Speaking of comedy emanating from Beijing, our first entry in the trifecta of terrible is The Berkshire Encyclopedia of China has an absolutely hilarious entry on Cross-Strait relations that was written in China, so you know it is hopelessly biased. Enjoy its false claims of economic suffering under Chen "the radical" and its apparent omission of Chinese threats, missile launches, military build up, etc. The problem with an entry this bad is that it makes one suspicious of the competence of the other entries. I'd give this highly political load of crap a wide berth. I've written them about it; you should too.
Bazillions of pixels have been slain in the furious commentating on the US decision to sell arms to Taiwan -- arms that are nearly a decade in coming and will have very little effect on the military situation. The cacophony of commentary is a tribute to Beijing's ability to play US commentators. For example:
Leslie Gelb, former official and longtime national security policy commentator, lobbed Obama's Dangerous Game with China into The Daily Beast. Gelb's major points are contained in this paragraph:
The cage rattling won't come close to blows, but it will unsettle and unnerve international affairs, and ignite a new and damaging testing of great power wills. Count on this tug of war to block mutual cooperation on stifling the nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea and to further sour ongoing trade and investment disputes and charges of Chinese Internet censorship, and whatever else turns up. Most worrisome, it’s not at all clear that Chinese and American leaders have thought strategically about their next moves and how to keep the situation within bounds.Dr. Gelb has catastrophically misunderstood the game. The point of China's "anger" -- a policy choice, not a visceral response -- is to strain relations between Taipei and Washington. Indeed, as I have noted, several commentators hastened to reassure that Beijing-Taipei relations would not be affected (example). As I have always noted, China could punish Taiwan, but never does, because that would not affect the one relationship it really wants to alter. Gelb falls for this completely. He also falls for the classic "now is not the time" fallacy: now is not the time to increase tension with Beijing because we are engaged in _____. Since we are always engaged in something sensitive with China, it follows that it is never the time to push back against Chinese bullying. I'd write more, but my friend Tom has an awesome response to Gelb there, that points out all this, and more, including Gelb's total misunderstanding of the US position on Taiwan.
The ominous thing about Gelb's piece is that it fits neatly into the flow of calls for abandoning Taiwan emanating from the Council on Foreign Relations and other US Establishment think tanks. This includes Gilley's awful piece in Foreign Affairs on Finlandizing Taiwan, which I looked at below, as well as this recent and very ugly piece by Carnegie Endowment for International Peace visiting scholar David Rothkopf: Can the US continue to afford supporting Taiwan?
I don't think there is any need to go into detail on the manifold problems of the Rothkopf piece, but the oddity of the strategic thinking expounded by the Dump Taiwan crowd is worth exploring. This crowd has on the whole evinced no great reluctance to waste billions on our criminally stupid wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the latter being where good American boys are dying to make Central Asia safe for Chinese expansion. The CFR has issued several pieces in support of continued involvement in Afghanistan, but its house organ, Foreign Affairs, hosted Gilley's piece on Finlandizing Taiwan. In fairness Rothkopf says the real goal of US policy in Central Asia should be Pakistan, not Afghanistan, but that boggles the imagination: essentially the Dump Taiwan team consists of Serious Thinkers who want to dump Taiwan -- a key producer of technology products in the most important region in the world for the foreseeable future -- in order to keep Afghanistan or Pakistan.
Right. How's that again?
More on Arms Sales
Taipei Times: China Factor in Arms Sales
CNN cites Chinese scholar in Canada who has never visited Taiwan. Awful dreck.
AFP notes that the arms sale is aimed at reassuring countries around China.
AP echoes claims that arms sale will not hurt Beijing-Taipei relations.
VOA says effect of Chinese sanctions would be limited.
CSM on the effect on US-China military cooperation.
FT editorial says China overplays its hand.
China has also complained about EU chopper sales to Taiwan, but seems to be taking a softer line with the EU because Beijing hopes the arms embargo will be lifted. UPDATE: This is wrong, no protest from Beijing on this, says Eurocopter.
WSJ says arms sales help cross strait relations
- Rowan Callick with an excellent piece on Taipei. Someday the world will discover that Taiwan does not equal Taipei. Come to Taichung, Rowan, I'll take you biking.
- Chinese hackers also attack other US firms, this time the one involved in the Green Dam case.
- 10,000 fraud calls a day to local cell phones.
- Ma interviewed by former VP Annette Lu.
- Historic cart track restored in Hsinchu.
- Adm Keating interviewed in the Honolulu paper on Taiwan-China-US triangle.
- Say it ain't so! Taiwan calls foul over unfair flight arrangements. What did you guys expect?
- Fabulous piece on Jack London and the Yellow Peril in his fiction and non-fiction at JapanFocus.
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