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Brave New World: Your turn

Selected readers of Michael Moran’s Brave New World column respond to his piece on avoiding anti-China hysteria.

My May 24 column has inspired an enormous and conflicting range of responses. Out of approximately 300 e-mails, I’ve asked a small representative group of Brave New World readers for their permission to have their responses reprinted - and in some cases, their e-mail aliases - so the dialogue can continue.

FIRST SOME pertinent information. Here’s the , The real national security threat, which generated these responses. Enjoy. Interact. And to those whose email was too insulting to reprint, take a pill.


It does make a kiloton’s worth of difference because it indicates American apathy. The Chinese move slowly and are behind the times, but they consider each move carefully. If they were to form an alliance with Russia and with alienated Arab states, you might not have a job. As usual, we are our own worst enemy. The lapses undermine key principles of freedom. They reveal flaws in our national character. Others will exploit these as long as we fail to deal with them sharply. It may have

been too long since we faced hardship for us to guard freedom. It won’t take us long learn this lesson if we actually lose our freedom. I pray not.

However, maybe what we fear most is the loss of unhindered material prosperity. This is a by-product of our forefathers’ simplicity and work ethic. What will be bequeath to our children? Rusted out Volvo’s and cell phones which have no system to work on?

Tim Stidham

——-Original Message——-

From: David Graf []

Sent: Thursday, May 27, 1999 10:21 AM

To: Michael.Moran@MSNBC.COM

Subject: Cox Report Column

My father got the chance to patch up people while under fire in Korea thanks to the Chinese. You might think that this would make me hostile toward China especially with the Cox report, but that’s not the case at all. I think we ought to take the rational approach you recommend and ask ourselves some questions. I’m not sure why we are blaming China for following our own example. Don’t we spy on other countries and steal their secrets? Don’t we bribe politicians in other countries for our purposes? China’s simply done what we would have done ourselves. The real question is why it was so easy for China to take advantage of us. Great column!

Dave Graf


Mr. Michael Moran,

As always, you hit the right point of view not right or left. What is right, you write.

Espionage between nations, even our allies, is a common everyday experience. No Chinese agent even has been charged yet. Yes, our security was very lax, and it must be tightened as it is now after two decades.

You are right, with all the knowledge the Chinese have supposedly gleaned, they do not nearly approach the threat of the uncontrolled and underworld sales out of the former Soviet Union arsenal. Chinese can only gain power over the Far East if other nations in the Far East (including Taiwan) and the Pacific Alliance (including Canada, Mexico and United States) allow it.

The one item that you column did not mention which maybe you will deal with in a further column is the sale of sensitive technology by private companies for profit. No matter what strings are attached to using this technology in a way that would be available to other foreign nations, including China, is impossible to enforce with the super multinational companies of today who can funnel it through many different means and countries to make their profit regardless of the cost to United States’ security. Another column, Mr. Moran?

Again, thank you for your usual lack of hysteria in the current media frenzy

about the Cox Report.

Grieg Leonard

Atlanta, GA

——-Original Message——-

From: Johnny Blair []

Sent: Thursday, May 27, 1999 4:01 AM

To: Michael Moran

Subject: The Real National Security Threat!


Dear Mr. Moran;


I agree with your conclusion and rhetorical question. However, in my humble opinion, you bumped into a few trees whilst meandering through the forest. Your various arguments are based upon the premise that Chinese national ambitions are a like-for-like replacement for the big, ugly, Soviet Union as protagonist in the ring of super-power confrontation. Sort of like WWF tag team matches. I disagree with the premise. I believe that China today has only one, very focused, goal; to force the United States into a check-mate decision regarding nuclear war or negotiated surrender of Taiwan.

I believe that China’s definition of “the world” does not exceed the borders of the Khan empire (see, history, 1275). In my opinion, China will only seek three nuclear targets; Tokyo, Taipei, and Los Angeles-San Diego.

The big question is, will the United States president order massive nuclear retaliation while he/she knows that those three targets are surely to be lost? Or, more likely, surrender Taiwan, in a Hong Kong-style negotiated settlement for the good of the Chinese people and world peace.

