Chris Lu was born June 12, 1966 in New Jersey. In 1974, his family moved to the Fallsmead neighborhood of Rockville, Maryland, where he grew up. Lu is the son of Eileen and Chien-Yang Lu, both of whom are of Chinese descent and lived in Taiwan, but immigrated to the United States to attend college during the 1960s. Lu's grandfather, Wang Ren-Yuan, was the attorney general of the Republic of China from 1960 to 1966 and served as first Representative of the Legislative Yuan from Tianjin District during the period of Kuomintang rule in China. Lu said he was heavily influenced by his father, who worked as an electrical engineer but loved literature and history; the two would read biographies of famous statesmen together and watch the evening news together every night.That's what we need: another individual from an old KMT family around Obama.
Over at CSIS Bob Sutter has a piece asking about the direction of US policy.
Consultations among policy experts in and out of U.S. government and recent developments suggest that the longstanding notion of U.S.-supported balance in the Taiwan Strait is no longer viable in the face of ever-increasing Chinese influence over Taiwan. Policy experts in the camp of presidential candidate John McCain and others argued for a robust buildup of U.S. support for Taiwan to counter what they viewed as adverse trends toward greater asymmetry between Taiwan and China. But this approach has been overshadowed by more pragmatic and immediate concerns in Washington and Taiwan regarding fostering positive relations with China and avoiding disruptions in recent reassurance efforts regarding Taiwan.The Washington Establishment is now attempting to adjust itself to the new reality. They wanted Ma and got him, and now they are losing influence over the Taiwan situation -- Taiwan is moving into China's orbit -- as anyone with a still-functioning brain could have predicted. Note that while on the surface the document appears to ask how the US should adapt to the situation, it actually labels the idea of working to sustain US influence over Taiwan "unpragmatic", which is the Ultimate Sin in foreign relations. It merely wonders how this should be explained to Congress, which appears to subscribe the bizarre idea that the US should maintain its influence here. What weirdos congressmen are....and look too how Sutter more or less announces: the Status Quo no longer exists. What is to replace it?
Some officials and policy specialists in Washington and Taipei privately say that recent easing of tensions and cross-Strait trends work well for longer-term U.S. interests regarding Taiwan. They assert that support for those trends should supersede traditional U.S. concern with sustaining balance. That case has not yet been made effectively by the U.S. government. The argument also is not well understood by many congressional officials as well as media and other representatives with an interest in U.S. policy toward Taiwan who still see U.S. interests based on seeking appropriate balance that is influenced by the United States.
Against this background, it appears that needed adjustments in U.S. policy include:
*A review of U.S. policy options that takes account of the full implications of China’s markedly increased influence over Taiwan along with the perceived benefits of reassuring Beijing in the interests of cross-Strait stability.
*If, as seems likely under prevailing trends, this review determines to put aside or seriously modify the longstanding U.S. emphasis on sustaining a balance of influence in the Taiwan area favorable to and heavily influenced by the United States, U.S. policymakers need to consult closely with, educate, and persuade congressional, media, and other representatives with a stake in U.S. Taiwan relations on the benefits of the new approach.
China Security offers lots of useful stuff.
Michael Richardson, now with the Boston Progressive Examiner, but a former correspondent out here, reports that Ma's PhD thesis is a mess (the Taipei Times picked up the report today):
Ma's thesis is filled with errors, mistakes, misspellings, misattribution, missing words and grammatical problems. The thesis contains over 1,000 errors that violate Harvard's writing guidebook for incoming freshmen students.He's writing an PhD thesis in a second language? Of course it is going to be a mess....let's wait until there is something substantive to report.
A retired schoolteacher looked up Ma's thesis because she was interested in his views on the Senkaku Islands. The former teacher was shocked by the sloppy scholarship and got out her red pencil. She spent a year studying the thesis, checking out all the footnotes.
The teacher has not yet found plagiarism but with misattributed material and footnotes that do not check out she is suspicious and continues digging into the academic paper.
Like any good teacher, the tireless researcher took her concerns to Harvard where she was directed to Ma's faculty advisor, Detlev Vagts. Professor Vagts is retired and conveniently didn't keep a copy of the thesis he approved.
Charles Freeman, our new NIC chief-to-be, gave his chilling views on Taiwan in 2000. Some of these words you know, some might be new:
Reunification on terms like those proposed by Beijing would threaten no American or allied interest. It would not entail a presence of the People’s Liberation Army in Taiwan. There would be no change in north-east Asian strategic alliance or balance. It would not alter Taiwan’s ability, the ability of the voters in Taiwan, to elect their own leadership and govern themselves. It would not affect Taiwan’s economy or way of life. It would not deprive Americans of any of the human ties we enjoy with people on the island. It would, however, eliminate the only conceivable cause and venue of armed conflict between the United States and China. And it would maximize the influence of the values Taiwan exemplifies on the mainland.ROFL. Each one of those points is comprehensively incorrect, as we are now seeing. Thankfully, the Freeman appointment is coming under review from Congresspersons who, surprisingly are concerned about his business gonegations with the Middle East:
In a letter today responding to 10 congressmen led by Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) who have raised concerns about the appointment of Chas Freeman to chair the National Intelligence Council, Edward Maguire, the inspector general of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, has written that he is reviewing the matters they have raised.Kirk's press release is online here. Do we really need a man who sat on the board of a Chinese petroleum company as our National Intelligence Chief? Is there no one else in the US who can do this? UPDATE: The Peking Duck has a thoughtful opposing view.
"We are examining the matters you have raised and will respond upon completion," Maguire wrote (pdf).
In response, Kirk and Rep. Steven Israel (D-NY) wrote another letter to Maguire, asking him to examine Freeman's role on the board of directors of the Chinese National Offshore Oil Company, which is owned by the People's Republic of China. "Ambassador Freeman's service on the Board of Directors of a company owned by a foreign government seems to constitute an obvious conflict of interest -- especially given his service to a company owned by the People's Republic of China with significant investment in the Islamic Republic of Iran," congressmen Kirk and Israel wrote. "Your attention to whether Ambassador Freeman is an inappropriate candidate to participate in this independent review would be appreciated."
WaPo has a short piece on Taiwan today that says Taiwan is not ready for peace talks:
Analysts in Taiwan and on the mainland said Wen's overtures are unlikely to bring substantial results in the short term, given the substantial domestic political pressure on Ma from those who remain wary of Beijing's motives.Yes, that's right. At present, the biggest problem faced by the pro-annexation gang now in power in Taipei is not US or Japanese objections -- even though annexing Taiwan to China is almost certain to lead to war -- but domestic voters, who are overwhelmingly against such a move. WaPo also reports on the three year sentence asked for in the Presidential office spying case. Just three years!
"Accepting the 'one China' principle would be political suicide for Ma," said George Tsai, a professor of politics at Taipei's Chinese Culture University.
Meanwhile, with all that is going on here, Time Magzine is on top of things with a crucial report on Taipei's Toilet-themed restaurant. People have been blogging and reporting on this restaurant for at least four years now. Do you think I should send them the story of the whale that exploded in Tainan in 2004?
Finally, why did the economy go bad? There's a long post at DKOS that collects a great deal of information on the machinations of a group of short sellers in cahoots with the mainstream media, reported by the business editor of the Columbia Journalism Review in a forthcoming book. And Robert Brenner, in an interview at Japan Focus, offers a Marxist argument that the real problem is overcapacity.