Wednesday, April 29, 2009

US Taiwan Policy Review in the cards?

There's been much talk that the new Administration should perform a Taiwan Policy Review, to revise US Taiwan policy in the face of a rising China, and now the Congressional research service (CRS) has come out with a new paper on the issue, as the Taipei Times reports:
The study by Kerry Dumbaugh, a specialist in Asian Affairs with the Congressional Research Service (CRS), is entitled Taiwan-US Relations: Developments and Policy Implications.

Ma’s initiatives are welcomed by many, the study says, for contributing to greater regional stability.

But it adds: “More pessimistic observers see growing PRC [People’s Republic of China]-Taiwan ties eroding US influence, strengthening PRC leverage and, particularly in the face of expanding economic links, jeopardizing Taiwan autonomy and economic security.”

The study says that among Obama’s policy challenges are “decisions on new arms sales to Taiwan, which are anathema to the PRC; how to accommodate requests for visits to the US by President Ma and other senior Taiwan officials; the overall nature of US relations with the Ma government; whether to pursue closer economic ties with Taiwan; what role, if any, Washington should play in cross-strait relations; and, more broadly, what form of defense assurances to offer Taiwan.”

Changes under Ma have led, the study says, to questions about “whether the United States should conduct a reassessment of its Taiwan policy in light of changing circumstances, and what the extent of such a possible reassessment should be.”

“At the very least, some say, the US needs to consider doing another comprehensive review of its Taiwan policy in order to revisit once again the 1979-1980 Taiwan Guidelines that govern US government interactions with Taiwan and with Taiwan officials,” the study says.

“Furthermore, since the 1993-’94 policy review, there have been dramatic developments in Taiwan’s political development. Taiwan has become a fully functioning ­democracy. In addition, since 1995 the PRC has undertaken a substantial military buildup along the coast opposite Taiwan and in 2005 Beijing adopted the anti-secession law suggesting hostile intent against Taiwan. These significant developments since 1993-94, according to this view, justify another Taiwan Policy Review to make selected changes in US policy,” it said.

“The implications of a Taiwan policy review for US-PRC relations likely would depend on the nature of the policy review itself. A substantial or comprehensive public review undoubtedly would raise concerns both in the PRC and likely in Taiwan,” the study said.

Joh Tkacik, the former US foreign service officer and longtime Taiwan expert, had this to say in a commentary on US Taiwan policy in the Taipei Times today:

There is no wisdom in confronting China head-on in Asia, and a TPR by the administration of US President Barack Obama must take this into account. But if the US is to balance China’s looming rise with a coalition of Asian democracies, Taiwan must be a key policy element.

With Kurt Campbell’s nomination as Obama’s — and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s — assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, Obama’s national security appointments offer a prospect that his administration might actually salvage some of the Asia policy wreckage of the administration under former president George W. Bush. Campbell understands the looming crisis in Asia policy — the challenge of China’s rise — as does his fellow nominee at the Pentagon, retired Marine Lieutenant General Wallace “Chip” Gregson, for assistant secretary for Asian and Pacific security affairs, and his deputy, Derek Mitchell.

Unfortunately, “geostrategic considerations,” when it comes to Taiwan (or China, for that matter) have long been absent in Washington policy circles. Former intelligence officer and White House Asia expert Robert Suettinger, in his book Beyond Tiananmen, admits that “the notion that American policy [toward China] is directly driven by strategic considerations ... is grossly inaccurate.” It had been driven instead by business pressures — if not by sheer intellectual inertia — long after the US’ strategic imperatives with proudly authoritarian China evaporated in the 1992 collapse of the Soviet Union and the 1989 reversal of China’s political reforms at Tiananmen.

Former president Bill Clinton’s China policy quietly changed in August 1999 after spectacular increases in Chinese missile deployments and jet fighter sorties in the Taiwan Strait. Clinton’s defense department secretly began to build up military cooperation with Taiwan — a momentum that continued without publicity through the Bush years — and Campbell was at the center of that initiative. He was an advocate of strong alliances with Japan and Australia — alliances that Bush minimized in an unhealthy reliance on Beijing’s influence in Asia.

