SIGN IN to access Harper’s Magazine
1. Sign in to Customer Care using your account number or postal address.
2. Select Email/Password Information.
3. Enter your new information and click on Save My Changes.
Subscribers can find additional help here. Not a subscriber? Subscribe today!
Did Donald Rumsfeld and his Neocon all-star team of Wolfowitz, Feith, Cambone and DiRita – with backing from John Bolton at State – actually attempt to provoke a war with China? Did they do their best to stir up President Chen Shui-bian and his Taiwanese independence movement to derail U.S.-Chinese relations? This is the charge that Colin Powell’s chief of staff, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, has leveled. And he’s being backed up on every word by the diplomat who would have been best positioned to know, the senior U.S. envoy to Taiwan in the period.
With the election of George W. Bush in 2000, some of Taiwan’s most fervent allies were swept back into power in Washington, particularly at the Pentagon, starting with Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld. They included such key architects of the Iraq War as Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy defense secretary, Douglas Feith, the undersecretary for policy, and Steven Cambone, Rumsfeld’s new intelligence chief, Wilkerson said. President Bush’s controversial envoy to the United Nations, John Bolton, was another.
While Bush publicly continued the one-China policy of his five White House predecessors, Wilkerson said, the Pentagon “neocons” took a different tack, quietly encouraging Taiwan’s pro-independence president, Chen Shui-bian. “The Defense Department, with Feith, Cambone, Wolfowitz [and] Rumsfeld, was dispatching a person to Taiwan every week, essentially to tell the Taiwanese that the alliance was back on,” Wilkerson said, referring to pre-1970s military and diplomatic relations, “essentially to tell Chen Shui-bian, whose entire power in Taiwan rested on the independence movement, that independence was a good thing.”
Wilkerson’s parting comment is telling. “They are dangerous men who will lie about almost anyone or anything,” Wilkerson angrily responded by e-mail, singling out Feith, DiRita, Cheney and Rumsfeld for scorn.
Indeed, the record isn’t closed on that, but the record supporting Wilkerson’s charges is pretty heavy at this point.
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — August 5, 2016, 12:08 pm
Sidney Blumenthal on the origins of the Republican Party, the fallout from Clinton’s emails, and his new biography of Abraham Lincoln
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
Average percentage by which the amount of East Coast rainfall on a Saturday exceeds the amount on a Monday:
Dry-roasting peanuts makes eaters likelier to acquire an allergy.
Trump said that he might not have been elected president “if it wasn’t for Twitter."
Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!
"It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of one’s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many times—in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis."