Marc Carlisle: If only they awarded medals for human rights
“77 days to go!” Just ask the five Fuwa, Beibei, Jingjing, Huanhuan, Yingying, and Nini, the official mascots of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China. The Fuwa (if you say their names in succession, you will also have said ‘Welcome to Beijing!’), seek to unite the world in peace and friendship through the Olympic spirit, and spread the Beijing 2008 theme of One World, One Dream to every continent.
That’s the official hope and the official mantra of the Chinese government for these Olympic Games. Unofficially, no one has yet said or explained exactly what one dream will unite the continents, or the kind of world, only one world mind you, around which China hopes to unite us all. If the United States had any such high minded agenda in 2002 at the Winter Olympics at Salt Lake City, no one can quite recall, and if One World, One Dream was on the Italian agenda at Turino, no one cared.
John Birch would have cared. If you remember John Birch, perhaps were or still are a member of the John Birch Society, please sit down before you fall and break a hip.
The Society, a very conservative organization, was created to organize citizens to fight what the Society perceived as threats to American independence and the Constitution, especially from Communists and Communism in the Far East.
Among those threats to all we hold dear was China, or more accurately, the People’s Republic of China, Red China, Mao’s China. In the 1960s, it was an article of faith among conservatives that the one true China was not to be found on the mainland, but offshore on the island of Formosa, also known as Taiwan, in the person of Chang Kai-shek and the Republic of China.
While most Americans remember, to tangle Adlai Stevenson’s words, that we stood toe to toe in a nuclear showdown with the Russians over Cuba in 1962 and the other fellow blinked, we have forgotten that on multiple occasions we stood toe to toe with fingers on nuclear triggers with the People’s Republic of China over Quemoy and Matsu.
Consider yourself a shoo-in for “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?” if you know what they are as well as who John Birch was. And what does this have to do with 2008? Well, as recently as last fall the two Chinas were close to using all their considerable weaponry, including weapons of mass destruction in the form of nuclear warheads, to settle the latest dispute over which was and is the true China.
While the People’s Republic of China is not as communist (whatever that means) as it was in the 1960s, we and Taiwan are still joined in a diplomatic rarity in American foreign policy, a mutual defense pact whereby if Taiwan is attacked we will come to her aid.
In the 1960s, George Herbert Walker Bush was a member of the John Birch Society and, as most Republicans did in that era, saw only one true China on Taiwan.
George W. Bush, on the other hand, will attend the Beijing Olympics in 77 days, will voluntarily travel to Beijing in the waning days of his Presidency knowing that he will step into one steaming pile or another at every turn.
Tiananmen Square, child labor, copyright infringement, abuse of women, Tibet, the list of grievances that the free world has with Beijing is long, and unchanged in thirty years. Still he will go, to the China that matters, having forgotten that other China, a place forgotten even by the John Birch Society.
But Beijing has not forgotten Taiwan, and if One World, One Dream has any meaning to the organizers of these Games, it’s surely One World, One Dream, One China, a People’s Republic of China. While the medal count is important, it’s only a part of Beijing’s agenda for these Games. In his official talks, the President will plead for a floating exchange rate for the Yuan and a reduction in China’s enormous trade surplus which Beijing will confidently rebuff.
He’s not likely to mention Taiwan as a courtesy to his hosts, but without his concern and our protection, Beijing may feel free to forcibly realize One World, One Dream, One China.
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