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Selling China The Rope To Hang Us

October 19, 2009

Art. 3 Sec. 3 – Treason: aid and comfort to an enemy.

Selling China The Rope To Hang Us

IBD: 19 Oct. 2009

National Security: On the eve of a visit by China’s No. 2 ranking military officer, the Obama administration loosens export controls on technology that will benefit Chinese missile development. It’s deja vu all over again.

The Pentagon has announced that Chinese Gen. Xu Caihou will visit the United States and meet with Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Oct. 26. Xu is vice chairman of the People’s Liberation Army Central Military Commission. While here, Xu will visit American military installations around the U.S., including the U.S. Pacific Command.

Perhaps Xu will bring with him a note of thanks for the administration’s decision to shift authority for approving sales of missile and space technology from the White House to the Commerce Department. As Bill Gertz points out in the Washington Times, the little-noticed “presidential determination” made Sept. 29 alters a key provision of the 1999 Defense Authorization Act.

That provision required that the president notify Congress whether a proposed transfer of missile and space technology to China would harm the U.S. space-launch industry or help China’s missile programs. It was enacted after a Clinton-administration scandal in which U.S. companies were allowed to transfer technology that jump-started a troubled Chinese missile program.

After the failed launch of a satellite built by Loral Space and Communications Ltd. and attached to a Chinese rocket in February 1996, Loral provided 200 pages of data to China’s Great Wall Industry Corp. to correct the guidance system problems of their “Long March” rockets, which blew up 75% of the time. Hughes Electronics was also involved in the technology transfers.

On March 14, 1996, the Clinton administration transferred licensing responsibility for technology exports to the Commerce Department from State and Defense and, as a result, our formerly strict export controls were effectively eviscerated. This transferring of licensing responsibility was made after a request from a man who would be the Democratic Party’s largest donor in 1996 — Loral Chairman Bernard L. Schwartz.

A May 1997 classified Pentagon report concluded that Loral had “turned over expertise that significantly improved China’s nuclear missiles” and that “United States national security has been harmed.”

According to the Pentagon, the technology that improved the Long March satellite launcher has also made the Dong Feng ICBM series more lethal.

The move to shift technology export controls back to Commerce comes not long after the Chinese successfully tested a ground-launched anti-satellite weapon.

It follows a military parade celebrating 60 years of Communist rule. On display were 108 missiles of various types, including some designed to end U.S. dominance in the Western Pacific.

Military analysts strained their necks to see one new Chinese missile, the land-based DF-21, the world’s first ballistic missile capable of hitting a moving target at sea. The conventionally armed missile has maneuverable warheads and a range in excess of 1,000 miles.

“Investments in cyber and anti-satellite warfare (by China), anti-air and anti-ship weaponry, and ballistic missiles could threaten America’s primary way to project power and help allies in the Pacific — in particular our forward air bases and carrier strike groups,” Gates recently said in a speech to the Air Force Association.

“It is shocking,” said Gary Milhollin, director of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, “that it (technology controls) would be delegated to the secretary of commerce, whose job it is to promote trade, rather than to the secretary of state or the secretary of defense, who have far more knowledge and responsibility within their organizations for missile technology.”

Edward Timperlake, a Pentagon technology-security official under George W. Bush, said of the policy shift: “It looks like we’re going to have Loral-Hughes part two.”

Indeed, under the guise of space cooperation, we appear to be about to repeat the mistakes of the 1990s, when our technology flowed to the Chinese, allowing them to fix and modernize their ICBM force.

During his visit, Gen. Xu will have a chance to see the carriers and other warships in the U.S. Pacific Fleet — or as the Chinese might call them, thanks to periodic infusions of U.S. technology, targets.

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