US policy on China

The front page article "Bush, Congress Clash on China," Feb. 27, According to the article, the Bush administration and that Congress is extremely upset over China's continuing practice of selling lethal weapons abroad. Congress the author's words "Playing the 'good cop' is President Bush, who says that the only way to convince Chinese leaders to curb arms sales and human rights violations is through a policy of quiet persuasion."

This implies that United States foreign policy is aimed at preventing the spread of lethal weapons sales and protecting human rights. Many Americans wish the preceding were true, but, sadly, reality indicates otherwise.

As a student of international studies, sources I've read indicate that between 1969 and 1988 China was the world's sixth-largest arms exporting nation with cumulative arms export sales of approximately $15 billion, just behind West Germany. The US during this period exported $149 billion worth of arms making it the second largest arms exporter behind the Soviet Union.

These figures indicate that in dollar terms the US exported nearly 10 times as much lethal weaponry as China during the same period. At present it appears that the US will become the world's No. 1 arms exporter, as the Soviet economy has been devastated.

I believe the real concern is that China is unfairly moving in on American arms markets and outbidding the Americans. Because arms sales have become such a large percentage of US exports, coupled with the fact that American weapons must be more expensive than their Chinese equivalents, US exporters may be threatened by the potential loss of sales.

Unfortunately, the US is not a much better example at protecting human rights, either. Our government does not live up to the concern many of the American people have regarding human-rights violations. And reports of human-rights abuses by US Border Patrol officers and members of the US Immigration and Naturalization Service only contribute to an already poor perception of US policy.

Americans should not be misled by the term 'good cop' in reference to Mr. Bush and American policies. Brad Heising, Santa Barbara, Calif.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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