The cascade of Asia policy disasters in the last four Bush years stemmed from the president’s preoccupation with Iraq and Afghanistan and his chronic inattention to geopolitics or strategy anywhere else. The erosion of the US-Japan alliance; permitting North Korea to drive the US’ Asia policy; complete neglect of Southeast Asia; inattention to a strategic partnership with India; abandoning democratic Taiwan in the face of war threats from undemocratic Beijing — that was the Bush Asia policy.

All of these failures sprang from the miscalculation that China was an active, responsible stakeholder in East Asian security, trade, humanitarian relief, the environment and so on. The Bush administration also persuaded itself that Taiwan was of such existential urgency to Beijing that China’s viciousness was excusable. Beijing therefore was permitted to alter the “status quo” with its missile deployments and its 2005 “Anti-Secession Law,” but Taiwan could never react.
A resounding "yea!" to all this! Tkacik's whole piece is well worth reading, but what does he say about Taiwan?
Whether State Department or White House Asia policy aides often think of these things is beside the point. They are facts: Taiwan is positioned astride sea lanes plied by vast fleets of Asian shipping; Taiwan’s lofty mountains provide phased-array radar coverage of missile and aerospace activity 1,930km into continental East Asia; submarines moving from the East Asian coast into the Western Pacific go through Taiwan’s waters to avoid Japan’s extensive anti-submarine acoustic detection; Taiwan occupies the two largest islands in the South China Sea, Taiping and Pratas.

More important, Taiwan is the US’ poster-child for democracy in Asia; the US’ 10th-largest export market; and the world’s fourth-largest foreign exchange reserves holder. Taiwan’s GDP is bigger than any in Southeast Asia. Taiwan’s population is bigger than Australia’s. In short, US equanimity at the prospect of democratic Taiwan’s absorption by communist China is a clear signal to the rest of Asia that the US has bought on to the “Beijing Consensus” — Asia may as well go along, too.
Yup. The key point was made above: US policymaking towards China is driven by the fact that US elites do business with it. Scary.

As I noted before, a policy review with the current cast of China experts is likely to result in an even more unfavorable stance toward ideas like the assent of the people of Taiwan to any changes, and further downgrading of weapons sales to the island. The appointment of Kurt Campbell may signal that a review is in the works, if not now, then a little further down the road, I overheard an expert say. However, word also has it that the State Department does not have its Taiwan team in place, while the DOD Taiwan people only started work a couple of weeks ago. This argues against the early occurrence of any review of Taiwan policy. Ominously, this means that US policymakers are simply going to leave Bush's disastrous Asia drift as the mainstream of US policy in the new Administration, and follow Ma Ying-jeou over the cliff, so that they can concentrate on the Middle East -- exactly what China wants them to do.

We're in for a tough couple of years at least.

___________________
Daily links
  • China faces graduate glut (WSJ) -- can you think of any other nation with that problem?
  • Remember the police shutting down the music store during the Chen Yunlin protests? Prosecutors said the store shut itself down. Pure Orwell, as maddog notes
  • Website of the European Association of Taiwan Studies (EATS)
  • Letters from Taiwan on the DPP response to the recent CCP-KMT Lovefest Sellout '09 in Nanjing
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22 comments:

plutarch said...

Wow ! Lots of info here - great blog - I am writing a blog on mainly Japan related international relations - but recently posted a blog on warmer relations between china and taiwan - would be interested in your opinion

www.makepolicy.com

Thomas said...

Related to this is this one piece by Doug Bandow of the Cato Institute. His central point refers to the failure of the US to ratify the free trade agreement with South Korea, and he labels this failure as a part of an economic retreat in East Asia. It is related because he advocates that the US build stronger economic ties with South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan to counter China's influence, and he rather pessimistically (but quite possibly correctly) implies that Obama's peeps have their heads in the sand. For all the bluster about Bush's disastrous neglect of East Asia, the team in the Oval Office and the elites in Washington seem content to carry on with this neglect.

http://www.realclearworld.com/articles/2009/04/an_economic_retreat_from_east.html

Anonymous said...

