One of the recurring arguments in favor of the so-called "peace process" is that America remains committed to Israel's security. But Clinton's public commitment during his recent China visit to China's goal of bringing Taiwan under her sovereignty (a significant new step in the progressive abandonment of Taiwan begun under President Nixon in 1972) underscores the folly of those who tie Israel's future to American guarantees.
Only a few decades ago, Taiwan wielded enormous influence in Congress thanks to the "China Lobby," as it was then called. The Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate was jokingly referred to as the "Formosa Committee," using Taiwan's original name when it served as General Chiang Kai Shek's island outpost. In fact, when President Kennedy was hounded on his supposed loyalty to the Vatican, he quipped that he would gladly take on the Catholic Church, but never the "China lobby."
The "China Lobby," to be sure,
entertained some vainglorious notions about resuming control
of mainland China: its leaders also began to
collaborate with extreme right wing groups, attaching some of
their overheated and unrelated rhetoric to their petitions
on behalf of Taiwan. The Formosa lobby lost its luster as
a one-issue group and gradually its influence diminished.
The beginning of the end for U.S. support for
Taiwan came when President Nixon traveled to China and begat
the Taiwan Relations Act, an equivocal statement which recognizes one China (mainland, that is) but commits the United States to a "peaceful resolution" of Taiwan's future. Subsequently, President Carter moved the American embassy from Taiwan's capital, Taipei, to Beijing, the mainland capital, in a further blow to Taiwan's legitimacy. Ironically, since that time, Taiwan has become an open, free-market democracy. As Parris Chang, the head of Taiwan's pro-independence Democratic Party's mission in the United States, plaintively writes in the Wall Street Journal (July 7,1998), President Clinton betrayed Taiwan's confidence in America by "caving in to Beijing's demands that he oppose independence or membership in any state-based international organization for Taiwan." He further notes that any meaningful negotiations are fatally compromised because "Taiwan can no longer negotiate from a position of strength with the backing of the United States. Now the assumption will be that the U.S will push Taiwan toward accepting Chinese sovereignty." He also notes that mainland China will interpret perceived Taiwanese weakness as a situation to be exploited.
Does any of this sound familiar? When Israel's advocates assumed the "liberal" agenda--gay rights, abortion, affirmative action quotas, etc.--they tarnished their effectiveness in supporting Israel. When Kissinger (the very one who framed the original betrayal of Taiwan) spoke of American "reassessment" of its ties to Israel in 1975, how prophetic he was. When Israel acceded to the ambiguous wording on autonomy in the Camp David Accords, was that not the beginning of the notion of Arab statehood in Judea and Samaria? And, if President Clinton can so blithely abandon Taiwan--a democratic ally--how far is he or any American president from abandoning Israel? Just ask the people of Taiwan.
Religious leaders in the United States--rabbis among them--are understandably exercised over the issue of assisted suicide for terminally ill patients. One does assume, however, that even Dr. Kevorkian, the medical avatar of mercy killing, will only assist in the suicide of those whose life is unbearable. Why then, are Jewish religious leaders not outraged by the assisted suicide of a nation which was healthy, strong, thriving, and in control of its own defense and destiny?
In August of 1993, Israel was flourishing: its economy was improving with the Russian immigration providing a major inflow of technological talent; the army was fully in control of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza as the intifada had almost collapsed; committed Jews in increasing numbers were settling in their religious patrimony in places like Hebron, Beit El, Tekoa, Shiloh and Jerusalem; and, most important, while Arabs had not renounced their goal of destroying Israel, they had lost their Soviet sponsors. The expanding Jewish towns of Judea and Samaria were creating what the early Labor enthusiasts called a security belt for Israel. The surrounding Arab towns were likened to islands in a sea of Jewish settlements, able to thrive and grow, but not to mobilize. Furthermore, the Bush-Baker team, whose loathing of Israel was palpable, had been defeated by President Clinton, who seemed much more interested in focusing on domestic American policies than his predecessor.
But then a bipartisan public, deluded by his tough talk, taciturn style, and image of strength, elected Yitzhak Rabin. Oslo followed and Clinton understandably seized upon the opportunity to "solve" the Arab-Israel conflict.
One might have thought that the subsequent violence and terrorism, much, much worse than anything Israel had experienced before, would have appalled the peace groupies who cheered the Oslo accords and escalated their demands for more appeasement by Israel. At the very least, they might have been expected to see the danger in releasing and arming hardened Arab terrorists who then wreaked havoc in Israel's cities. But as we know, in reality they have been deaf to the PLO's
(Continued on p.12)
Outpost - 10 - July-August 1998