Saturday, February 27, 2010

A note on redistributed tensions

Glorious day today with great DPP victory, don't miss the post below this one...

Reading the media reports on the election, I was struck by yet another occurrence of the otherworldly claim that President Ma had "reduced tensions" between China and Taiwan. For tension headaches, take one Ma, call again in four years.

As I linked below, Beijing is giving its domestic audience reassurance that it is tough by warning the US on F-16 sales to Taiwan, sales that I suspect are becoming more likely as Beijing's intransigence across so many areas grows (note to Andrew Jacobs of the NYTimes: the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) DOES NOT require the US to sell defensive weapons to Taiwan, or to do anything at all. It's specifically written that way.).

Why is it almost plausible to unknowing audiences abroad to claim that Ma has reduced tensions? Because, as I have argued many times, one of China's goals is to transfer those tensions to the US-Taiwan relationship, in order to separate Washington from Taipei. I have often pointed out that "reduced tensions" in the Taiwan-China relationship simply mean that China is free to ramp up tensions elsewhere in Asia. But it should also be noted that China has also "reduced tensions" by transfering some of them to the Taiwan-US relationship -- carefully refraining from punishing Taiwan for any of its interactions with the US, but always punishing the US. Hence, the "reduced tensions" are not reduced at all, they are merely redistributed.

Never mind, of course, that China is still ramping up the military threat against Taiwan.
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Thomas said...

"Imagine it: Chinese gymnast found to be underage at Olympics. ROFL."

Cue the standard Chinese response: "Oh, but they have passports that say...."

Anonymous said...

Standard Chinese response: "We feel the IOC, with the help of other western countries, has deliberately hurt the feelings of the 1.3 billion Chinese people. The only means to assauge our pain would be to mute further protests against our peaceful military expansion."

Jb said...

No, the TRA does not guarantee US protection or arms sales. But, does anyone actually believe that Act will hold any weight if and when China decides to retake Taiwan by force? (if Ma does not succeed in handing the island to Hu on a silver platter first) If that is the case, then that event would give Kim the greenlight to go into the south.

Oddly, the Island belongs to neither the ROC or the PRC (like it always has been) and is up to the two sides to work things out, which won't happen without some sort of military intervention or a real 180 turn around in PRC policy.

I am convinced that Ma's campaign was paid for in part by the PRC and where in the ROC constitution does it allow a foreign born to run for president?