On China: Why Won't the GOP Defend U.S. National Security?

Just found this interesting William R. Hawkins piece, from July: China: Why Won't the GOP Defend U.S. National Security?

"Yet, there is also an influential segment among Republicans who are abandoning the national security base of the party in order to cozy up to transnational corporations – whose weakness on defense issues is just as marked as that shown by the political left...

The power of this pro-China business lobby is very strong among the Republican leadership in Congress, where the lust for campaign funds rules the agenda and the powerful House Ways and Means Committee (which controls trade policy) serves as the legislative arm of the Fortune 500.

Consider the recent behavior of the committee’s chairman, Bill Thomas (R-CA) in regard to House initiatives to curtail Beijing’s advance.The House voted on two measures to block the state-owned Chinese National Overseas Oil Company from buying out the American oil producer Unocal as part of its global strategy to gain control of natural resources. One was a non-binding resolution (H. Res. 344) stating the obvious: that “a Chinese state-owned energy company exercising control of critical United States energy infrastructure and energy production capacity could take action that would threaten to impair the national security of the United States.” This resolution passed 398-15, but Thomas was one of the 15 “no” votes. Also among the 15 were Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA), chairman of the Government Reform Committee, and Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT), chairman of Davis’ National Security Subcommittee.

A more substantive action was an amendment to the Transportation, Treasury and Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill (H.R. 3058) “to prohibit the use of funds from being made available to recommend approval of the sale of Unocal” to CNOOC. This passed easily enough, 333-92, but 71 of the “no” votes were Republicans, including Thomas. This means that as a party, the Democrats showed more concern about Beijing than did the GOP.

...The House GOP leadership knows something must be done to meet the raising concerns of its rank-and-file conservative members regarding the Chinese onslaught. But they want to do as little as possible, and nothing that will upset the Fortune 500. "

Read rest here.

I had the pleasure last year of having a couple of detailed conversations with Hawkins, whose views are well-informed and full of exhaustive detail. We spoke mainly of the decline of the U.S. industrial base. Cheney by the way, cited this as a serious issue back in the '80's. Unfortunately, his office did not get back to me on what he had done about it. Now of course, we have the truly surreal situation of the U.S. buying defense materials (including rare earth items) from China instead of the U.S. because they can get a better deal. Part of that is labor costs, but part of it is mines located right next to manufacturing plants. While we are shutting factories down, moving them to China, and shutting mines down or making mining in some qaurters as difficult as possible here. (Our draconian mining regulations keep companies waiting for as long as 8 years to find out if they can get a permit, and there's no 'tracking' mechanism to allow them to follow progress of their application.)

Hawkin's thought-provoking archive is here. Posted by Picasa