I like how all this hype about the number of graduate students in China/India is now termed a glut. US grad programs are now being outed for being the money printing presses that they are too.

Anonymous said...

lMr Turton,

Although I am generally sympathetic to your defence of Taiwanese democracy and particularism, as a post-graduate student of law, I must point out that your assertion that "China" never "owned" Taiwan is somewhat flawed: in absolute terms -

(1) The Qing Empire had good title to Taiwan, which rendered the 1895 Treaty of Shimonoseki valid. For the bulk of the Qing Empire's two century rule, Taiwan was annexed to the province of Fujian.

(2) The Qing Empire was ruled by Manchus but was, in law, the government of China and understood to be the Chinese Empire, in much the same way that the fact that no ethnic Anlo-Saxon dynasty has ever ruled Wales does not diminish the United Kingdom's title to it.

(3) The Republic of China was held to be in 1911/12 the sole legal successor of the Qing Empire.

(4) All of the above is pure pedantry - not to mention dangerous, as it invites a politically motivated debate as to what is "Chinese", as opposed to what the PRC is, and what is not which, quite frankly, matters nothing in law.

(5) What does matter is the notion of democratic self-determination and this, Mr Turton, is your strongest argument: in my mind and that of many of my colleagues, the Taiwanese are, generally speaking, a Sinic people. That does not diminish, in any way, their right to rule themselves as they see fit. No one would claim that Germany has good title to Austria on ethnic grounds. Regrettably, your emphasis on fictive constructions of the Qing Empire and Taiwanese ethnicity butter few parsnips in purely legal terms, and occasionally sound like the spurious propaganda the PRC itself churns out.

Fight fire with fire, I suppose, is part of your argument, but I cannot condone it. Matters such as these are best dealt with in purely dispassionate terms: Taiwan has as much right to determine its destiny as separate from other Sinic states as Luxembourg and Austria have with respect to Germany.

Yours,

S.M. (sm23260z@bpplaw.co.uk)

Michael Turton said...

(2) The Qing Empire was ruled by Manchus but was, in law, the government of China and understood to be the Chinese Empire, in much the same way that the fact that no ethnic Anlo-Saxon dynasty has ever ruled Wales does not diminish the United Kingdom's title to it.I assume then, you are willing to make the same case for all other parts of Asia owned by the Qing at some point or other. Or else explain why Taiwan is a special case of those other holdings and should be treated differently.

(3) The Republic of China was held to be in 1911/12 the sole legal successor of the Qing Empire.Fantastic. let us agree that Qing had Taiwan legally. Let us next note two historical facts (1) it was given up in perpetuity to Japan and (2) Taiwan declared independence in 1895, breaking any Qing-to-Japan chain of control over it. ROC legal successorship = diddly. There's a good piece on this in the Yale Law Review from 1972.

(4) All of the above is pure pedantry - not to mention dangerous, as it invites a politically motivated debate as to what is "Chinese", as opposed to what the PRC is, and what is not which, quite frankly, matters nothing in law.I agree with this, but I think it is important to also attack the "legal" case -- based on selective use of facts -- and set up counterargument.

Fight fire with fire, I suppose, is part of your argument, but I cannot condone it. Matters such as these are best dealt with in purely dispassionate terms: Taiwan has as much right to determine its destiny as separate from other Sinic states as Luxembourg and Austria have with respect to Germany.Yes, but the problem is China make the legal case, so it has to be rebutted. That simple. In western culture appeal to law and contracts (= Cairo) has enormous normative force, the Chinese know this.

Michael

Anonymous said...

Also... the Qing Empire never maintained, actual or nominal control over much of the island. This became very much the subject of legal arguments dating up until the Treaty of Shimonoseki as foreign governments and private companies sought compensation from the Qing for losses incurred in Taiwan or in waters around Taiwan. Many of these incidents were within the "savage territory" and the Qing refused to acknowledge sovereignty over that territory.

