Friday, February 16, 2007

Taiwan: the threatened democracy

Matthew Greenwich of Taiwan Journal reviews the new book Taiwan: The Threatened Democracy by Bruce Herschensohn...

No stranger to government, Herschensohn's career took him from the U.S. Information Agency--the now-defunct institution dedicated to public diplomacy--to the White House, where he served as a deputy special assistant to President Richard Nixon. Starting in the present, he opens the book with a segment from President George W. Bush's 2005 second inaugural address, in which the president called for actions with the ultimate goal of "ending tyranny in our world." Immediately following this quote, any perception that Herschensohn would treat civil servants kindly is quickly dispelled, as the first chapter fires a salvo against the State Department, which is shown no love throughout the book. He constructs fictitious dialogues--though he claims they are based on actual conversations--between Foreign Service officers, in which they reject the president's comments as naive. State Department employees, the author writes, are often at odds with the president as they prefer stability, while presidents often pursue change. Even the military understands the capabilities and the threat of China, but the State Department, it seems, would rather keep its head in the sand.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Someone who takes the U.S. State Department to task is indeed on a worthwhile mission in my humble estimation.

This all too powerful branch of government runs the world and dictates to the president of the U.S.

I have recommended on several occasions to our congressperson that the Secretary of State should become an elected position instead of an appointed one.

I hope this correspondent also take Henry Kissinger to task for his role in the rape of Taiwan's sovereignty.

Arty said...

Everything is about "American Interest!" Personally, I hated that term. I think it should be replaced with "American principles." However, I think people can predict US action very well based on "American Interest."