What's So Strange About Standing Up To China?

"Weird bunch," huh? ("Don't let this weird bunch dictate America's China policy," Economic Viewpoint, June 16). I guess it's "weird" to be concerned about those who are being tortured, imprisoned, or murdered for their religious beliefs by a regime that forces women to have abortions and forcibly sterilizes them.

We all talk a good game about the gallantry of that one student facing a column of tanks at Tiananmen Square, but when it comes to putting that sentiment on the line, we can write a page of rationalizations. We have had people down through history who could find an economic rationalization for staying within the British Empire, for keeping slavery, for isolationism during World War II, for accommodating a brutal regime in the Soviet Union, and on and on. And yet here we are, the wealthiest nation in the world--and a morally bankrupt one.

Where would your columnist Rudi Dornbusch draw the line? Most-favored-nation status is for civilized countries that choose to behave as economic partners, not for those that torture their citizens for their religious beliefs and who physically punish their women for having babies. Let's take a stand, just once. Let's put aside the stone heart of a capitalist, come together, and do something to show that the U.S. can also assume the moral leadership of the world. If that's "weird," I stand accused--and proud.

James A. Driskell

Brockton, Mass.

Rudi Dornbusch makes a compelling case that China should be engaged, not isolated. It's a pity that, like most Americans who have made that argument, he lacks the courage to extend his argument to Cuba.

Rohan Oberoi

Somerville, Mass.

Rudi Dornbusch characterizes those of us supporting revocation of most-favored-nation status for China as a "weird...coalition" with "fringe agendas." How much weirder is an alliance between the Family Research Council and the AFL-CIO than one between the Chinese communists and American capitalists?

The core of Mr. Dornbusch's position seems to be that it is useless to hold "the predominant world power of the next century" accountable via trade policy. Mr. Dornbusch may or may not be right in this prediction, but the history of American foreign policy furnishes many examples of the American people rising above economic advantage and power worship. That's what the most-favored-nation status debate is about.

Gary L. Bauer


Family Research Council


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