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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Africa and Taiwan (Hedge it, don't wedge it)

China's growing stake in Africa changes the calculation of our relationship with Taiwan, and our Big War force in general.

"Hedging" against Chinese aggression to Taiwan by maintaining, and publicly emphasizing, our naval deterrent is important. China invading Taiwan would be a disaster similar to Germany invading Belgium in 1914: whether there is a response or not, a stable world system ends.

That said, China's investment in Africa essentially means that Beijing is opening up a "second front" against the Gap: not only is globalization not Americanization, the globalization of the gap will not primarily be because of Americans: it will be because of new Core powers like China.

Clearly, the worst thing that could happen would be if Chinese and American influence in Africa turn against each other, and lead to the destruction of governments in the way that American influence took down the Soviet, British, French and French colonial and neocolonial regimes. Thus, we need to be careful that our "hedge" around Taiwan doesn't become a "wedge" in the shrinking of the Gap.

Diplomatically engaging China over absurd or wrong policies is good, but the military should not be part of the toolkit. Pressing Beijing over its persecution of political dissidents, religious minorities, and others is good: pushing China in a way that alters her posture in Africa is not.

All talk of a "hedge" against a rising China must be balanced against the concern of putting a "wedge" in our efforts to shrink the Gap.

20:09 Posted in Africa, China | Permalink | Comments (35) | Tags: taiwan

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A New Asia, Part I: Friends

A number of unfortunate stories out of Beijing these days, two being China promotes Taiwan-focused military officers and China rejects use of sanctions to resolve Myanmar crisis. While neither are new developments (the Communist Party has protected the Burmese junta and opposed Taiwanese democracy for some time), the decision to look to the past says little about the strategic wisdom of the Hu Jintao Presidency.

President Hu has not lived up to the high expectations set for him. In spite of personal squabbles with former President Jiang Zemin that just don't end, the current generation of Chinese rulers are no more imaginative than the last. Things aren't getting better with respect to China's international behavior, but they aren't getting worse, either.

A sensible approach would be to assume that China's cautious glidepath toward development will remain unchanged. So we should keep growing trade links with China, and of course encourage helpful behavior from them. But we shouldn't have naive dreams, either. China is developing, but she is not a democracy. She has people, but does not have the security experience of India. She has wealth, but does not have an ocean of free capital like Japan. She has culture, but nothing like the vibrant democracy of Taiwan or the captive city of Hong Kong.

American policy in western and central asia should focus on the economic integration of China and the security integration of Japan, Taiwan, and India.

In both cases, the prime obstacle is the Democratic Party. But that is a post for another time...

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Chinese (the Nationality and the Languages)

Sun Bin, a fine blogger, and I have been hanging out at Tom Barnett's and Catholicgauze's blogs. Some excerpts

From Thomas P.M. Barnett :: The Weblog:

Besides being bad in itself, sacrificing the security to a multiparty because a party dictatorship is insulted is not a lesson we want to teach Beijing. And especially not when the dictatorship's arguments boil down to racial politics for an offshore state that was ruled from the mainland for all of one thousand days in the 20th century.

From Geographic Travels with Catholicgauze!:

Sun Bin is referring to Zhonghua Minzu, the Chinese Nation. As it was developed, it referred to all ethnicities within the border of the late Qing Empire. (Similar to America's focus on nationality by land and not blood). Of course, since that time China lost Mongolia and (for a few hundred days) gained Taiwan, so "Chinese Nationalists" may now exclude Mongolia and incorporate China.

Read the whole things!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Against Amoral Realism on Taiwan

"Taiwan: The Tail That Wags Dogs," by Michael Turton, The View from Taiwan, 26 July 2006, http://michaelturton.blogspot.com/2006/07/taiwan-tail-that-wags-dogs.html.

Later today I will be going on my third Greyhound voyage this month. The first was from Omaha, Nebraska, to Fort Wayne, Indiana, and the second was from Fort Wayne to Nacogdoches, Texas. Now I am going to The Good Life, Nebraska, possibilities...endless. But before I go, something more serious:

Flag of Democracy

Below is an excerpt from an attack on a report by Rear Admiral Michael McDevitt (retired), of CNA. Admiral McDevitt wrote a report, Taiwan: The Tail That Wags Dogs, for the National Bureau of Asian Research. McDevitt pushes the same fear of Taipei's influence that some other strategists do, so I am grateful to Michael Truton of The View from Taiwan of highlighting the reports rhetorical slights-of-hand.

