Many things are striking about it. Readers will recall that Charles Freeman nearly became NIC Chair, so his views on China and Taiwan would have been highly influential. Freeman appears to be more hardline than Beijing, reproducing a number of its propaganda lines as analysis, to the point of coming out with nonsense statements like....
Just as in the 17th century there were 11 attempts, the first 10 defeats, before the then Ch’ing forces succeeded in taking Taiwan and re-incorporating it into Fujian province....except that Taiwan had never before been incorporated into Fujian province. He comes out with a line he took in several other venues....
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.Both the assertions in the last two sentences are wrong, and have been overtaken by events -- China and the US now enjoy flashpoints in the Senkakus via the treaty with Japan, and in the South China Sea. As the debate makes clear, Freeman repeatedly blames Taiwan for being a victim of Chinese expansionism, while Waldron correctly notes that the source of the problem is Chinese expansionism, not Taiwan's desire to be a free and independent state.
Heh. Since China's ramping up of South China Sea tensions and Senkaku tensions, the Sellout Crowd has fallen silent. What will Foreign Affairs stuff its pages with now if its contributors can't argue that selling out Taiwan will create peace?
One also has to love his claim that President Bush's decision to sell Taiwan F-16s in 1992 was the cause of the militarization of the Taiwan issue, as if there were no rising Chinese threat -- one official rationale was, after all, the Russian sale of Su-27s to China inked the previous year.
In the Reagan-Deng agreement to which I referred, during which the United States agreed to reduce arms sales to Taiwan, was the moment at which the with-drawl of forces from Fujian began. They were present in the region in force before that. In 1992, in August 1992, out of apparent concern for the voters of Texas’ opinion of his stewardship, President Bush authorized the largest single sale in U.S. history of weapons, which was 150 F-16s to Taiwan. In no way was that consistent with the bargain. In fact, it was that, it is that, military dynamic, the replacement of a dynamic which from August ’82 to August ’92 that steadily reduced tensions, military installations and produced dialogue across the Strait....FAS has an extremely useful CRS report that contains the agreement on arms sales. The agreement clearly hinges on the PRC's pursuit of a policy of peaceful annexation......it was obvious to smart observers what the expansion of China's military would mean.... it also goes without saying that Beijing constantly blames US military sales for militarizing the Strait, a position reproduced by Freeman above. Sad.
Waldron is fond of pointing out that selling out Taiwan, invariably presented as a great new idea that can solve many problems, is in reality a tired old Cold War solution repeatedly recycled, a turd that won't flush constantly re-presented as bold new fertilizer for a new US-China relationship.
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