Bush Adminstration Not That Great for Asian Americans

February 22, 2009

Connie takes a look at Bush's policies after 9/11, which resulted in increased hate crimes and racial profiling against South Asians, who were often mistaken to be Middle Eastern or Muslim. The No Child Left Behind Act lacked sufficient funding for bilingual language programs, causing poorer
test performances and higher numbers of dropouts for Asian American

On the other hand, Bush did have more Asian Americans in his administration than any other president, including two cabinet members, Labor Secretary Elaine Chao and Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta. Bush's health care policies increased funding to organizations that served Asian American communities and many Chinese Americans approved of his handling of relations with China and Taiwan.

It was eight years of good, bad and ugly. Read all of Connie's analysis. Our publishing system does not allow comments on Web articles, so if you want to discuss the story, do it here.


Harry Mok

Editor in chief

Editor in Chief Harry Mok wrote about growing up on a Chinese vegetable farm for the second issue of Hyphen and has been a volunteer editor since 2004. As a board member of the San Francisco and New York chapters of the Asian American Journalists Association, Harry has recruited and organized events for student members. He holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where he was also a graduate student instructor in the Asian American Studies Department.



This Connie Zhang writer is gravely mistaken! Especially in the excerpt below on foreign policy.This journalism is poorly researched, and focuses on the "big dogs" of Asia: China and Japan.First off, the Bush regime's foreign policy in the Korean peninsula is overwhelmingly negative. The effects of the Bush regime are still present. Bush's policies in the Korean peninsula has led to more instability and tension.Under the Clinton administration, the US gov was able to work with North Korea, such that North Korea was ready to sign an agreement with the US: in exchange for food aid and other access to the aid market, North Korea would not develop nuclear capabilities.The Bush regime effectively reversed the years of progress that the Clinton regime had put into reaching this point with North Korea.The Bush regime reversed the years of progress because the politick of the Bush regime needed enemies for its "War on Terror". The Bush regime cut off exchanges, instigating negative US-North Korea relations.As you may recall, ever since the Bush regime named North Korea as a leg of the "axis of evil" triad, the politics of both North Korea and South Korea were changed forever.As a result, in the Korean peninsula, the Nobel-peace-prize winning efforts made under between the Presidents of South Korea and North Korea, were immediately no longer politically feasible nor savory. Because North Korea was now the 'evil' enemy of the US in the US's new "War on Terror," South Korea was forced to also abandon peace and reconciliation efforts, and downplay political relations with North Korea. Since Bush named North Korea as part of the "axis of evil," this effectively POLARIZED Koreans in Korea.Additionally, the Bush regime's appellation of North Korea as "evil," fundamentally changed the lives of Koreans abroad.For the first time, a person responding "Korean" to the question "what ethnicity/race are you," was then asked the follow-up question "north or south?" For the first time, you heard people very eager and quick to affirm that they were from "SOUTH korea," and not the 'evil,' 'commie' North.The Bush regime vilified North Korea to new extremes, not only in the eyes of the international community, but in the daily life of Koreans all over America.Sure, Zhang specifies the angle of US 'allies' in her analysis of Bush's foreign policy in Asia as mostly positive and strengthening.However, as we see in the example of Bush's foreign policies in the Korea peninsula, it is simply a lie to color "strengthening of the US-South Korea defense relationship" as a positive foreign policy. "Strengthening defense" means MORE MILITARIZATION and INSTABILITY in the Korean peninsula, not PEACE as per the previous Nobel Peace Prize trajectory.Furthermore, it is ridiculous for Zhang to say that the 2007 nuclear shut down program was a success, when BEFORE THE BUSH REGIME, North Korea WAS NOT EVEN NUCLEAR.This is ridiculous because the Bush Regime's "War on Terror" politick created North Korea as a nuclear power. First, the Bush regime vilified North Korea and abandoned the US-North Korea aid for non-nuclearization compact, which crushed previous US-North Korea relations. The Bush regime also encouraged the UN to institute an aid embargo to a struggling North Korea (as one may recall), and then drove North Korea to develop nuclear weapons as its only collateral in screaming out to an international community that isolated and ignored North Korea-- politically and economically (through the aid market).In sum, Connie Zhang made a major analytical error in her analysis of foreign policy in the Korean peninsula, and exercised deplorable journalism. She also did not address the Bush regime's foreign policy in South Asia, Southeast Asia, or Central Asia in her sweeping, broad, poorly-researched generalization of an immense region filled with numerous regimes and political ideologies.Thank you for reading. Please ask me if you have any questions.----Foreign PolicyVictor Cha, Georgetown professor and director of Asian studies, disputes the conventional wisdom that the Bush administration's policies in Asia have failed."Relations with Asian allies have deepened under eight years of Bush," Cha says.By achieving a cooperative and pragmatic relationship with China and by expanding and strengthening the alliance with Japan at the same time Japan and China were improving their bilateral relations, a US-China-Japan partnership has emerged that strengthens regional stability. The United States has strengthened its defense relationship with South Korea. On North Korea, the United States successfully facilitated the shutdown of North Korea's nuclear program in 2007.Bush came into office viewing China as a strategic competitor. Over the course of his presidency, Bush shifted in his approach, instead going for a more results-driven and practical approach that strengthened the prospects of peace and stability.US-China relations have been at their best since the two countries normalized relations, says L. Ling-chi Wang, professor emeritus in Asian American studies at the University of California, Berkeley.Fareed Zakaria, noted foreign policy scholar, journalist and author, has credited Bush to have sided with China on the issue of Taiwan in a more direct manner than any previous president, enabling better US-China relations.In fact, Wang regards Bush's stance on Taiwan as one of his presidency's few accomplishments."Bush has succeeded in doing what all previous presidents were unable to do - removing Taiwan as a thorn in the flesh," Wang says. "It was the only thing he did that did not go down the drain."During his presidency, Bush indicated strongly to Taiwan that the United States would not support Taiwan should then-President Chen Shui-bian try to push for independence. "Bush realized Chen Shui-bian was trying to provoke a conflict, potentially a war, between the US and mainland China and Bush put an end to that," Wang says.By siding with the Chinese, Bush, in effect, removed one of the biggest thorns between the two countries' relations. At the same time, the removal has strengthened the unity of the Chinese American community at home and significantly reduced the tension between the China and Taiwan, Wang says."Tension between China and Taiwan directly impacts the Chinese American community because the community cannot be united on any issue as a result of this conflict," Wang says. "In the past, the tension has been there because US containment policies encouraged Taiwan to provoke China, leading to erupting tensions."