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39


THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 39, June 26, 1998

Do the Right Thing in Beijing, Mr. Clinton

By Vin Suprynowicz
vin@lvrj.com

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 covert?
         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 celebration.
         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 vin@lvrj.com. 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.


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