The China Desk
home | the strait scoop | by others | links | downloads
Gary Bauer's Un-American Values
With Friends Like Gary Bauer, Do American Values Need Enemies?
November 04, 1999
Desperately Seeking Demons
Former President George Bush, in an interview with Fox News Sunday, commented that "China is not seeking hegemony. I see no evidence, and I'd like one person who's a critic of China on the Republican right or the Democratic left to tell me why they think they are seeking hegemony."
George Bush's clear-eyed assessment of post-Communist China's foreign policy posture however stuck in GOP presidential candidate Gary Bauer's craw. Bauer lashed out at Bush for "his erroneous assessment of Communist China's military threat" and challenged Texas Governor George W. Bush "to tell the American people whether he shares his father's dangerous view of Beijing's military intentions."
What evidence did Bauer cite to support his alarmism? He demanded to know whether President Bush was aware China conducted missile tests off the coast of Taiwan in 1996 and missile exercises against mock US troops within the past year. [!]
Irredentism, not Expansionism
Sorry Gary, but Bush is dead on the money. China isn't seeking global hegemony. Not one Sinophobe has made a clear and convincing case for an apocalyptic "Coming Conflict with China." Instead the China demonizers have unearthed countless menacing "Dr. No," "Insidious Dr. Fumanchu," "Ming the Merciless" stereotypes buried just beneath the surface of their waking conscious and projected them willy nilly onto China, the Chinese, and fellow Americans of Chinese descent.
Does this mean China wants nothing? Of course not. Every nation wants something. America wants something. Russia wants something. China is no exception. What does China want? China wants what is rightfully hers returned. No more and no less.
"China... is different from the Soviet Union, with its forthright determination to conquer the world in the name of Marxism. China is passionate as an irredentist power, not as an expansionist power. It covets [sic] Hong Kong and Taiwan. China is not now a threat on the order of the Soviet threat, so that the question of appropriate behavior focuses on the moral, not the strategic, question. Here relevant is the... maxim of John Quincy Adams that the American people are friends of liberty everywhere but custodians only of their own."
Who said this? Jimmy Carter? Bill Clinton? Some other pinko Com-symp? Try William F. Buckley, circa 1997.
Saint Gary vs. the Chinese Dragon
Bauer alleges that:
"Communist China is developing one of the most daunting conventional theater missile challenges in the world... which could have significant implications for regional stability."
Bauer's Family Research Council web site boasts an FAQ entitled "Morality in Foreign Policy." Did you know the only foreign country listed as "immoral" is China? Now I don't for one minute doubt Bauer's religious zeal. I have no doubt Bauer is a bonafide True Believer. But perhaps I may be forgiven for doubting Bauer's recall, not to mention his common sense.
Has Bauer forgotten how President Kennedy reacted to Kruschev's attempt to install Soviet missiles in what he considered "America's own backyard?" Has Bauer forgotten that President Clinton recently offered a dangerously destabilizing TMD umbrella to Japan, China's most threatening neighbor, and worse, to Taiwan's secessionist elite, in China's own backyard? And finally, has Bauer forgotten the Golden Rule? You know, "Do unto others... ?" Or does Bauer's foreign policy morality mean the Monroe Doctrine applies only to America but not to China?
Daunting? Gary Bauer, sitting in the Oval Office, Commander in Chief of the armed forces of the World's Only Remaining Superpower, barely able to contain himself as he contemplates Holy War against the Satanic Yellow Peril. Now that's daunting. Thank God Gary Bauer's theocratic arrogance toward China is not shared by Billy Graham and Pat Robertson.
A Geography Lesson
Taiwan is on the other side of the Pacific Ocean, Gary. Taiwan is part of China. Go to your library. Crack open your Rand McNally. Find mainland China. Look at where the offshore Chinese island of Taiwan is, a mere ninety miles to the east of China's eastern seaboard. Notice the tiny sliver of blue between the two? That's the Taiwan Strait.
The Pacific Ocean, the widest ocean on the planet
Now travel east. That's right, to the right. No, don't stop, not yet. Keep going, keep going, keep going, keep going. Now stop. You are now on the California coast. See that vast expanse of blue in between China and America? That's the Pacific Ocean. The widest ocean on the planet. Eight thousand miles wide. One third the circumference of our planet.
Beijing's missiles were fired at Chinese territory, and that's where they landed. They weren't fired at the Lower Forty-eight. They weren't fired at Alaska. They weren't fired at the Hawaiian islands. Beijing's missiles had nothing to do with America.
