Thursday, December 21, 2006

Two Parter from Dreyer

The Taipei Times plays host yesterday and today to a two part series on US policy toward Taiwan from US expert June Tefel Dreyer: The Fictional Status Quo Part One and Part Two. Way cool; she references the local Chinese language blogosphere:

Taiwanese bloggers became similarly angry over a previous Ma use, or, as they felt, misuse, of the term "status quo."

One of them complained that it was just a trick to appeal to moderate voters who were opposed to the KMT's previously stated position of eventual unification, and to distance himself from the KMT's hard core, some of whom cling to the hope that their party will be able to take back the "mainland."

Another said: "Who knows what this [status quo] means?"

The answer sounds damn good as an excuse for doing what you want while sounding moderate.

And concluding....

To briefly address the second point mentioned above, about the inevitability of change, it is generally understood that people and nations have to make changes or pass away. They must be able to adapt to both internal changes and those imposed by the external environment.

To quote Burke again: "A state without the means of some change is without the means of its own conservation."

As long as the international community chooses to allow the PRC to define unacceptable change, so that Taiwan is warned about holding a referendum, or to change a Constitution written in the mid-1940s for a government on the "mainland," while at the same time the PRC is given to understand that an arms buildup is natural and that fear of China's anger is sufficient reason for the global community's acquiescence in continuing restrictions on Taiwan's ability to function internationally, good men are doing nothing.

In essence, the status quo is being used as a pretext for a return to the "decent interval" that Henry Kissinger seems to have envisioned.

Lots of US officials over here with warnings recently. Must be music to the ears of the Blues. Dreyer's analysis of US official confusion over the Status Quo is one I made myself a while back and that has occurred to thoughtful people many times before (Taiwan Communique from April -- What Status Quo is the US Preserving?)-- the Status Quo is like pornography, we know it when we see it. Fundamentally, the Status Quo for America means no change, for Taiwan, no being annexed to China, and for China, Anything It Wants. That is why, ultimately, there is no status quo.

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