In an interview with The Washington Post at his Arlington headquarters, the prospective Republican presidential nominee advocated a cautious course for Bush, despite U.S. unhappiness with the Chinese crackdown on Tibet, complaints of harsh repression of domestic dissidents and strained relations stemming from last week's breakdown of global trade talks in Geneva.
McCain, who harshly condemned Russian behavior in the same interview, said some of China's actions are "also regrettable, but I don't think China is regressing the way that Russia is. We have a greater opportunity to work in a cooperative way with China."
Reality, in fact, is the complete opposite.
I say this not as a defender of Russia, which certainly has its issues and is far from friendly (the Eurasian behemoth remains Communist China's largest arms supplier), but actually put Russia ahead of Communist China on the threat-to-America list is flat-out wrong.
The problems Communist China is facing - and causing - with the Olympics continue to be well documented (Agence France Presse, Epoch Times, more Epoch Times, Guardian, the Boycott 2008 Communist Olympics blog, National Review Online, Washington Post, more Washington Post, and the Weekly Standard), but it is Communist China's behavior outside its borders that should show McCain how erroneous his view is.
McCain seems to have been particularly moved by the death of Alexander Litvinenko (which he specifically mentions in the Post interview). Leaving aside the controversy surrounding Litvinenko's death (one paper I trust - the New York Sun - reveals more than a few holes in the prevailing theory), Communist China has its own history of violent interference in the free world. Moreover, the Communists' antics have been in this country, from the mob violence in Flushing (Epoch Times) to the murder of Allen Leung. Why is Communist China given a pass on these actions?
Russia has also received criticism regarding its interference in Georgia and its occupation of Chechnya. The criticism in the former is undoubtedly deserved, but Georgia is still its own country - as opposed to, say, Tibet (CNN). As for Chechnya, while I won't call Russia's actions perfect, it's been clear for nine years (since the invasion of Dagestan in 1999) that they have been facing an irridentist group of Wahhabist terrorists with deep ties to al-Qaeda. Communist China has faced nothing remotely similar in occupied East Turkestan until perhaps this past weekend (BBC, CNN, and the Washington Post). Meanwhile, the Beijing cadres' ties to terrorism run very long and very deep. I would humbly submit that Beijing has been far more helpful to Tehran's nuclear weapons program than Moscow, and regarding the debacle surrounding Stalinist North Korea (CNN, Newsmax, One Free Korea, and the Washington Post), Russia has largely been a bystander as Communist China played the Bush Administration for fools.
To be fair to McCain, his view is widely held in Washington, and is sadly gaining traction in other capitals previously immune (like Ottawa - Globe and Mail), but that doesn't make it right. If John McCain wants America to be more forceful with Russia (again, something I don't dispute), he should at least demand the same forcefulness regarding Communist China. America will never be secure until China is free.