Friday, June 23, 2006

The Foreigner in Formosa: Johnny Rejects Isolationism

I am a little late with this, but considering all the discussions about North Korea, this commentary on China and Taiwan is well worth the read:

What got Johnny into such a state was Lind's suggestion that China's claims on Taiwan were legitimate, and that the U.S. should butt out.[snip]

Lind then tries to explain why poor little China will be forced against its will to put the Taiwanese in their place:

Taiwan is vastly important to China, because the great threat to China throughout its history has been internal division. If one province, Taiwan, can secure its independence, why cannot other provinces do the same? It is the spectre of internal break-up that forces China to prevent Taiwanese independence at any cost, including war with America.

Reality check here: Taiwan has NEVER been controlled by the People's Republic of China. Moreover, within the last century, Taiwan was only a part of a "Greater China" for a couple of years following World War II. That means that it's essentially been separate from Greater China for a hundred years now. And in spite of this, Communist China has miraculously managed to maintain its internal cohesiveness during its entire 50 year lifespan without collecting a single NT dollar in taxes, without imprisoning a single Taiwanese democracy advocate, and without murdering a single Falun Gong adherent.

Maybe, just maybe, it's an exaggeration then to say that Taiwanese independence is the single magical element that can bring the whole Chinese house of cards crashing down.

Finally, Lind raises the specter of a nuclear confrontation, which ultimately gets back to the familiar question about whether America is willing to sacrifice Los Angeles for Taipei. A Chinese general asked that a few years back, and Taiwanese (or are they Chinese?) commenters on Taiwan-related blogs ask it as well.[snip]

Is America willing to sacrifice Los Angeles for Taipei? My response is to turn that question, which is asked purely in an effort to demoralize, upon its head. What we really should ask is whether it is the Chinese who are willing to sacrifice Beijing for Banchiao***, or Shanghai for ShiminDing****?

If China is tempted to answer that irrationally enough, it may one day find itself boasting of its five thousand year history...while looking forward to nothing more than a fifteen minute future.

There is much more to read at:

The Foreigner in Formosa: Johnny Rejects Isolationism

I think the same question can be asked of Pyongyang. What are they willing to sacrifice for the headlong rush to Nuclear Proliferation.

A North Korean diplomat reportedly said Wednesday that his country wants talks with Washington over the issue, but John Bolton, U.S. envoy to the United Nations, repeated the U.S. rejection of that idea Thursday.

"You don't initiate talks by threatening to launch an ICBM," or intercontinental ballistic missile, Bolton said.

Instead, Washington wants Pyongyang to resume six-nation nuclear talks, which also include China, Japan, Russia and South Korea. The North has boycotted talks since November, angered by a U.S. crackdown on its alleged illicit financial activity.

Hopefully we asked that same question of Tehran and the Mullahs, who, I suspect, are actually very interested in earthly pursuits as much as heavenly rewards.

(As a side note, I think I am seriously tired of hearing about Iran's "nuclear rights". I know where that language comes from, but in the realm of "rights" that one could have and would be helpful in Iran, "nuclear" does not come to mind. In fact, "nuclear rights" is grotesque in the face of hanging sixteen year olds for alleged "adultery" from a cherry picker in the town square. How about some common rights like free speech, privacy, freedom to practice religion, freedom from arbitrary arrest?)

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