Taiwan's plain was considered a frontier region of the Qing EMPIRE and was governed as a colony under the mechanisms of a colonial project. You seem to be advocating a precedent where former colonists can make a valid legal claim to regain their former colonial possessions... even after the former Empire has transformed into a modern nation state. I am sure the African nations and the Indian subcontinent would love to entertain that idea.

Anonymous said...

You may also need to demonstrate that the Qing Empire is the same thing as China. Remember, the Chinese nation state was first established in 1911. Before that you had successive empires with constantly shifting borders and concepts of the centrality of the empire. The notion of China as a nation state is a 19th century invention. Prior to Chinese nationalism "中國" simply represented centrality. I think you might be more pressed to demonstrate the integrity of China.

Anonymous said...

"I assume then, you are willing to make the same case for all other parts of Asia owned by the Qing at some point or other. Or else explain why Taiwan is a special case of those other holdings and should be treated differently."

The Taiwan argument may potentially apply to Xinjiang, but, since the principal criteria of statehood require some form of functioning government, including the ability to enter into relations with other states, the argument is quite weak here. Conversely, Tibet may have a stronger claim than Taiwan as, unlike Taiwan, Tibet was never governed as a province of China proper, but as a separate administrative structure, whereas Taiwan was attached to Fujian until, I believe, 1885. Tibet may well have a good claim in law (as, potentially, do the Confederate States of America), the question is who would uphold it. I think the crucial point here is that even relatively benevolent democracies, such as the UK, are unwilling to divest themselves of the last vestiges of their imperial past (Scotland and Northern Ireland). A comparatively poor, authoritarian state like China can be expected to be even more assiduous.

"ROC legal successorship = diddly. There's a good piece on this in the Yale Law Review from 1972."

I am aware of counter-arguments on this question and there is strong evidence to show that rampant warlordism following the collapse of the Qing make succession difficult, if not impossible to trace and establish. However, it should also be noted that those states that recognised the Qing transferred their diplomatic recognition to the Republic, to the extent that it was invited to the 1919 Versailles Peace Conference. Foreign recognition is strongly evidential in establishing the legitimacy or otherwise of successor states.

In sum, the best way, in my view, to look at it is: since, as a starting point, Taiwan has a functioning government, why should it be compelled to surrender effective, democratically accountable and internationally recognised (de jure or de facto) sovereignty? No custom or treaty calls for the unilateral extinction of a functioning state on the grounds of historical contingencies. Even if the PRC were shown to have good legal title over Taiwan, it would still not, in my view and in light of UN Charter, of which the PRC is a signatory, have the right to displace, by force of arms or other duress, a non-violent regime in Taipei.

That, in my view, is the sum of the legal argument and one the PRC cannot rebut. Although they may argue that the Treaty of Shimonoseki was imposed by duress, revising it would call into question at least two dozen borders in Europe, so there is not much stock to be put into that assertion.

S.M.

Dixteel said...

Mr. Tkacik's piece is very well written...it clarifies some of my puzzlement over the US policy on Taiwan.

Thomas said...

To the anon who has a problem with saying that Taiwan was never a part of China:

I really don't see your point. If someone wants to say that Taiwan was never a part of China, they are technically still correct. You have overlooked the very good point that Anon 10:20 made. Simply put, Taiwan was not a part of China, no matter how you want to interpret the successor government question because "China" is a modern construction. It couldn't be, as you say, "in law, the government of China" because "China" did not really exist at the time.

Historically speaking, you cannot equate China with the Qing or any other dynasty in any but the most general terms any more than you can equate Turkey with the Ottoman Empire. News flash: Greece was never a part of Turkey, and neither was Egypt for that matter. Shall we now say that it is wrong to say that Greece was never a part of Turkey because, 500 years ago, the Ottoman Empire was the "legal government" of a Turkey that did not exist? It is an absurd statement.

This is important because the Chinese government has a habit of using history selectively to justify present territorial claims. Remember the Koguro hubbub a few years ago?

