Friday, May 12, 2006

Meeting USA National War College delegation

(Improved New Edition) Yesterday morning, I went to Kuala Lumpur to have a 90-minute breakfast in Shangri-La Hotel with members of an US National War College delegation from Washington D.C. now visiting Malaysia. I was invited as an independent-minded writer from the civil society.

A senior editor of Utusan Malaysia and another Malaysian friend were also there to exchange views in a very honest and frank manner.

This is my second time of meeting, as an independent-minded writer from the civil society, members of US National War College delegations visiting Malaysia. The first one was on 19 May, 2003.

As an independent writer of strategic affairs, I was also invited on board to visit US aircraft carriers USS Kitty Hawk and USS John C. Stennis as well as the Seventh Fleet's command ship, USS Blue Ridge.

The warships were then passing through Malaysian waters at the Straits of Malacca in the period between 2003 and 2005. I have also been a five-term Honorary Vice President of the Malaysian Association for American Studies (MAAS), a non-partisan and independent Malaysian academic group for post-graduates in all fields and scholars who are interested in understanding American government, people and society in in-depth and rational manner.

I visited Washington D.C only twice in late 1990s as a senior Chinese-language journalist with Sin Chew Jit Poh which assigned me to participate and write about two international seminars on the development of media and inter-religious dialogue respectively. In 1997, I was on Sin Chew Jit Poh's editorial team to interview the then US Ambassador to Malaysia, His Excellency John R. Malott.

I have never received any scholarship or grants in any form from the US (or any other) government.

However, I have been invited to attend July 4 Celebration in Kuala Lumpur every year since mid-1990s. The American spirit of revolutionary armed struggle against British imperialism which ended in victory has always been inspiring to the oppressed people of the world.

The tremendous sacrifices of the American people and its armed forces, like those of the ex-Soviet Union and China, in defeating Japanese Militarism in Asia and German Fascism in Europe during World War II has also been most commendable and memorable.

Moreover, since my 5-year stay in Australia as a political science student, I have been reading many books and publications on the United States' foreign policies and national security thinkings.

Some of which, like the anti-communist paranoia and witch-hunt during the MacCarthy period, military involvement in Vietnam, its support for SOBs and oppressive as well as corrupt rightwing regimes in 'South Vietnam', Indonesia, Iran and the 'Banana Republics' in Latin America, I still cannot agree.

I must say I also worry in this age of its 'war on terror', the US would repeat its folly of giving uncritical support to a new generation of SOBs and oppressive as well as corrupt regimes in the Islamic or Muslim-majority countries in the tradition of the last Shah of Iran.

The one thing about Americans I absolutely love without apology is that they enjoy personal friendship even with people who often disagree with, or are critical of, their government's policies and leaders without malice.

Many of them also often actively seeking honest, critical or even contrarian opinions on their government's policies.