An except:

Instead, Taipei's new guidelines accepted the PRC as the legitimate government of the part of China that Beijing controlled. This move effectively nullified the underlying premise of the 1972 Shanghai Communique that "Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that it is a part of China." As Harry Harding has stated, "Taiwan basically abandoned the vision of one country, one legitimate government that had been pursued by Chiang Kai-shek, Chiang Ching-kuo, and for that matter Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping." The 1991 Guidelines for National Reunification softened the political blow of backing away from the old formulation of "one China" by stating that the ROC still envisioned a "one country, one system" future but only when the PRC had become"democratic, free, and equitably prosperous"—just like Taiwan.


This move effectively nullified the underlying premise of the 1972 Shanghai Communique that "Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that it is a part of China."

Whoa! McDevitt does not add that prior to the Shanghai Communique the US position was that the status of Taiwan was undetermined (the ethically, democratically, and politically appropriate position). McDevitt does not add that Shanghai Communique was a memorandum of understanding among two governments about the status of Taiwan, neither of whom was the legitimate owner of the island, and none of whom consulted its people about its disposition. If don't get the consent of those whose lives and property you dispose of, you are hardly in a position to complain if they later decide your plans are worthless. But then the Czechs were not invited to Munich either....

In other words, Taiwan democracy is not the problem here. The problem is that the original plan to sell out Taiwan to China failed to take into account the wishes of the people of Taiwan, and policymakers are now paying the price for their urgent need to enjoy that feeling of Playing God with Other People's Lives. It was easy in 1972 to anticipate that the Taiwanese would take steps to avoid being annexed by China if given democracy, as that was known to both the Chiang government and to US policymakers (lobbying for Taiwan independence began in the 1960s, and there were numerous public and secret reports that gave accurate accounts of the island's political attitiudes). McDevitt represents a foreign policy establishment that resembles a man who becomes infuriated that the marriage he arranged for his daughter to make himself rich has been rejected by her.

Essentially, this analysis simply blames the people of Taiwan for the errors of US foreign policy decisionmakers. Had the US maintained its original position that "the status of Taiwan is undefined", it would currently have a great deal more strategic flexibility and it would still retain the moral high ground. It would not be locked into the clearly unacceptable goal of "pushing Taipei into a unification dialogue in order to bring an end to Washington's 50-year security obligation." Kissinger, not Taipei, trapped Washington in this moral and political nightmare where it has to sell out a democratic state to an authoritarian dictatorship.

Read the whole thing. The Mandate of Heaven is also impressed.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Taiwan, a Quasi-Trusteeship under United States Military Government within the United States Insular Law Framekwork?

Two fun Taiwan pieces today. First, The Korea Liberator wonders if there was a failed Taiwanese coup in 2004. Second (and also from TKL) -- is Taiwan American soil?

Let's look at Taiwan. All military attacks against Taiwan during the World War II period were conducted by the United States, so the U.S. is the "conqueror." The surrender of the Japanese military forces in Formosa was on Oct. 25, 1945, thus beginning the military occupation, and the administrative authority for this military occupation was delegated to Chiang Kai-shek (aka the Chinese nationalists or Republic of China). The treaty between the U.S. and Japan came into effect on April 28, 1952. Japan renounced the territorial sovereignty of Taiwan, but no receiving country was named. The Republic of China flag should have come down at this point.

While the KMT (Chinese Nationalist) "white terror" in Taiwan was nothing compared to the CCP (Chinese Communist) "red terror" in China, it is a mistake to think that either were popular parties in their respective countries.

Some have criticized Taiwanese plans to change their official name to Republic of China (Taiwan). How ironic if the Taiwan Republic was never Chinese at all...

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Asian Geopolitics Roundup

Korean troubles, Chinese scheming, Perisan bloggers, and more! May 3rd, 2005:

Korea: Josh at OFK Fisks the New York Times' Nick Kristoff's criticism of Bush's Korea policy. Not that the Souks are helping. Between media lynching American servicemen and curtailing the free press, Seoul has other dreams than being a liberal democracy.

Willl South Korea lose face if its soldiers liberate Nork concentration camps? And if that day does not come soon, who will be the next Pyongyang despot?

China: DU notes that Chinese military jets are flying closer to Japan. If Beijing isn't careful, Tokyo could do something drastic like ditching Pacifism. Or even a revolution at home.

Other Chinese endevours are smarter. Beijing is trying hard to woo the Taiwanese, but apparently not the Maoists. Simon reports that scary Philippine rebels are upset that China abandoned Maoism. I imagine Beijing's reaction would be the same as when the Nepalese crazies said the same thing: You guys are violent, but Mao was never violent.