If you are trying to settle who has sovereignty over Taiwan right now based on treaties, documents, etc., your legal experience might be valuable. But please avoid the mistake of interpreting past history based on a present data set which you find comfortable. Believe it or not, your modern legal expertise is not as valuable as you think in the bookstore's History aisle.

Anonymous said...

Ok guys you are failed all here.

here the corrctly geographical and political description:

1: CHINA IS A LAND BETWEEN YANGTZE AND YELOOW RIVER. So even a Canton is not a part of China. It is Canton.

2: Back in 1911 Han nationalist declarated 2 things at first:

a) Han ethnic group is a "chinese" what means they calims on controll and ethnicaly iditification "chinese". before that everyone who was born inside of LAND CHINA (and i mean not Country or State) was a "chinese" (like we say a same about New Yorkers or Californians. In the world outside of chinese nationalism it means only y our geografical homeland. All other Ethnics wich do live inside of LAND CHINA are not chinese. Only Han-ethnic people are "chinese"(it is like to tell indians they are not californians because only californian are descents of white amaricans)

b) Han ethnic nationalists declarated "Chinese Nation and Republic". Under "chinese nation" they do count all ethnics and their land wich were under control of empires wich controled the LAND CHINA as well in the whole history.

There is a big diference between "chinese ethnic" and Chinese nation".

until now chinese nationalists are talking about mongols "chinese nomads" (but only if it makes plus-points for their nazi idiologies) so does Peoples Republic of China claims on Indian State teritories using such idiologies.

3: There is NO CHINA as a state or country in the world. As a state we Have PRC and ROC. Both do not have such country "China" in own state-subdivision. both are using "provinces" and both are ignoring the international rules for identification of such things like "nation", "state", "ethnic group", "land", "country".

welcome to real world where China means only the geografical Land between Yellow and Yangtze rivers and nothing else.

Anonymous said...

--The Republic of China was held to be in 1911/12 the sole legal successor of the Qing Empire.---
hahaha.. well what do you think was the last emperor? and why do you think he was trying to rebuild Qing Rule in Machukuo and not in ROC?

Gosh you dumpidity is the best!

Anonymous said...

"1: CHINA IS A LAND BETWEEN YANGTZE AND YELOOW RIVER. So even a Canton is not a part of China. It is Canton. "

This is according to whom?

The borders and concepts had always been in flux and at different times the centrality of the empire shifted between places. The only consistency until the Qing was that the Middle Kingdom was bounded by mountains and seas.

Anonymous said...

Another way to view "China" and "Chinese", is as a territory and the people as cultures within that territory as imagined by the European colonial program.

Between the 16th and 19th centuries European explorers voyaged to the "Orient" and came into contact with the lands of people whom they determined to be "other". One group became known as "Chinese" by the Orientalists despite the vast differences of culture, language and local concepts of identity between the peoples of this area. To the European taxonomical eye... it was all pretty much the same.

The Chinese nationalists were very much influenced by this "western" concept while initiating their nation building project.

susi of the middle kingdom said...

This is according to whom?--

Geography, Ethnology and History my dear.. there are very clear rules how to do that. and if you are old enough you should know how to use them to make a clear and scientistic founded description.

----The borders and concepts had always been in flux and at different times the centrality of the empire shifted between places.--

Im realy sorry but this is a total bullshit. "Borders" is a very wide used term..

The border what are you talking about here is a "State-border" wich are very clear thing done by the reality and the balance of political and millitary powers BETWEEN 2 STATES.. it has very small to do with geographicaly or ethnical borders.

---The only consistency until the Qing was that the Middle Kingdom was bounded by mountains and seas.--

ohh gosh.. you are so wrong.. First of all "the middle kingdom" is a fiction. politicaly and relligious fiction (commonig from Daoism and Konfuzism) used to describe a area of millitary and politicaly influence inside of the east-asia. (contining China, Canton and Countries around it(not States and not Lands)) there were many other politicaly ideas and fiction to hold a crown in own hands. you should learn how mongols, tibetans, manchus justificated the rule about them. it will be very good for you to learn that those ethnics gived a shit about "the middle kingdom" they lived in own politicaly universe and used completly different idiology why the Khan have the right to keep the rule power in own hands. it has to do with Shamanism, Buddhism and Gods wich were never in a same universe with konfuzism or dao gods.

ohh and yeahh. Qing were never the "middle kingdom". it was Khans playplace granted by god tengri and quarded by buddhas.

