Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Nelson Report: NUC, Iran, Chen

Bad news from DC.....this week's Nelson Report discusses the dismal failure of Chen and the US to communicate at all, and the ongoing suspicion in Washington that Chen is clueless about the world. Why? Well, Taipei wanted a high-profile transit through the US the same week that the UN was considering US resolutions on Iran. Once again, Bush's Middle Eastern policies screw Taiwan. Meanwhile Taipei doesn't get how it stands in the scheme of things, whether it is Chen imagining that what he is doing is no big deal, or Ma Ying-jeou believing that anyone on earth outside the Blue Camp really gives a damn about the ROC.

The Nelson Report also confirmed that senior administration officials sent Chen to Alaska as punishment for the NUC decision, making hash of Taipei's claims that the NUC had nothing to do with it. Reality: the NUC decision was a monumental eff-up whose repercussions will be felt for some time to come. It is likely that we will have to wait

The report also added this:

It also sounds like Taiwan may be receiving some badly outdated advice on "what to do" about the decision, which is seen in Taipei as a calculated personal insult to President Chen...something Administration officials went out of their way to avoid, at least in any public statements.

The issue is more insidious than "bad advice." The Report's comment makes clear Blue strategy on the issue. The reason so many in the Blue camp harped on the "insult" issue is because by doing so, they drive a wedge between Taiwan and US policymakers. One of the long-term Blue goals is to degrade the US-Taiwan alliance so that the island can be moved into China's orbit. Chen's continuing problems managing this most crucial of relationships are not helping.

UPDATE: Jerome Keating asks a common question in the comments below:

Let me see if I get this right; no one gives a damn about the ROC, but if we scrap the NUC Guidelines, that are outdated, not used,and without a budget, all hell breaks loose and the State Department tells us to sit in the corner like bad boys. Am I missing something here?

To which I replied:

Nope. But the key issue was that Chen made that decision all by himself. According to people I know in MOFA, he never consulted his foreign policy people. And he never consulted the US.

It's OK to abolish the NUC. It is not OK to make moves that people outside Taiwan, who do not understand Taiwan, might get upset at.

Sure, the US way overreacted. But Chen could have prevented any reaction at all by consulting his partner -- by treating the US as a valued friend and ally, whom it would be prudent and fair to make happy.

The US is Taiwan's most important friend. Taiwan should be willing to go to great lengths to make certain it is not taken by surprise. That is both common courtesy and wise policy.

Chen has harmed relations with the US that he should be cultivating. Sad. Kathrin Hille had another one of her pro-Blue articles in the Financial Times yesterday, but the gist of it is correct:

“Mr Chen has managed to widely erode support in the most pro-Taiwan administration in recent memory,” said the US expert.

When Mr Chen earlier this year broke a promise not to scrap an advisory body responsible for working towards unification with China, US delegates were assured by his aides in private that his other commitments – such as refraining from declaring independence – were still valid. However, Washington subsequently found it impossible to get a personal confirmation of this from him.

“He says one thing and does another,” said the US expert. “He behaves like a lawyer”

Randall Schriver, former deputy assistant secretary of state, said US-Taiwan relations would now enter a “cooling-off period”, and Taipei needed to engage in close communication with Washington to stop an emerging “negative cycle” in bilateral ties.


I have no idea why anyone would ever think Chen would declare independence -- the NUC was picked because it had no concrete effect on the world. But the first sentence is correct: Bush came into office ready to support the island in every way possible. Even allowing for the malign influence of the KMT and its allies on the media and on Washington, there's no avoiding the conclusion that Chen was really screwed up relations with the US.

10 comments:

Jerome said...

Michael,

Let me see if I get this right; no one gives a damn about the ROC, but if we scrap the NUC Guidelines, that are outdated, not used,and without a budget, all hell breaks loose and the State Department tells us to sit in the corner like bad boys. Am I missing something here?

Jerome said...

Observation #2

We all know that many of the State Department's problems are of its own making, misinformation, and ineptitude.

This reminds me of the joke from Fiddler on the Roof.

A rich Jewish person always gives Isaac the Beggar 20 rubles when he passes him on Friday.
This week as he passes him, he gives him nothing, and says "Sorry Isaac, but I have had a bad week business-wise."
Isaac replies: "Just because you had a bad week, am I supposed to suffer?"