Uncle Sam ain't got no Dawg in this Fight
According to the constitutions of both the Peoples' Republic of China (mainland China) and the Republic of China (Taiwan), Taiwan is an integral part of a single unified China. The conflict between Beijing and Taipei is part of a painfully protracted Chinese Civil War predating not just the Cold War, but WWII, over which regime is the legitimate ruler of that single unified China.
With the end of the Cold War, the struggle between Beijing and Taipei ceased being part of a global showdown between capitalism and communism, and reverted to the status of a purely internal power struggle.
Even factoring in the noisy agitation for "independence" from a minority of militant secessionists spearheaded by pro-Japanese Quisling Lee Teng-hui, the struggle between Beijing and Taipei remains a domestic Chinese affair, similar to the escalating tensions between Washington and Richmond prior to 1861.
In 1861, over eight thousand miles to the east of China, America fought a civil war. The American Civil War was none of China's business. In 1999, eight thousand miles to the west of America, China is fighting a civil war. The Chinese Civil War is none of America's business. Is this such a difficult concept for interventionist busybodies to grasp?
Gary Bauer, You're no Ronald Reagan
Bauer remarked he was "appalled that former President Bush would adopt the mantra of the Clinton-Gore administration, which can only encourage military aggression by the repressive government of China."
Gary Bauer seems to have suffered another memory lapse. Ronald Reagan "constructively engaged" the the far more repressive Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping regimes, and was absolutely correct in doing so. George Bush was Reagan's vice-president. Reagan's China policy was Bush's China policy. When Bush succeeded Reagan he carried on Reagan's China policy, which by the way, was also Jimmy Carter's China policy, Gerald Ford's China policy, and Richard Nixon's China policy. If Bauer has a problem with Bush's China policy, then he has a problem with Reagan's China policy.
Gary Bauer has been running belatedly on Ronald Reagan's coattails, positioning himself as the heir to Reagan's legacy, never passing up an opportunity to remind America he was Reagan's domestic policy advisor. Or is that Domestic Policy Advisor? It's hard not to laugh out loud when Bauer takes himself so seriously.
The Great Communicator was an affable economic conservative, not a strident religious conservative. Reagan's most valuable and enduring legacy, after all, the one which bears his name, was "Reaganomics." Reagan was a leader savvy enough and tolerant enough to embrace a diverse constituency. Reagan won two consecutive terms to the White House by inviting the American public to enter an inclusivist Republican "Big Tent."
When Bauer looks into his mirror each morning, who looks back at him? An easygoing economic conservative with libertarian leanings? Or a humorless religious fanatic who smugly pigeonholes both fellow Americans and unseen foreigners into tidy categories of "Good" and "Evil?"
Reagan made you his Domestic Policy Advisor, Gary, not his Foreign Policy Advisor. You profess enormous respect for Reagan's foreign policy judgment. You ought to. Reagan affirmed his good judgment by not appointing you to such a sensitive position.
America is not Government Property!
Gary Bauer lambasted George W. Bush for urging a relaxation of American super computer export controls. "It is shocking that a Republican presidential candidate would advocate a policy that shows less regard for our national security than the current irresponsible policies of the Clinton-Gore administration."
What's really shocking is how casually Bauer invokes "national security," presuming that the federal government speaks for "the nation as a whole" and that its interests are "higher" than the "mere" commercial interests of private American citizens.
What makes America unique is the Founders' understanding that the interests of the government are supposed to be subordinate to the interests of private citizens. The real America, where real Americans live, is its civil society, its private sector, its business community, not our leech-infested nation's capital. The real America has its address on Main Street and Wall Street, not Pennsylvania Avenue and K Street.
If "Government of the People, by the People, and for the People" is going to be a living reality and not a cruel hoax, then the answer to the question "Who decides what may be freely traded in the open marketplace?" had better be sovereign American citizens, not petty despots.
Bauer's viewpoint certainly reflects the assumptions of contemporary America's statist nomenklatura, but hasn't the faintest resemblance to our Founding Fathers' deepest convictions on the proper relationship between government and the individual.
America is not government property. America is private property.
Do Businessmen have Human Rights?
Take Normal Trade Relations or NTR, formerly known inaccurately and misleadingly as "Most Favored Nation," or MFN. "China violates Chinese citizens' religious freedom." Therefore to punish the Beijing government Bauer wants to sic our federal leviathan on American businessmen, threatening them with naked government coercion if they dare exercise their constitutional right to engage in free trade.
