My Take

The Hong Kong pan-dems and the United States neo-cons

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 June, 2014, 3:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 23 June, 2014, 3:00am

Is this what Beijing means by foreign interference?

The local press has unearthed a close relationship between Next Media boss Jimmy Lai and Paul Wolfowitz, the former number two in the US Defence Department under George W. Bush. The buddies recently spent five hours together off Sai Kung on a luxury yacht. By Lai's own admission, the two have long been close friends.

But the reports barely scratch the surface. US neo-conservative heavyweight Ellen Bork is a good friend of Democratic Party founder Martin Lee Chu-ming, and also his former aide. When she returned to the US after the handover, she joined such neo-con hotbeds as the Project for a New American Century and Foreign Policy Initiative; many of their associates played key roles in the Bush administration. Bork, daughter of the late conservative judge Robert Bork, had in the last decade repeatedly urged Washington to intervene through the Hong Kong Policy Act.

The neo-cons were also sympathetic to Taiwan independence. Early on during Bush's presidency, according to the defunct Congressional Quarterly, those at the Pentagon under Wolfowitz and his boss Donald Rumsfeld were sending signals to president Chen Shui-bian to encourage his pro-independence stance but were stopped only after Bush intervened.

Meanwhile, Lai's right-hand man, Mark Simon, is the ex-head of Republicans Abroad in Hong Kong. Imagine how Americans would react if Jeff Bezos, new owner of The Washington Post, had a top aide who was a card-carrying Chinese Communist Party member and spent five hours entertaining a former deputy Chinese defence minister on his luxury yacht on the Potomac.

A leading neo-con intellectual and an architect of the disastrous Iraq invasion, Wolfowitz, like that other great diplomatic intellectual Henry Kissinger, proved to be terribly wrong, costing countless lives and suffering. Both would be war criminals if they weren't protected by Uncle Sam. Wolfowitz later made a mess as World Bank president where he was too busy fighting corruption in developing economies rather than helping them develop. He quit after he gave his girlfriend a pay rise and a promotion.