Oliver North
WASHINGTON -- Two weeks ago, our beloved leader, William the Lame Duck, ignored growing threats to our national security and delayed deployment of a national ballistic missile defense system. This past week, the world's potentates -- kings, princes, presidents, prime ministers, democrats and despots -- all gathered at the United Nations, ignored the reality of what's going on in Communist China, and further jeopardized the cause for which they ostensibly gathered: "World Peace in the New Millennium." And this coming week, the U.S. Senate is set to ignore its Constitutional obligation "To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations ... " and grant Communist China Permanent Normal Trade Relations -- "PNTR." Does anyone in Washington read history? Way back in the antiquity of the 1980's, President Ronald Reagan knew that the duplicitous dictators who ruled the Soviet Empire were inclined to say one thing and do another. Thus, he made "trust, but verify" the watchword for all who dealt with Moscow on everything from arms control to human rights. Unfortunately, when it comes to Communist China, the Clinton administration, the United Nations, the media and now Congress, all rework "trust, but verify," into "trust, and turn a blind eye." It's going to take a lot of blind eyes and willful ignorance for the U.S. Senate to vote in favor of PNTR for the People's Republic of China. Senators will have to ignore last week's Millennium Peace Summit for Spiritual Leaders at the UN. Over 1,000 of the world's religious leaders swarmed into New York City, but at the arrogant insistence of Beijing's leaders, the Dalai Lama, the 1998 Nobel Peace laureate, was excluded. The solons of "the world's greatest deliberative body" must also turn a blind eye to the State Department's most recent Report to Congress on International Religious Freedom. In this widely ignored chronicle of abuse, Maddy Albright concludes that the Beijing regime "restricts religious practice to government-sanctioned organizations and registered places of worship, and controls the growth and scope of the activity of religious groups ... (and) for each faith there is a government-affiliated association to monitor and supervise its activities." The chilling conclusion: "during the last 6 months of 1999, the Government's respect for religious freedom deteriorated markedly ... and the Government's repression and abuses continued during the first 6 months of 2000." Do they see no evil? Who will stand up and be counted when it comes to giving the butchers in Beijing permanent, free access to U.S. markets without review or reprisal from the elected representatives of the American people? Will any senators have the courage of my Congressman, Frank Wolf? Last May, Rep. Wolf had the temerity to testify before his colleagues about horrific abuses suffered by Protestant church leaders, Catholic bishops, priests, nuns, Buddhist monks and lay people of every faith at the hands of the regime in Beijing. He concluded with a stinging rebuke: "Right smack in the middle of this debate on PNTR, the Chinese government continues to arrest and imprison people because of their faith." Do they hear no evil? A vote to grant Communist China PNTR requires not only willful ignorance of Beijing's human rights abuses, but turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to America's security and the safety of those we are pledged to defend. Beijing has used the annual $68 billion surplus they have racked up from trading with the U.S. to increase their military budget by more than 12 percent this year alone. This week, Beijing's Zhang Mingqing warned Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian that his unwillingness to prostrate himself to PRC demands for unification was "extremely dangerous." But such comments are only threatening if one is not blind to the deployment of hundreds of short-range ballistic and anti-shipping missiles along the Taiwan Straits by the People's Liberation Army. And while the Senate debates how best to appease Beijing, the Pentagon has rolled out the red carpet (no pun intended) to the PRC military leadership. Secretary of Defense, Bill "I'm really a Republican" Cohen has directed some of our highest ranking military officers and experts to teach 25 senior Red Chinese military officials about U.S. strategy and tactics at Harvard University. The program is ongoing, despite a new CIA report which shows that China's proliferation of weapons of mass destruction has increased over the last six months. While we're "educating" the Red Chinese, the CIA has concluded that Beijing has increased its export of missile-related items and technical support to Pakistan, Iran, North Korea and Libya. I understand the old adage to "keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer." But when it comes to Communist China, isn't Bill Clinton overdoing it just a bit? After the Senate votes to grant PNTR to the People's Republic of China and William the Impeached signs the bill, we can truly call our policy toward Beijing "hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil."

Oliver North

Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.