Forget about trampling over the economic rights of Chinese entrepreneurs and consumers in China's private sector, what about what Bauer wants to do to his fellow Americans' economic rights? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought property rights were a fundamental American value? Numerous state constitutions even retained the original wording intended for the Federal Constitution "life, liberty and property."
Does Bauer even know why we fought the Cold War? Does Bauer even understand that the defining distinction between capitalism and communism was that capitalism upheld the sanctity of private property and free trade, while communism demeaned them? Does Bauer realize when he condemns free enterprise how much he sounds like a Soviet commissar?
Cold Warrior without a Clue
Gary Bauer blasted CEOs of America's Fortune 500 companies for participating in Fortune's Global Forum in Shanghai. "Are American businessmen so beguiled by profits that they are willing to abandon their country's most cherished ideals of freedom, democracy and human rights? These gentlemen seem to have forgotten that they are Americans first and businessmen second."
Beguiled by profits? Forgotten they are Americans?
Does Gary Bauer remember how America defeated the Soviet Union? Let me rephrase that. Does Gary Bauer have the foggiest clue how America won the Cold War in the first place?
America did not defeat the Soviets on the battlefield. America was engaged in a Cold War, remember? A Cold War is, by definition, a war which never flares into open conflict. America's military never directly confronted the Soviet military.
Instead the capitalist world, led by America, defeated the communist world, led by the Soviets, by bankrupting it. Wars are expensive. Wars must be subsidized by profits from the private sectors of warring nations. Capitalist America defeated communist Russia by showing profits for 184 straight quarters, from 1945 to 1991, while the latter continually hemorrhaged red ink.
Mikhail Gorbachev threw in the towel when it finally dawned on him the Soviet Union's money-losing economic system was in Chapter 11 and had no hope of competing with America's profit-making economic system.
Do you want to know who defeated communism, Gary? The American businessmen you've been busy slandering with accusations of treason defeated communism.
Comrade Bauer, meet Comrade Hall
Quote Number One: "Here again we witnessed the spectacle of US businessmen putting profits ahead of the principles of freedom and democracy... freedom of worship, freedom of speech and the right to just wages for labor are higher American ideals [than free trade.]"
Quote Number Two: "If the corporate and financial empires can accumulate such vast wealth, make profits in the billions, why can't this rich nation of ours guarantee basic human rights for everyone, a decent job at union wages... and put people before profits."
The first quote, denouncing American capitalists and condemning the profit motive, was taken from remarks made to the press by Gary Bauer.
The second quote, denouncing American capitalists and condemning the profit motive, was taken from Gus Hall's Communist Party of the USA web site.
Or was it vice-versa?
Gary Bauer's Un-American Values
One cannot uphold American values without defending freedom, hence free enterprise, also known as capitalism. This of course means, God forbid, defending capitalists, including the creative and industrious Americans who have made great American companies like Hughes, Loral, McDonnell Douglas and Boeing the world-class commercial enterprises they are today.
Gary Bauer's "American values" are insidiously un-American, that is unless we consider the Communist Party of the USA's values "American." Self-styled super patriot Bauer unwittingly demonstrates how far modern Americans have strayed from the path laid out by our Founding Fathers a mere two centuries ago. You want to be afraid of something, Gary? Be afraid of that. Be very afraid.
Gary Bauer's Communist Moral Premises
Gary Bauer imagines that ordinary Americans living their own lives and minding their own business have mysteriously incurred some sort of moral obligation to reform the political systems of every foreign nation from Albania to Zaire. Bauer presumes that his rightist globocop perception of what Americans owe the world, and conversely, what the world owes America, represents a proud, distinctly "American" idealism.
Does it really? How is Gary Bauer's sanctimonious assertion that Americans who enjoy the blessings of liberty have a moral obligation to underwrite "human rights" and "democracy" in a less free Third World, any different from communists' and socialists' sanctimonious assertions that Americans who enjoy the blessings of material prosperity have a moral obligation to "share the wealth" with a less well to do Third World?
Gary Bauer is no champion of American values. Gary Bauer is the farthest thing from an authentic champion of American values. Gary Bauer wouldn't recognize a core American value if it bit him on the ass.
If Gary Bauer is the least bit curious about what a principled foreign policy grounded in authentic American values would look like, he need look no further than George Washington's Farewell Address of 1796, a treasure trove of the most astute foreign policy advice a great patriot ever bequeathed his nation.
Americans who understand what values are quintessentially American, know that politically and legally "Nobody owes anybody anything, except to leave them the hell alone." This is as true between individual Americans as it is between America and the nations of the world.
With homegrown "friends" like Gary Bauer, do American values need foreign enemies?