Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Revisiting the Past + Links

Too busy to write seriously tonight, but I thought I'd dredge up this....an acquaintance mentioned the Waldron-Freeman debate on Taiwan at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) from 2000, "If Taiwan Declares Independence and China Reacts With Force, On Whom Should the U.S. Lean Harder, China or Taiwan?"

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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4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Add another link, some cool Taiwan historical videos: Critical Past just enter "taiwan" in the search box.

There are 20 pages of videos. A few good ones on Taipei, Chayi, Tainan and Ktown. Others ones of CKS, Nike Hawk missiles, Ike's 1960 visit, A 1960 visit USN sub (which later has some fame), salt fields, etc.

The dates on some of the city videos says 1950, but I am pretty sure they are from the 1930s. They could be the same vids taken from the famous japanese 1931 video clip, but I haven't looked back at that video in awhile to say for sure. Link also posted at taipics for future reference.

John Scott said...

Yes, many of those appear to be 2-minute segments of one or more longer Japanese-made travelouge films. Thanks for sharing the link.

The one I enjoyed most was one that came up with a "formosan AND tea" search-- a few minutes of video of downtown Taipei in the late 1930s/early 1940s. Can see衡陽路(HengYang Rd.), 博愛路(BoAi Rd.), incl. the Columbia Record Company, on the right). Also heading south on官前路 (GuanQian Rd.) toward the National Museum.

No idea what those streets were named before 1945. I think the Japanese system did not name the streets themselves, but rather the blocks or sections of the city. Is that right?

Many of the older streets and roads in any Taiwanese city pre-date the Japanese period, and I guess the locals used the original or tradtional names for those, regardless of what the Japanese decided to call them (were the Japanese names simply transliterations of the Chinese?).

But I wonder what the locals called the newer streets laid out and developed by Japanese planners, especially folks who did not use Japanese. Were those new streets simulaneously and officially given both Japanese and Chinese names? Were there any maps published with street names in Chinese?

Karl said...

That Shida editorial seems kind of loose in it's reasoning. If I understand the area we are talking about, it's all residential buildings. This theoretical department store development plan would be to purchase and then raze those buildings? And this closing of the street businesses is the first step? It just seems too expensive and impractical.

What am I missing here?

FOARP said...

There really is just too much garbage being published by 'experts' on PRC-related issues at the moment. Most of it appears to the work of people whose big idea for relations with China is "let's do exactly what they tell us to do and maybe they'll be nice to us" and is based on a few years experience of Beijing.