1. The propaganda struggle
It's been exceedingly depressing to watch my feeds fill up with propaganda about the Ukraine, with reliable information hard to obtain. A number of my lefty friends seem to be forwarding Russian propaganda claims as fast as Moscow can put them out (there's a whole swath of the "anti-imperialist" left that will embrace any imperialism, as long as it is not western), while my right-wing friends and the US mainstream media have simply ignored US involvement in the pro-western protests. Lots of the lefty websites I frequent are overrun with slanted pro-Moscow stuff (Counterpunch seems to have a good mix, however), a pain to slog through.
We on the pro-Taiwan side can expect this same mess if and when China moves. In fact, whether it moves on the Senkakus, Taiwan, or one of the South China Sea claims, a huge swath of Left will simply forward its propaganda claims; indeed, it will probably be worse in the Taiwan case because sympathy for China is a kind of madness on the Left. I have had writers tell me that no one has died in Tibet, the Taiwan is an ancient part of China, and so on. I know many people who will say, if you tell them that China's invasion of Tibet was imperialism, that it was ok because China owned Tibet in 1756. Laugh if you will, this mindset is widespread. This team will claim that the US is real driver of events and that poor victimized China is only protecting itself from the predator US and the fascist Japanese.
In fact China is already doing this in its current spat with Japan.... and many on the Left regularly forward its propaganda. Sad.
The sad part is, as we have seen, that the mainstream media and many many commentators, as well as many in government, are essentially pro-China in views and presentations, and even when not, routinely reproduce Chinese propaganda claims in the guise of explaining what China is doing ("Chinese feel that Taiwan is an ancient and inalienable part of China") and have no idea what US policy is or what the agreements and treaties mean. This sort of thing will be far more difficult to counter; propaganda is often easily dispelled, but the default Establishment position is liberally salted with ignorance. That is more difficult to overcome.
Anyway, just want to point out: the propaganda war is gonna suck. Hard. We'll all have to take tranquilizers just to read the news....
2. The Partisan Issue
Looking at the way the Republicans have abused Obama over the Ukraine crisis (John Stewart rips them hilariously here), you gotta wonder whether the same crap is going to happen with The Beautiful Island. Fortunately we have strong bipartisan support, but Taiwan supporters will have to struggle hard to make sure that a Taiwan crisis is addressed in a bipartisan manner and that Congress rallies around the President. Just imagine if half of Congress simply gave up on Taiwan and started essentially fronting for Beijing because we let Taiwan become a partisan issue....
3. Europe is useless.
No need to elaborate here. Next point.
4. Your opponent's ethnics are his allies whether they want to be or not
Sometimes when I explain Taiwan to outsiders, I use Ukraine and the Baltic states as an analogy. But one of the lessons here for Taiwan is how Russia has used "ethnicity" as an excuse to annex Crimea. This idea that Russia is a protector of Russians everywhere is mirrored by China, which used the excuse of Vietnamese mistreatment of ethnic Chinese in Vietnam to attack Vietnam in 1979.
In Taiwan where the CCP claims everyone is Chinese, the usefulness of this tactic might not be obvious, but you can see how "Chineseness" could be deployed against a DPP government. "They're deSinicizing Taiwan! We've got to save those people!" or some such nonsense. If ethnicity can be an excuse for invasion, Taiwan has got it in spades. The more we are able to differentiate ourselves from China and establish that idea in the international media, the better off we will be in this regard.
5. Integration is a bomb
The root of the issue in Ukraine was whether the nation would integrate with the EU or with Russia and its rival organization. When President Yanukovych switched from the EU to Russia, that triggered the protests. Taiwan actually faces an analogical choice in whether to join the US TPP or integrate even more with China, but more fundamentally, in the choice between integration with China or with the outside world.
The current president, Ma Ying-jeou, is a nationalist and Chinese expansionist. At present he seeks to place Taiwan into China's orbit. When a DPP president is elected, a slowdown in integration of Taiwan and China may well result in a strong Chinese reaction.
The good thing for Taiwan is that unlike Ukraine, the populace is not split evenly on the issue of annexation to China. Among the young support for it has almost vanished, just as in Ukraine the young of every ethnic group strongly supported integration with the EU rather than with the authoritarian state next door.
However, many sectors of the local economy are now tightly linked to China, which means that there are groups that might potentially support annexation to China outside of the mainlander core of the KMT and their followers. The obvious one is of course the Taishang with their investments there, but also organized crime, the tourism industry in Taiwan, and the construction industry, which is partly dependent on imports of gravel for that key Taiwanese political ingredient, cement.
The tight links between China and organized crime in Taiwan are both fascinating and scary... and could be used by China to foment excuses for intervention. Remember that the Anti-Secession Law has some language about invading if internal affairs become disorderly...
- KANO the best baseball movie ever!
- Public outrage over the ridiculous sentences for killing of soldier via punishment...
- The Irritation continues: Taipei pushes Manila to punish killers of fisherman
- Couple of old photos on eBay here and here
- China on the Ukraine Mess: Studied ambiguity.
- Anti-nuke protests draw thousands
- Diplomat: Remembering Taiwan's White Terror
- Yep, China really is driving everyone else's fishing boats out of the South China Sea
- Government says anti-nuclear protesters need to think in a rational way. The government is blitzing the island with pro-nuke propaganda as well.
- US screws Taiwan by canceling F-16 upgrade. I should have seen this one coming. "We'll upgrade your aircraft!" was just another delaying tactic by the US government. They never intended for any upgrade to take place.
- The beef issue was really about pork: the US is pressing Taiwan to set minimum ractopamine levels for pork.
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