Khameini. It is the Chinese Communist Party.
At present, most Americans are not aware of Communist China’s role as the largest supporter of terrorism on the globe. As such, the President’s contemporaries have (mostly) spared him from well-deserved criticism. History will not be so kind. I believe America will win Cold War II—and thus the subsidiary War on Terror—but victory will come at a far greater cost of blood and treasure than would have been necessary had the danger been recognized earlier. President Bush is not alone in this mistake in omission, but he must share the blame for continuing it. America will never be safe until China is free. Until President Bush, or one of his successors, recognizes this fact, neither the Second Cold War nor the War on Terror will ever be won.
D.J. McGuire is president of the China e-Lobby and author of “Dragon in the Dark: How and Why Communist China Helps Our Enemies in the War on Terror.”