May 31, 2002


THE CHINA SYNDROME: Reader Mark White points out on the Comment board below that William Safire is also concerned about China's role in the nuclear tinderbox. Safire argues that Pakistan could pull China into a war on India, who could in turn call on Russia. (This seems plausible to me partially because it happens all the time in Civilization III, but lest you think I'm now making geopolitical judgements based on a computer game, I should note that this happens in History a lot, too-- see especially the First World War.)

Asks Safire regarding cooling the tension, "where is diplomatic help from the nation that made Pakistan a nuclear power, and with most influence on its leaders? That's China." Well, as I've said, I certainly hope I'm wrong that China wants nuclear war on the Subcontinent.

Safire commits a moral-equivalence faux pas, in my book, in the next sentence: "Time for a call from Dick Cheney to his counterpart in Beijing, Hu Jintao, the man chosen by China's rulers to take over from Jiang Zemin."

His counterpart? Half the American electorate voted for Cheney's ticket. No Chinese ever cast a single ballot for Hu. I guess it's considered impolite to very loudly tell (mostly) friendly dictators that their rule is illegitimate, but come on, "counterpart?"

Posted by John Tabin at May 31, 2002 07:56 AM