The eastern United States will be reluctant to launch a nuclear war to avenge Los Angeles. (If a well targeted neutron bomb is aimed at the entertainment industry, I too will be reluctant.)

As you point out, commercial engagement with China is in the best interest of the United States until the first shot is fired. Today, China sells one-third of it’s exports (read, hard currency) to the United States. Recent history (1921-1941) tells us an ostracized nation, suffering a trade embargo (oil & iron/steel to Japan) strengthens the “no-other way” hard-liners. This mentality is necessary to start a terrible war. China is not, and never will be, a direct threat to the security of the United States. The end game is Taiwan. We, in the United States need a serious and vigorous debate about the United States commitment to defend Taiwan.

The stakes have been raised greatly by China. Now is the time to review an Eisenhower era commitment to Taiwan. I believe that China will go to the brink of nuclear war to gain Taiwan. Is the United States prepared to go to the brink to prevent the loss of Taiwan from the “free-world”?

Silly questions that I will answer for myself:

* What did they know and what did they do about it? (Berger should get the Ollie North treatment by Congress.)

* How is it possible that a wheezing, Clinton political hack can veto a career professional’s disclosure report to an oversight committee of the congress solely for political gain? (She should go straight to jail, for life.)

* How is it possible that Attorney General Reno can block an FBI counter-espionage investigation solely for political gain? (She should resign.)

* Is it possible that Secretary Richardson will continue his Clinton-speak until someone finds the next blue dress? (Yes.)

Best regards,


MS Outlook 2000

from sunny & warm

San Diego, California

——- Original Message ——-

To: ‘Robert Wright’

Sent: Thursday, May 27, 1999 9:50 AM

Subject: RE: Your May 24 Article - The real national security threat

——-Original Message——-

From: Robert Wright []

Sent: Thursday, May 27, 1999 1:10 AM


Subject: Re: Your May 24 Article - The real national security threat

For What It’s Worth -

We are indeed naive to believe we are not subject to being ‘spied upon’

continuously by the Chinese, Indians, Russian Federation, or even Japan,

France, and Great Britain. Every nation has some intelligence apparatus in

place and they do not direct their efforts and resources on information they

already know. We must realize we are and will remain the object of espionage

and act accordingly.

From: James E. Zamkotowicz []

Sent: Wednesday, May 26, 1999 12:09 AM


Subject: COX report


>As a US citizen the recent events are suprising in that I can not believe that with so many “Inteligence” agencies this was not discovered until a walk-in droped the information onto the CIA’s doorstep. I find it scarey that while china was able to so easily pry our secrets from us and we were unable to stop it using counter inteligence. Worse still, OUR inteligence efforts were unable to find out what operations china conducting in the


As a history major, I now find it all the more terrifying that undeveloped countries have more advanced armaments. Many of the weapons are so dangerous (such as the Neutron Bomb) that even though the US has the designs, we

have never deployed them. China is notorious for allowing weapons proliferation,

and the thought that a terrorist could come into control of such a device is a truly frightening idea.

The only remaining question I have is: While the COX report addressed the nuclear ramifications of the espionage, I would like to know that security has not been breeched at facilities such as US AMRIID where information is stored that could concieveably destroy all of civilization within days. (rather than the mere single city that a nuclear warhead can destroy.)

Thank you for your time.



James E. Zamkotowicz

>——-Original Message——-

>From: Music of China []

>Sent: Thursday, May 27, 1999 11:08 AM


>Subject: Cox Report from the eyes of a Chinese Scientist


I have read your opinions on Cox report and wish to make my comments on Cox



1. Cox report would be a very good report if it had been written by a high school student as his summer assignment, and I would give it a mark of B if I were a high school teacher. The reason of giving out B rather than A is due to the excessive length of the report. American tax money would be saved significantly if someone in the committee knew how to write a short report.

