The Obama administration has established a new (even lower) standard for kowtowing to Beijing. In the first instance, the White House has decided against selling Taiwan 66 new F-16s the government in Taipei has been asking for over the last few years. With an aging inventory of Taiwan air force fighters and the continued buildup of Chinese advanced air defenses, fighters, and fighter-bombers, the sale was absolutely essential if the deteriorating air balance over the Taiwan Strait was to be addressed.
Ignoring his legal obligations under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act to provide Taiwan with the military equipment it needs to maintain its self-defense capabilities, the president has allowed Chinese threats of a rough patch in relations to dictate American -security policy.
The second matter was the backgrounder given to the Financial Times last Thursday in which “a senior U.S. official” trashed Tsai Ing-wen, the leader of Taiwan’s opposition party, the Democratic Progressives, and its candidate in this winter’s presidential election.
“She left us with distinct doubts about whether she is both willing and able to continue the stability in cross-Strait relations the region has enjoyed in recent years,” the official told the Financial Times after Tsai met with administration officials, knowing full well that this would be read back in Taiwan as a sign that, if the Taiwanese people want continued help from the United States, they had better not choose her to be their next president.
You don’t get much more blatant than this in trying to interfere in the elections of -another democratic country. And, again, all in the name of trying to assuage Chinese Communist “worries” that an independent, sovereign, and democratic Taiwan might choose to be headed by someone who believes that -Taiwan should not be thought of as a province of the People’s Republic.
Pretty shameful stuff. America’s other democratic allies in the Asia-Pacific region will -surely take note as they ponder whether Washington is to be trusted to stand up to the bullying tactics of Beijing.
The Upward Mobility of the Academic Left
The Scrapbook was thumbing through the Washington Post the other day and stumbled on a mildly unpleasant surprise, a name that hadn’t registered in a good many seasons: Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole.
The last time The Scrapbook was reading about Dr. Cole in the Post was in November 1992 when, as president of Spelman College, she headed one of the “cluster” teams for President-elect Bill Clinton’s transition. The clusters were charged with identifying and recruiting personnel for incoming cabinet departments, and Cole (according to the Post) was “cluster coordinator for education, arts, labor and humanities” and odds-on favorite to become secretary of education. Then, as now, the Post had little specific to say about Cole except that she was an anthropologist by training and something of an academic vagabond, having taught at UCLA, Washington State, the University of Massachusetts, Hunter, and Emory before landing at Spelman, the historically black women’s college in Atlanta.
It was then that Cole’s upward mobility momentarily ground to a halt. For (no thanks to the Post or any other major news outlets) it was soon discovered that, in addition to being an academic administrator and corporate board member, Johnnetta Cole was also a lifelong left-wing political activist and self-described “revolutionary,” with a particular predilection for Communist regimes, especially the one in Havana. She had been a member of the National Committee of the Venceremos Brigade—an outreach project of the Cuban intelligence service—and a reliable public voice on behalf of Fidel Castro and Marxist-Leninist insurgencies in Africa, as well as something of a racial philosopher. White Americans, she had written,
know that racism is a necessity for the continuation of their system of economic and political exploitation. And those who rule this country know also that when a people develops a firm anti-racist and anti-capitalist ideology and practice at home, this same ideology becomes a cornerstone of their international practice.