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Sino the Times
May 30, 2001

Yesterday, in a speech to the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, President Bush surrendered the mightiest weapon in our economic arsenal to the most belligerent power on the world stage. By renewing China's most favored nation trade status, the President rewards the Communist regime's aggression at home, hostility abroad, and unwillingness to ease a rusted grip on its own closed market. Unless Congress acts by July 3, the decision stands.

Bush said, "Open trade is a force for freedom in China, a force for stability in Asia, and a force for prosperity in the United States." Objection, Mr. President. "Open trade is a force for freedom in China?" We opened trade with China in 1979, but over 20 years later, our State Department reports, "The Government's poor human rights record has deteriorated markedly…as the Government has intensified efforts to suppress dissent. " "A force for stability in Asia? " Taiwan has a different take on the largest Asian military buildup since Japan in the 30s. So too should any nation within range of the PLA's most recent acquisitions: destroyers, submarines, and Sunburn anti-ship missiles from Russia and Lavi fighters and Python air-to-air missiles from Israel - financed by the free traders' largesse. Finally, "a force for prosperity in the United States? " Hard to figure when we run an $81.3 billion annual trade deficit and sell just 2% of our exports in return for accepting 40% of China's.

America's statesmen were not always so skilled in the art of the kowtow. Consider the case of one Thomas Nelson, Jr. Years before the American Revolution, he stood in the House of Burgesses and proclaimed, "I am a merchant of Yorktown, but I am a Virginian first. Let my trade perish. I call God to witness that if any British forces landed in the County of York… I will wait no orders, but will summon the militia and drive the invaders into the sea! "

The price of that powerful rhetoric came due in 1781 when then Governor Nelson, commander of the Virginia militia, was joined by Lafayette at Yorktown. The French General wrote in his memoirs that when the Continental bombardment began, he asked Nelson where to direct the cannon. The Governor, who had learned that Cornwallis was headquartered in his home replied, "There to that house. It is mine…the best one in town….Fire upon it, my dear marquis, and never spare a particle of my property so long as it affords comfort or a shelter to the enemies of my country. " He then offered five guineas to the first soldier to hit the house. Thomas Nelson never rebuilt his Georgian mansion. Indeed, he died a debtor, but he died free, in a free country.

Today's leaders fly different colors. They've been bought by profiteers whose priorities are cheap labor, easy access, big returns. Never mind that our own country's dependence is rising with their revenues, that our manufacturing muscle is withering, that their business sustains our rivals. They serve a different master. And besides, "let my trade perish" doesn't play well at power lunches. Yesterday, in a speech to the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, President Bush surrendered the mightiest weapon in our economic arsenal to the most belligerent power on the world stage. By renewing China's most favored nation trade status, the President rewards the Communist regime's aggression at home, hostility abroad, and unwillingness to ease a rusted grip on its own closed market. Unless Congress acts by July 3, the decision stands.

Bush said, "Open trade is a force for freedom in China, a force for stability in Asia, and a force for prosperity in the United States. " Objection, Mr. President. "Open trade is a force for freedom in China? " We opened trade with China in 1979, but over 20 years later, our State Department reports, "The Government's poor human rights record has deteriorated markedly…as the Government has intensified efforts to suppress dissent. " "A force for stability in Asia? " Taiwan has a different take on the largest Asian military buildup since Japan in the 30s. So too should any nation within range of the PLA's most recent acquisitions: destroyers, submarines, and Sunburn anti-ship missiles from Russia and Lavi fighters and Python air-to-air missiles from Israel - financed by the free traders' largesse. Finally, "a force for prosperity in the United States? " Hard to figure when we run an $81.3 billion annual trade deficit and sell just 2% of our exports in return for accepting 40% of China's.

America's statesmen were not always so skilled in the art of the kowtow. Consider the case of one Thomas Nelson, Jr. Years before the American Revolution, he stood in the House of Burgesses and proclaimed, "I am a merchant of Yorktown, but I am a Virginian first. Let my trade perish. I call God to witness that if any British forces landed in the County of York… I will wait no orders, but will summon the militia and drive the invaders into the sea! "

The price of that powerful rhetoric came due in 1781 when then Governor Nelson, commander of the Virginia militia, was joined by Lafayette at Yorktown. The French General wrote in his memoirs that when the Continental bombardment began, he asked Nelson where to direct the cannon. The Governor, who had learned that Cornwallis was headquartered in his home replied, "There to that house. It is mine…the best one in town….Fire upon it, my dear marquis, and never spare a particle of my property so long as it affords comfort or a shelter to the enemies of my country. " He then offered five guineas to the first soldier to hit the house. Thomas Nelson never rebuilt his Georgian mansion. Indeed, he died a debtor, but he died free, in a free country.

Today's leaders fly different colors. They've been bought by profiteers whose priorities are cheap labor, easy access, big returns. Never mind that our own country's dependence is rising with their revenues, that our manufacturing muscle is withering, that their business sustains our rivals. They serve a different master. And besides, "let my trade perish" doesn't play well at power lunches.

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