2. Based on my knowledge of the topic (even as a person without any military background), the report demonstrates a very poor understanding of the committee as to the structure and the way of China in developing high technologies for military applications. The information delivered from the report is rather general with no depth in most cases. The analyses on theinformation is non-professional and sometimes very funny. In summary, the committee had actually got no clue at all about how China develops it high technologies. It is more a political report written by a politician rather than a technical and professional report. I fully agree with James Liley that one should kick out the political spirit from the report, and let professionals deal with the real issues behind the report.

3. There is a Chinese saying: “you get melons if you seed melons in soil, you get beans if you seed beans in soil”. If the U.S. sees and treats China as an enemy, then China perhaps would become the enemy to the U.S. On the other hands, if the U.S. does see and treat China as a partner, then China would become the partner. To most Chinese people and perhaps the Chinese government, Cox report is nothing but an add-on to the shames that they have had since the Chinese embassy bombing. Will the U.S. benefit from makingChina as an enemy? I don’t know.

4. Just in case that you are wondering about my background, I obtained my B.Eng. at the age of 18, and then M.Eng., and then Ph.D.. I am now a Vice President of Research at an international chemical company. Every time when you stop at a gas service station to pump gas to your car, 85% of chances are that the gasoline tanks underneath you are being protected with the technology that I have designed. So I am not a Spy but indeed a scientist from China who has made a solid contribution to the U.S.

——-Original Message——-

From: Griffith []

Sent: Thursday, May 27, 1999 3:39 PM


Subject: Noble vision gone awry

Dear Sir: As a diehard Replublican it hurts me to hear someone tell the truth about my party. Let me say that I’m also guilty of the same attitude. I think that it is only the dislike and distrust of this President, that drove us to these feelings. I found myself hating everything that Bill Clinton did, even if it might be good for my country, which I love so dearly. Is Clinton a traitor? probably not. Is Bill Clinton incompetent in some foreign areas? Absolutely. Bill Clinton has always hidden behind women’s skirts, and now he can’t. All politicians lie at one time or another, Bill Clinton makes it a habit to lie,even when he doesn’t need to. I believe that he

has caused a rift in this country, like his generation did 30 years ago. Those people, who made me feel guilty for serving my country 30 years ago. It just seems ironic that he would be sending troops to a war. Because of people like you, my attitude has changed. Now I believe All Americans need to pray for our nation and all of it’s leaders. Our great nation will survive

Bill & Hillary, and waffling, vengeful Replubicans.


San Antonio, Texas

p.s. Great article(as usual)

——-Original Message——-

From: David Stovall []

Sent: Wednesday, May 26, 1999 11:30 AM



Mr. Moran,

You wrote:

“If the United States crawled into an isolation cell, drastically cut defense spending and strategic weapons research and stopped watching China with its intelligence agencies, then China might catch up with us - in, say, 20 years.”

This is exactly what Clinton has done! The Navy is barely one half of its strength 10 years ago! The Army, Air Force, and Marines are in the same situation!! Good God, man! You scream that all guns are evil and that the people should be disarmed and at the very same time Bill Clinton is selling the secrets to the biggest gun of them all to the Chinese who in turn sell them to other countries that are openly hostile

to the United States! Is it going to take a nuclear tipped weapon exploding over some US city to convince you. If you don’t think that 20 inter-continental ballistic missiles aimed at our cities are a threat, then you are a fool!

The Chinese will use these missiles to intimidate the rest of the world while they overrun Tiawan, Korea, and just about any other country they please. Wake up!! You have the biggest gun of them all pointed at you head!!

David Stovall

——-Original Message——-

From: John West (DS)

Sent: Wednesday, May 26, 1999 12:47 PM

To: Moran, Michael

Subject: RE:The real national threat.

Michael, as usual you’ve pointed out eaactly what the rest of the media seems to be missing. I’d like to think that the outcome of this would be some firings, and some new procedures and on with life. But I think you suggested what’s likely to happen. More lame attempts to politically sack the president even though he’s proven that while he stinks as a leader, when it comes to political manuvering for his own benefit, beware.

keep up the good work.

John West

Michael Moran is MSNBC’s International Editor