Do the Right Thing in Beijing, Mr. Clinton
By Vin Suprynowicz
Special to The Libertarian Enterprise
Pardon my cynicism. I actually sympathize with the message. But
with the general elections less than six months away, doesn't it verge
on the mawkish for members of the House of Representatives to suddenly
get religion on the issue of aid and trade with overseas tyrants --
wearing white ribbons to honor the democracy protesters killed nine
years ago last week, as the members voted overwhelmingly on June 4 to
urge President Clinton not to visit Tiananmen Square during his
upcoming official visit to China?
Is recognition and technical aid to this bunch of geriatric
murderers any more palatable if the president simply steers clear of
their town square? Have these same members cast loud and articulate
"No" votes in the past against spending bills that trained Latin
American torturers at the School of the Americas, or that funded the
internal military repression of any number of right-wing murderers,
martinets, and jumped-up thugs?
Have they done anything to recognize the legitimacy and yearning
for independence of the freedom-fighters of Chechnya, Kurdistan, or
Tibet? Or have they, instead, repeatedly walked away, mumbling about
"having to be politically pragmatic"?
Can we please see the pictures of these same members' past
candlelight vigils to protest the violent overthrow of the
duly-elected (albeit left-leaning) governments of Iran, Greece, Chile
... the Diem assassination ... all with American aid, whether overt or
There is irony, certainly, in traditionally martial Republicans
taking such a stance, while Bill Clinton -- who spent his college
years avoiding military service and leading anti-war demonstrations
overseas -- is the one who will presumably be seen in a couple of
weeks beaming, glad-handing, and sharing champagne toasts with the
gang of blood-stained octogenarian tyrants who helped bankroll his
re-election campaign. (A bargain basement investment, at that, if it
won them the president's personal intervention to expedite their
purchase of sensitive American missile technology -- promptly
re-exported to Pakistan to fuel the world's newest nuclear arms race.)
The only question is whether the irony is fully intended.
If we could believe the Republican House was returning to core
principles -- encourage freedom and liberty everywhere, subsidize
blood-stained dictators nowhere -- that would indeed be cause for
In the meantime -- unlikely as the president may be to turn here
for advice -- he has now been granted a wonderful opportunity to trump
his opponents' sanctimony.
Once the butchers of Tiananmen have admitted Mr. Clinton to their
country for a state visit, they can hardly prevent him appearing
before the news cameras to speak his mind. Wouldn't it be wonderful
if he took this opportunity to deliver to the Chinese a version of Ron
Reagan's historic "tear down this wall" speech in West Berlin?
What if the president were to finally find his political lodestar
-- even at this late date -- summon up all his rhetorical thunder,
pound the lectern, and lambaste this bunch of wizened Communist
trolls, asking why reform-minded party member Bao Tong (jailed for
eight years after Tiananmen Square) has been ordered not to talk to
foreign reporters, why two dozen dissidents were taken out of
circulation prior to his arrival, why to this day the great public
square of the Chinese people is riddled with plainclothes cops bearing
binoculars and two-way radios, while soldiers armed with assault
rifles drill nearby ... just in case?
He won't, of course. The president whose agents caused the deaths
of scores of innocent women and children at Waco (without ever having
to face any day in court for their conduct) -- the president whose
federal courts on May 14 dismissed all charges against FBI sniper Lon
Horiuchi in the death of Vicky Weaver -- won't risk asking those kinds
of questions. Nor will he wish to offend such a major (though
illegal) campaign donor, for fear the Chinese might turn about and
tell everything they got in return for that million dollars they
sent Johnny Chung.
But it's nice to dream about what could happen in Beijing, if
America were represented there by a statesman, an orator, a patriot of
the stature of a Washington, a Jefferson, a Grover Cleveland, or even
a Harry Truman ... as opposed to this consummate Little Rock Hustler,
this misplaced smoothie who still seems to think he's back in
Arkansas, trading low-interest business development loans for rural
riverfront lots, payoffs through the little woman, and all the free
chicken he can eat.
"So, do you suppose I could take some of those egg rolls, you
know, to go?"
Vin Suprynowicz is the assistant editorial page editor of the Las
Vegas Review-Journal. Readers may contact him via e-mail at
firstname.lastname@example.org. The web site for the Suprynowicz column is at
http://www.nguworld.com/vindex/. The column is syndicated in the
United States and Canada via Mountain Media Syndications, P.O. Box
4422, Las Vegas Nev. 89127.