Iran: From South West Asia, Younghusband at Coming Anarchy looks at Iranian bloggers.

On the lighter side, Mutant Frog offers tips for killing a hooker and getting away with it... eek!

Monday, May 02, 2005

Asian Geopolitical Review

Korean Appeasement, Chinese Energy, Taiwanese Politics, Nepalese Democracy, Canadian Demographics, and more!

Korea: Josh at OFK notes the ruling Appeasement Uri Party lost big in the bi-elections. But as the government could not have changed, was it just a protest vote?

Curzon at CA argues we should nuke Pyongyang. That might make their South Korean allies angry.

Maybe it would be better just to tell other countries we are mad at the Norks? That's the Japanese plan.

China: Danwei has more of the Nationalist Party of China-Chinese Communist Party meeting. Meanwhile, China snags a pipeline from Russia, meaning Beijing gets oil before Tokyo. Not quite as geogreen as earlier Chinese energy decisions, but sprining from the same needs. Maybe Peking's new Russophiles should read the new blog that Zen Pundit discovered today?

Taiwan: On my computer, the website for the pro-Taiwan Independence Democratic Progressive Party says "Democratic Progressive Party"... in English. Geolocation? Or do the Taiwanese just like the look of our words? They certainly don't like the look of pro-Chinese politicians. In "one-country two-systems" news, the Communists deny delay direct elections for Hong Kong yet again.

Nepal: Bill at Dawn's Early Light seems more good news from Nepal. Things in the mountain kingdom have been looking up.

Canada (?!?): Will British Columbia's Asian population make it closer to Seoul and Beijing than Ottawa?

Blogosphere: Simon has new Daily Linklets.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

May Day Blog Asia

Indian corruption, Japanese billionaire-murderers, Korean soccer shenanigans, and angry Chinese...

Bill at Dawn's Early Light blogs on Indo-Japanese Connectivity and corruption in New Delhi's arm purchases. Hopefully nothing like that is going on in Bollywood.

North of India, are good times returning to Nepal?

Is Japanese Billionaire Nobutada a serial killer?

The ever-friendly Norks fire a missile at the Sea of Japan, and are fined by FIFA for the Pyongyang Soccer Riot. Curzon at Coming Anarchy notes that South Kotea is stepping up to held its old "friend."

Perhaps the Indo-Japanese deal isn't for nothing.. Japan's drilling very close to Chinese oil waters under the name Imperial Oil

Quizas notes that Taiwanese anti-KMT protestors were more violent than Chinese anti-Japanese protestors. And what to regular Chinese think of Koizumi?

Riding Sun takes a photo

Monday, April 25, 2005

Iraq "Girls Gone Wild" Parody Video and the KMT Visit to China

I was delighted to find "Iraq Girls Gone Wild," a hilarious parody video. Aaron and Jim may recognize this as "Bulgarian." Everyone else knows it as "funny" -- an a commentary on a repressed land and how it must change.


22:10 Posted in China, Humor, Iraq | Permalink | Comments (2) | Tags: taiwan, kmt, satire, parody

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Epic Post on China / Taiwan

"Winds of Change Challenge (Bringing It All Together)," by Bill Rice, Dawn's Early Light, 13 April 2005, http://dawnsearlylight.blogs.com/del/2005/04/winds_of_change.html.

An epic post on China, Taiwan, India, Japan, Australia, the United States, and peace in Greater East Asia and South Asia.

From a comment in the ensuing discussion

Thank you for your thoughtful comments. My point is not that the US will work against China per se, but work with like minded countries (not pawns... I think I clearly attempted to list each nation's self interested reason for cooperating with the US position) to contain China from acting out aggressively towards Taiwan. Through this manner and engagement with China diplomatically we can wait out the clock for a more free China.

Exactly right.

Read it.

Update: Per request, my comment on the article

Great post. Your comment that through "this manner and engagement with China diplomatically we can wait out the clock for a more free China" is exactly right. I agree with your conclusions, but I'd like to comment on some of your supporting claims and implications

Just as Japan was able to strike quickly at Pearl Harbor, China may be able to strike quickly against Taiwan, but like Japan circa 1941, China does not have the access to oil and the ability to hold off a militarily superior United States.

