Listen to Idahos ultra-conservative Sen. Larry
Craig on the subject of mainland communist China and he sounds like liberal President Bill
"We cant tell them (China) how to run their politics,"
Craig mused last week for members of the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce, "but we can
gradually influence them through trade."
And Idahos man in Washington is gung-ho, too, for Beijings
Red rulers to be inducted into the World Trade Organization (WTO), which is outright
anathema to some of his brethren on the rigid right.
Its not that Craig has undergone a millennial epiphany.
The explanation is strictly bu$ine$$.
"About one-third of everything Idahos workforce produces has
to be sold in a world market to sustain our economy," Craig added.
So, Craig acknowledges that a vital export market for Idaho is the
worlds largest, most brutal tyranny. Huge business deals have a way of uniting
liberals and conservatives with a tyranny.
Visions of profits have a lot more appeal than old saber-rattling
East-West Cold War slogans.
But American politicians are an inconsistent lot.
The same Larry Craig who champions trade with a country responsible for
the organized extermination of tens of millions of its citizens and the brutal seizure of
Tibet is mute on the topic of trade with communist Cuba.
Again, simple explanations.
Cubas 11 million citizens arent much of an export market
now, compared to Chinas nearly 2 billion people.
So, without a big trade loss by isolating Cuba, Washington politicians
can pose as being incensed with Fidel Castros pipsqueak dictatorship, and thus
appease the Florida-based Cuban American National Foundation, second only in foreign
policy influence to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which lobbies Congress
in behalf of Israel.
Founded in 1981, the CANFs late leader, Cuban exile Jorge Mas
Canosa, paralyzed Congress with blather that more tough policies will topple Castro.
So, the Republican Senateof which Sen. Craig is a staunch
membermindlessly ratified the silly Helms-Burton Act that prohibits trade with Cuba,
even as U.S. companies rush to sell farm produce, high-tech equipment, airliners and
satellite components to the more brutal Red Chinese.
The logic for the U.S. embargo of Cuba is balderdashthat
Castros human rights abuses are unspeakable, his lack of free elections
unconscionable, his military menacing.
Castros human rights violations are almost undetectable next to
the brutal reign of China, which has never held free elections and whose military is one
of the worlds most threatening.
So, to make themselves sound tough and to mollify Cuban exiles,
Washington politicians provide political life support for misbegotten policies that have
failed to oust Castro after 40 years and reveal the hypocrisy of their trade policies with
the worlds bloodiest dictatorship in China.
Pat Murphy is the retired publisher of the Arizona Republic and a
former radio commentator.