China's American enablers
The apparent success showcased by China's ability to shoot down one of its own weather satellites using a land-based ballistic missile sent Washington a number of signals.
First, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) intends to contest U.S. supremacy in space.
Second, China has the billions of dollars required to support development of the technology, procure and ship the raw materials and train the manpower for such a challenge.
Third, China's leaders see that their economic strategies to undermine the United States are effective and that now is the time to challenge U.S. hegemony in the Pacific.
As China's message becomes understood, there are many questions to have answered -- most especially by Beijing's friends in the United States.
Less than a week after a Chinese Feng Yun rocket littered space with the remnants of their weather satellite, Hillary Clinton announced her intention to seek the Democrats' presidential nomination in 2008. She forgot to mention that when husband Bill was seeking the presidency, she ran with him, as an unofficial partner-president. "Two for the price of one!" was the slogan.
The Clinton administration and his Democratic Party accepted massive campaign contributions from Loral Space & Communications, Hughes Electronics and other firms. Between 1993 and 1996, the administration allowed the export of ballistic-missile technology to Beijing. In 1996, Bill Clinton personally approved the launch of four communications satellites on Chinese rockets.
Once Hillary captured her U.S. Senate seat, she received, in 2003, $10,000 from the New York state company, Corning Inc., which manufactures fiber optics. A month later, the senator announced legislation related to reducing diesel pollution that would benefit Corning with millions of federal dollars. Corning increased its donations and, by 2004, Hillary was attempting to persuade the Chinese government to relax tariffs on Corning's products.
To get what she wanted, she involved the Chinese ambassador and President George W. Bush. As a result, Corning, a staunchly Republican company, held a fundraiser for her, resulting in thousands of dollars for her campaign.
As Hillary Clinton campaigns, she will expect the usual adulation from union members who have forgotten that from 1986 until 1992 "their Hillary" served on the board of the dreaded Wal-Mart, the union-busting behemoth that does more business with China than all but four countries in the world.
Then there is Hillary's good friend and relative-by-marriage, Sen. Barbara Boxer, whose husband Stewart is a board member of the China Ocean Shipping Organization. Barbara's colleague, Sen. Diane Feinstein, is married to the owner of Newbridge Capital Corp., Richard C. Blum, who has made many millions in very lucrative deals with the Chinese government.
Back in Washington, we find Henry Kissinger once again and in his 84th year, serving as the adviser to the president, while his company, Kissinger Associates, is advising most of the government's agencies with potentially contrary advice.
And in Washington is the attractive and intelligent Elaine Chao, the U.S. secretary of Labor, who led protests against the Cox Report on Chinese espionage in America, which she described as "racist."
Secretary Chao is a Taiwanese immigrant.
Elaine Chao's father, James S.C. Chao, was a school friend of China's President Jiang Zemin at Shanghai's Jiao Tong University in Shanghai. He remains in regular contact with President Jiang. James Chao escaped to Taiwan, moved on to the United States, where he was joined by his family, including Elaine, then 8. He now lives between New York and Shanghai as founder of the highly successful ship brokerage and agency Foremost Maritime Corp. It does most of its business with the Beijing government.
Elaine Chao is married to Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and also was director of an insurance company that jointly owns a Lippo Group subsidiary with the Chinese government. Lippo, it may be recalled, is controlled by the Riady family and was at the center of the Clintons' Chinagate fundraising scandal.
U.S. Senate documents made public in 2001 showed Mitch McConnell's wife, Elaine, had been, for the preceding four years, a board member of the Birmingham, Ala.-based Protective Life Corp., holding 7,000 shares. Protective Life is associated with Chinese insurance companies in Indonesia and China, including China Resources Holdings Co., an intelligence-gathering front for China's PLA.
In many parts of the world, particularly Afghanistan and Iraq, our military is surviving thanks to our satellite technology. China's satellite-killing capability has shown a new level of risk made a reality by those who believe that China has only peaceful intentions for the remainder of the century.
More and more questions Sen. Clinton and her Democrat friends will be unwilling or unable to answer.
Dateline D.C. is written by a Washington-based British journalist and political observer.