It is increasingly clear that President Bush bought China’s “cooperation” on Iran.

What the price tag is, no one is quite sure.

But I wouldn’t want to be in Taiwan’s shoes right now. And it will certainly cost the United States plenty in the future when the inevitable showdown comes between America and China.

China surprised many last week when it announced it had no major differences with Washington in its bid to get the United Nations involved in the standoff over Iran’s nuclear weapons program. But China continues to insist it opposes sanctions against Iran. Because China has veto power over such sanctions, analysts assume Beijing may abstain on such a vote in the Security Council.

While the Bush administration is congratulating itself over this “diplomatic coup,” it’s really not such a mystery as to what happened.

The U.S. sold out Taiwan.

Days before the development, the United States condemned with harsh rhetoric talk by Taiwan’s president, Chen Shui-bian, about a declaration of independence by the free nation constantly threatened with invasion by Beijing.

It was a cowardly act – a betrayal of the very principles upon which our own nation was founded.

But, it seems, the United States may have given up even more than Taiwan.

At a public forum in Manhattan, Kansas, recently, Bush was asked a great question: What do you plan to do to contain China’s geopolitical ambitions?

Bush didn’t answer the question.

Instead, he explained that it is in America’s best interest to help China expand its economy.

“It’s really interesting,” Bush said. “Do you realize that it takes China 25 million new jobs a year to stay even? Think about that. I’m out here blowing when we get 4 million. This guy (Chinese President Hu Jintao) needs to get 25 million a year.”

Bush said the answer is for America to “share technology with China so they become better users of energy and better protectors of the environment.”

What China needs to improve the plight of its people and its environment is to abandon the failed experiment with command-and-control socialism that has created a nightmare world of totalitarianism for more than 1 billion.

President Reagan rejected similar policies toward the Soviet Union and created the conditions that resulted in the Evil Empire imploding of its own dead weight in a peaceful revolution. Reagan rejected the failed policies of the past in which the United States tried to “help” the Soviet Union with bailouts and other random acts of kindness.

China is the Evil Empire of the future. You don’t have to be a prophet to see it. You only need to be a student of history.

Bush’s feeble remarks suggest he thinks the United States should follow the policies of Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter rather than Ronald Reagan in dealing with the next great threat to America’s future.

Some say we can’t deal with China firmly now because we are fighting a global battle against Islamo-fascism.

Yet, in ignoring China’s military expansion, its threats against Taiwan, its threats even against the United States, we serve only to ensure a costly battle against the expansionist power in the future. We are making our worst fear a virtual inevitability.

If we want to prevent war with China, the best way is to be resolute, stand on principle, be strong and never back down.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Appeasement never works.

Ronald Reagan, who would have turned 95 this week, would not be happy about this turn of events.

It’s not Bush’s job to worry about the Chinese economy. It is his job to worry about U.S. national security.

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