Echo said...

I am pro-green (dark-green for sure) but I also consider that what US did to President Chen is an insult -- as you suggested what blue camp would think and advocate. To me it's not only a personal insult to Chen but also an insult to all Taiwanese people.

I actually felt appreciative when President Chen decided not to swallow US's insult but follow his own course. After 6 years of "playing S.O.T of pan-blue section,"(S.O.T= son of turtle) he finally came to some sense and at least be able to display some dignity of humenbeing.

Certainly this doesn't mean that he will be able to keep that dignity when he faces pan-blue back home. But, at least, IMO, better than "playing S.O.T straight to retirement in 2008." It also ignites some spark of hope that he might be able to handle pan-blue like a green-supported President should have been handling.

Will Taiwan-US relationship go sour because of his action? I dont' think so. US has her own interests on Taiwan (especially the strategic role of having an ally on guarding china). Besides, there isn't much room for it to go even worse anyway...

:)

Michael Turton said...


Let me see if I get this right; no one gives a damn about the ROC, but if we scrap the NUC Guidelines, that are outdated, not used,and without a budget, all hell breaks loose and the State Department tells us to sit in the corner like bad boys. Am I missing something here?


Nope. But the key issue was that Chen made that decision all by himself. According to people I know in MOFA, he never consulted his foreign policy people. And he never consulted the US.

It's OK to abolish the NUC. It is not OK to make moves that people outside Taiwan, who do not understand Taiwan, might get upset at.

Sure, the US way overreacted. But Chen could have prevented any reaction at all by consulting his partner -- by treating the US as a valued friend and ally, whom it would be prudent and fair to make happy.

The US is Taiwan's most important friend. Taiwan should be willing to go to great lengths to make certain it is not taken by surprise. That is both common courtesy and wise policy.

Michael

Echo said...

But the key issue was that Chen made that decision all by himself. According to people I know in MOFA, he never consulted his foreign policy people. And he never consulted the US.

This is indeed the biggest problem President Chen has. IMO one of the ingredients of democracy is a proper spread and/or discussion of an idea before the final decision is made. President Chen's behavior pattern --- whatever decision I made you guys just follow --- of acting on impulse without consulting anyone is anti-democratic in nature.

"That is both common courtesy and wise policy."

You are not kidding, are you?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Michael Turton said...

iron, please find another venue for this stuff.

Michael

Anonymous said...

Go ahead.... keep deleting (my war with homo will not end)....

I will say what's on my mind.

"I actually felt appreciative when President Chen decided not to swallow US's insult but follow his own course. After 6 years of "playing S.O.T of pan-blue section,"(S.O.T= son of turtle) he finally came to some sense and at least be able to display some dignity of humenbeing."

So, when some low-life shit dare you to jump over a cliff to prove you are a man, you do it??

I tell you what a real Taiwanese man would do. He beats up that low-life shit and dump his body over the cliff because he is stronger and smarter than all of those low-life motherfuckers.

US and Pro-Taiwan bond must be strengthen at all cost not the other way around!!

Another word, find the correct places to strenghen your power base instead of cutting us, Taiwanese, off at our knee every goddamn time we are about to take off.

Iron_Jackal_TW

Anonymous said...

Michael:
Did u know that Libyan dictator Quadahfi actually received brief military training in Taiwan during the 1950s. He attended the "foreign friendship seminar"(遠朋班)of the"Political Warfare Academy"(政戰學校). Fellow dictator alumnus of the "foreign friendship seminar" includes Immanuel Noriega and Saddam Hussein. (Wonder where they learn to be dictators, huh?)

Anonymous said...

"Did u know that Libyan dictator Quadahfi actually received brief military training in Taiwan during the 1950s. He attended the "foreign friendship seminar"(遠朋班)of the"Political Warfare Academy"(政戰學校). Fellow dictator alumnus of the "foreign friendship seminar" includes Immanuel Noriega and Saddam Hussein. (Wonder where they learn to be dictators, huh?)"

1950!? Ask KMT, since they are in power back in those years!!


Look at this....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMJcdx5oZj4

See how they are trained not to be afraid of pain. Perfect for this kind of ROC people to crush into a tall building and blow it up along with these kind of people in it.


Pain is a good thing. It makes one value life around them. It also makes one actually think for once in their life with common sense!!

Iron_Jackal_TW