Friday, February 28, 2014

Say Good Bye to John Mearsheimer

John Mearsheimer's piece Say Goodbye to Taiwan has been making the rounds in Taiwan circles. I plan to submit a response to it along with another well known blogger, but anyone who has been out here a while should be able to see through its articulate air of sympathy (Gosh those Taiwanese, poor kids, gonna miss 'em when they're gone) to its awful, impoverished core. But I will say this -- Mearsheimer's piece isn't about Taiwan, it's about Mearsheimer. The whole point of the piece isn't to say anything intelligent about Taiwan, but to legitimate Mearsheimer as a Realist, over the dead bodies of future Taiwanese. Look at my manly realist position! It says. I can sell out Taiwan!. Because you know, the greatness of a realpolitik policy isn't measured by the success of the new order it creates, but by the number of one's friends it betrays.

That's all I want to say at the moment. But my working title for the response is "Saying Good-bye to John Mearsheimer: Taiwan's biggest problem isn't China, but America's Foreign Policy Commentariat"
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8 comments:

TaiwanJunkie said...

The Mearsheimer essay was a sobering read, and while it isn't the only possible outcome, Taiwanese everywhere do need to take this scenario in with a heavy heart and serious study in order to make sure this does not ever happen.

Our biggest strength is ultimately our national identity. As Mearsheimer mentioned correctly, we are looking at a solid 80% of all Taiwanese rejecting unification outright. Our national consensus is very clear, which is that Taiwan is a sovereign and independent country. While during election time, differences between the pan-blues and the pan-greens would be exploited by politicians, the national consensus mentioned above is very much a reality across party-line. This overarching theme needs to be promoted more to harness our national unity.

Second, China is more fractured than it appears. It has a long history of a deep north vs south divide. There's also very real economic divide between the Western and Eastern China. Taiwan needs to actively incite these divisions.

Remember, the Taiwanese culture is extremely influential in China. Promotion of our common Hundred Yue ancestry with the Southerners will help awaken the ultimate truth, which is Southern Chinese are ultimately a different race compared to Northern Chinese. Promotion of environmental and human rights values with the developed East will exploit a population that is sick of the infamous pollution and the oppressive political system.

S.Korea and Taiwan back in 80-90 were both at the same point of economic development compared to Shanghai and Guangdong and Beijing now. This stage of economic development is ripe for democratic developments. We need to do a better job instilling those values to those areas.

Lastly, while there's never been a poll of Chinese across China regarding dovish vs hawkish sentiments, it is commonly observed that the Northerners are much more pro-government and militant on this issue. Therefore it is critical that Taiwan develops long range missile capabilities so that Northerners realize they will be within Taiwanese missile range as well.

Don't take Mearsheimer's article as a recipe for submission. Use it as a rallying cry, freedom truly isn't free, so let's get to work.

Jenna Cody said...

"Taiwan's biggest problem isn't China, it's American foreign policy's commentariat" is an excellent title.

les said...

Sadly, the people of Taiwan will themselves prove Mearsheimer right if they do not stop electing pro-China politicians and parties.

Rory O'Neil said...

Good-bye John Mearsheimer.

vin said...

Agree, Les. I would like to see a poll on what percent of the 80% who prefer independence and what percent of the 57% who identify as Taiwanese-only think Lee Tung-hui's "Go Slow..." policy was wrong. A large minority if not a majority, I bet. And do most of those people own businesses that went to China? No. But maybe they have a relative who does/did, and surely they have a friend or acquaintance. And as the lowliest insect to the Jade Emperor himself knows, nothing is supposed to get in the way of making money for your family.

The key word is “prefer.” I prefer beef noodles to a lot of other Taiwanese food. But a lot of the other food is OK by me, too.

And sometimes, because I didn’t plan my time and assess situations well, I find myself eating truly-for-crap biandangs. And I put up with it without making a lot of fuss beyond a couple initial soon-forgotten complaints.

That’s not to denigrate the conviction and passion of the minority of Taiwanese who do truly care. I admire them. I’m just saying that the key points are not the figures 80% and 57% but rather the weight these demographics give to their stated opinions. And I can’t remember ever seeing anything that focuses on and discusses this. If someone can steer me to something, I’d appreciate that.

Anonymous said...

"Despair is a sin" is what I tell the 'realists' on this island.

Anonymous said...

What you want to do is useless. What you can do is the only truth. Remember, the world is controlled by power. And this is also the tragedy of great power politics.

eu quero emagrecer said...

What you want to do is useless. What you can do is the only truth. Remember, the world is controlled by power. And this is also the tragedy of great power politics.