Anonymous said...

If you cite your sources I'll cite mine.

vin said...

Susi, maybe you should cite sources as Anonymous suggests, because what you wrote seems to give the R.O.C. the strongest claim to Taiwan, the Manchus the second strongest claim, the Taiwanese public the third strongest claim (elevated to strongest claim if, as citizens of the R.O.C., they vote for independence and for renouncing claims to continental China), and the P.R.C. no claim at all. Is this what you intended?

I agree with the original Anonymous (S.M.) that focusing on self-determination as an overriding principle is key. Michael wrote: “In western culture appeal to law and contracts (= Cairo) has enormous normative force, the Chinese know this.” True, but Beijing also specializes in tactical misdirection and has figured out that if it can’t carry the (Taiwan) day through specious argument, such arguments can still buy time to improve the odds of succeeding through unreasonable means. Stalemated argument then, too, is victory for Beijing; debunking ginned-up “legalistic” arguments, though necessary and important, won’t keep the hegemonic HCs at bay. The debunking does serve to buy time for Taiwan, too, though --- time to figure out what to do to prevent the otherwise-almost-inevitable from happening.

What should be done? I don’t have any honed answers or overall strategy, but I would think that challenging the term “one China principle” would be one place to start. Specifically, how did the term “principle” ever get into the discourse in the first place? The usual fig leaf for irredentism is “sacred duty.” The silly religiosity of this latter term is apparent to many in the West, but China gets away with not looking (too) silly by dressing up its aggressive instincts and aims with a philosophical term. (And, sadly, it gets away with it, too, because the West is still prone to “orientalizing” and thus creating the Other. [In effect: “Chinese have their own different way of looking at oppression, conquest, and murder.”] And because so many of those in the West who most point out and argue against this dull tendency are cultural relativists who create the Other in different fashion: by rejecting definition of non-Westerners in universal terms while judging Westerners in universal terms – all while steering clear of the fact that their creation of the Other just as much legitimizes repression, murder, abrogation of rights, etc.)

Why not challenge this “principle” formulation, and in the process lay bare any language differences regarding the term? An argument about whether or not this formulation qualifies as a principle would help shift the whole argument over to whether or not this is indeed the modern world (it is) in which self-determination pertains (it does if the world decides it does).

So heck yes: keep pointing out that HC hegemonic claims are faux irredentism, not a legitimate legal case. But when the stalemate breaks, it will either be because we’re all on a path along which Chinese finally become modern or because we’re on one along which modernity is brought to heel.

Which is to say that the Western preoccupation with radical Islam’s actions as the avatar of a defining “clash of civilizations” needs perspective; the West should drop its blinders about China and see where the real clash lies. The Enlightenment and the Romantic reaction defined the modern West; Westerners live in a usually-stabilized tension between these two poles. Chinese, meanwhile, skipped the Enlightenment and gradually developed a messianic romanticism centered on volk and (later) the state – a romanticism nothing like the state-questioning romanticism of the West.

Chinese are not going to adopt deep perspectives derived from a history they didn’t have. There are elements in Chinese philosophy that support win-win ideas and approaches.
And there is the fact that China’s is a “shame” culture. I think win-win solutions lie somewhere among working with these two facts, and in the belief that most Chinese are decent people willing to respect others if they are respected. I say keep up the great work, Michael, but yes, Anonymous (S.M.), something more than this work alone is needed.

vin said...

Susi, maybe you should cite sources as Anonymous suggests, because what you wrote seems to give the R.O.C. the strongest claim to Taiwan, the Manchus the second strongest claim, the Taiwanese public the third strongest claim (elevated to strongest claim if, as citizens of the R.O.C. they vote for independence and for renouncing claims to continental China), and the P.R.C. no claim at all. Is this what you intended?