The problem goes beyond oil -- like Imperial Japan, Communist China does not have access to the outside world in a conventional war with the United States. The US Navy and US Air Force would be able to quickly shut down Chinese lines of communications to almost everywhere. Assuming both sides has the resolve to accept the military loses and the responsibility not to use conventional weapons, the situation would quickly deadlock in a stalemate militarily advantageous to the United States (China having a huge army..... in China).

On the mainland the People's Liberation Army is militarily undefeatible, even with a total blockade.

Such an extended conventional war is unlikely with Beijing, but (barely) possible.

While the United States did help promote democracy during the Cold War, it did not do so with the passion and energy our nation needs to now pursue it. The Cold War was about pragmatic compromises, supporting unsavory dictators as well, especially in the Middle East, to keep countries in the US sphere rather than the Communist sphere.

In a post Cold War world, where different ideologies dominate the world debate, the old paradigm of working with unsavory nations cannot continue to ensure US security.

Between the Cold War to Globalization era, America switched from a negative to a positive foreign policy. As I blogged earlier

The Soviets were attempting to connect as much of the globe as they could to their command-and-control economy. For them this was a future worth creating. Reagan didn't have a future worth creating. He saw a future worth destroying. We sought to disconnect every state the Soviets connected, and we succeeded.

Bush, with Clinton's help, switched America from being anti-Communist to pro-Open-Society. There were just as many ideologies during the Cold War, but our relative weakness, our main enemy's strength, meant we focused on his destruction.

If the US fails to defend a democratic Taiwan from China then it destroys any credibility won in the War on Terror with other nations. If we fail Taiwan what is our response to Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, Ukraine, Japan, Australia, our European allies, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and many other nations that depend on American security?

While China may be a problem for the United States, it is not a threat to globalization itself. China's future worth creating is a lot like ours, only with differente emphases. bin Laden's hopeful future is a nightmare. China is a developing authoritarian state that is slowly opening up. Saudi Arabia is terrible awfulness, in country-form

It would be possible to America to abandon Taiwan and maintain momentum in the Global War on Terrorism. We could make a trade with Beijing for abandoning Taiwan, and structre the trade to keep up the forward momentum.

It would be unwise, but it possible. Our response to Saudi Arabia and others would be "China is not good but getting better, you are terrible and getting worse."

Additionally, allowing China to take Taiwan by force would automatically make the 21st Century a Chinese Century, as the ability for the US to promote and defend global security would crumble. Any century that has a non-free government as the apex of the international order will not be a century of peace, economic development and the expansion of liberty.

A historical analogy is useful. Would the 20th century have been better or worse if the Britain did not intervene to save Belgium? We would have had a authoritarian-Germany-dominated trade-oriented Europe. Berlin would have torn Russia apart, crushed the terrorist states in the Balkans, isolated Paris, and probably back democracy in Belgium significantly. Instead, London saved Brussels and we got Lennin, Stalin, and Hitler for our troubles.

China is "good enough" to be the major player in Greater East Asia. It's not the future I want, but it's not necessarily bad.

Elsewhere in your post you mention that China's strategy may be to make a quick negotiated settlement favorable to Beijing. If that happens it is important that we will have thought about the consequences clearly.

Because of Japan's fears of a rising Chinese dragon, they have extended their military relationship with the US to include defending Taiwan. If war was to break out in the Taiwanese Strait, the economic engine of Asia and possibly the world would grind to a halt. It is in Japan's long term political, national security and economic interests to work with the United States in providing a proper deterrent to China. It is encouraging that Japan has boldly taken this step

Good point. Assuming a conventional naval start, international sea lanes would quickly be taken by America with China's navy destroyed. America would be dictating when and where trade continues and resumes. While mercantile cowardess leads nations to favor peace at almost any cost, American force rebalances the equation in favor of our interests.

While a popular Indian worry about any future US arms deal would be the possibility of another arms embargo, as happened with India and Pakistan over the 1996 nuclear testing. This scenario is unlikely to repeat itself, because the US strategically needs New Dehli and New Dehli is not likely to start a war with Pakistan.

Kind-of related, especially where Taiwan is concerned. North Vietnam invaded the South in 1972, and lost. America's left-dominated Congress then imposed a de-facto arms embargo on Saigon, and two yeras later Hanoi easily won. Beacuse of the influence of a small but powerful left, America has won a reputation for perfidity. India (and Taiwan) are both taking this into account.

The United States along with democratic countries in Eastern Asia have an opportunity to build a constructive alliance to deter China from seeking its goals militarily, but they must act now and wait for an emerging dragon to reform democratically.

Exactly right.

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