Clinton in China
It is a sad commentary on the state of our foreign policy that the White House and its sycophants in the media proclaim President Clinton’s China foray a smashing success based on him surviving two press conferences (June 29).
Our leader described the U.S. position on the Tiananmen Square massacre as the United States and China having a “difference of opinion.” We have a “difference of opinion” about the morality of reducing a couple of thousand protesters to red splotches on the pavement?
This all came after a solid month of studied humiliation by China of Clinton and this country. A few more foreign policy successes like this and we can look forward to becoming another province of China.
I find myself getting tired of the constant focus on the Tiananmen Square events of 1989 in every report about President Clinton’s visit to China. Yes, the use of the military to quell the protests and the resultant deaths were tragic. But this is not the only country or example of such tragedy.
It seems that we (the United States) have collective amnesia, failing to remember that just 20 years earlier, in this, the bastion of democracy and people’s rights, the military was frequently used to put down demonstrations, taking actions which, at least at Kent State, resulted in the deaths of young protesters. It wasn’t just the anti-war demonstrators who were subjected to violence during the 1960s; those involved in the civil rights movement were frequently the targets of government-sponsored violence.
One might reasonably conclude that this is yet another example of the double standard that appears to exist between what is condemned when it occurs in Asia or Africa and what is regretfully tolerated when it occurs in the United States or Western Europe.
I think we need to remember our own faults, which we still have after 200 years of democracy, before we so loudly decry the actions of others.
JOHN M. FORREST
On the week of Independence Day we announce to the world that the 21 million people of Taiwan have no right to self-determination (“Clinton Backs China on Issue of Free Taiwan,” June 30). Maybe next Martin Luther King’s birthday we’ll reconsider slavery.
Poor Ross Terrill (Commentary, June 26). He’s still living down his youthful Maoist infatuation sins. Insight is one thing. Invective is another. More light and less emotional vindictiveness, please! And Terrill talks about the “self-righteousness” of Jiang Zemin. It may be opinion, but how about some balance?
The agreement between the United States and China to not aim missiles at each other (June 27) is a very small first step. But without inspections, such an agreement is not even worth the paper it is written on, since neither side can trust the other. So unless we work toward inspections and reach an agreement, all this would be quite meaningless.
MADAN M. MATHRANI