I agree with the original Anonymous (S.M.) that focusing on self-determination as an overriding principle is key. Michael wrote: “In western culture appeal to law and contracts (= Cairo) has enormous normative force, the Chinese know this.” True, but Beijing also specializes in tactical misdirection and has figured out that if it can’t carry the (Taiwan) day through specious argument, such arguments can still buy time to improve the odds of succeeding through unreasonable means. Stalemated argument then, too, is victory for Beijing; debunking ginned-up “legalistic” arguments, though necessary and important, won’t keep the hegemonic HCs at bay. The debunking does serve to buy time for Taiwan, too, though --- time to figure out what to do to prevent the otherwise-almost-inevitable from happening.

What should be done? I don’t have any honed answers or overall strategy, but I would think that challenging the term “one China principle” would be one place to start. Specifically, how did the term “principle” ever get into the discourse in the first place? The usual fig leaf for irredentism is “sacred duty.” The silly religiosity of this latter term is apparent to many in the West; China gets away with not looking (too) silly by dressing up its aggressive instincts and aims with a philosophical term. (And, sadly, it gets away with it, too, because the West is still prone to “orientalizing” and thus creating the Other. [In effect: “Chinese have their own different way of looking at oppression, conquest, and murder.”] And because so many of those in the West who most point out and argue against this dull orientalizing tendency are cultural relativists who create the Other in different fashion: by rejecting definition of non-Westerners in universal terms while judging Westerners in universal terms – all while steering clear of the fact that their own creation of the Other just as much legitimizes repression, murder, abrogation of rights, etc.)

Why not challenge this “principle” formulation, and in the process lay bare any language differences regarding the term? An argument about whether or not this formulation qualifies as a principle would help shift the whole argument over to whether or not this is indeed the modern world (it is) in which self-determination pertains (it does if the world decides it does).

So heck yes: keep pointing out that HC hegemonic claims are faux irredentism, not a legitimate legal case. But when the stalemate breaks, it will either be because we’re all on a path along which Chinese finally become modern or because we’re on one along which modernity is brought to heel.

Which is to say that the Western preoccupation with radical Islam’s actions as the avatar of a defining “clash of civilizations” needs perspective; the West should drop its blinders about China and see where the real clash lies. The Enlightenment and the Romantic reaction defined the modern West; Westerners live in a usually-stabilized tension between these two poles. Chinese, meanwhile, skipped the Enlightenment and gradually developed a messianic romanticism centered on volk and (later) the state – a romanticism nothing like the state-questioning romanticism of the West.

Chinese are not going to adopt deep perspectives derived from a history they didn’t have. There are elements in Chinese philosophy that support win-win ideas and approaches.
And there is the fact that China’s is a “shame” culture. I think win-win solutions lie somewhere among working with these two facts, and in the belief that most Chinese are decent people willing to respect others if they are respected. I say keep up the great work, Michael, but yes, Anonymous (S.M.), something more than this work alone is needed.

susi of the middle kingdom said... said...

Susi, maybe you should cite sources as Anonymous suggests, because what you wrote seems to give the R.O.C. the strongest claim to Taiwan, the Manchus the second strongest claim,---

nope. read again and try to understand instead to start your bashing. aside that your Confuziaism and sozial darwinism do fail.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry susi, I have a bunch of sources ready to go up with page numbers and other references.. but it does take time to dig them out and enter them... so I would like to be sure the task is worth my while.

You make some very bold claims. I just doubt you can back them up. If you can't back them up don't go off on a rant about how scholarship has been politicized.

Please... if you actually know what you are talking about you should be able to produce the source of your information to share with the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry susi, I have a bunch of sources ready to go up with page numbers and other references.. --

i am still thinkig you are the chinese 50cents party shit trying to kill all disscusion going about chinese claims and nazism here.

Anonymous said...

Susi and others are clearly just barking dogs, so when we see language like this:

"Geography, Ethnology and History my dear.. there are very clear rules how to do that. and if you are old enough you should know how to use them to make a clear and scientistic founded description."

with the inability to back it up with references... we know who the cranks are.