ShareThis Page

The Max Baucus conflict: It's too serious to confirm him as U.S. ambassador to China

| Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Just whose interests would Sen. Max Baucus represent as U.S. ambassador in Beijing — America's or China's?

President Obama last month nominated the Montana Democrat, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, as America's next ambassador to China despite a troubling backstory. What's truly worrisome is Baucus' advising the nonprofit U.S.-China Policy Foundation.

U.S. subsidiaries of state-owned Chinese banks and companies have funded annual foundation galas. Among them is Huawei Technologies, which poses a national security risk, according to a 2012 report by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. It cited the ability of the company's telecommunications equipment to send sensitive data to China if it's installed by U.S. companies.

An unnamed China expert links the policy foundation with a “new pro-China lobby” that functions as “an echo chamber for Beijing's interests,” The Washington Free Beacon reports. That lobby is currying favor with the U.S. business community, which wants easier access to Chinese markets and presses Congress to favor China.

The conflict of interest Baucus would have as U.S. ambassador to hostile, Communist-ruled China is blatant enough that he shouldn't have been nominated. It's so blatant that he shouldn't be confirmed.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.