Saturday, September 13, 2014

Richard Bush: US will stick hand in 2016 presidential election in Taiwan UPDATE X 2

This dog is not to happy about it either.

UPDATE: Taipei Times report
UPDATE: AIT distances US from Richard Bushs' remarks. Expecting State Department to make similar comment soon.

Media reports about longtime Taiwan expert Richard Bush's insistence that the US will have a voice in the Taiwan election have sparked a controversy here in Taiwan. FocusTaiwan notes:
Speaking at a conference on "Relations across the Taiwan Strait" at the Brookings Institution on Friday, Bush said he was confident that the United States will express its views some time or in some way on how American interests "will be affected by Taiwan's elections."

He said the U.S. faces a dilemma. On one hand, it believes that voters of a friendly and democratic country have the right to decide their leader, and Washington should not express a preference for specific candidates to sway the outcome of the election.
The article then refers to the infamous US attack on Tsai Ing-wen during the 2011-2012 presidential campaign. This stupid, shortsighted move materially hurt both Taiwan and the United States, though I have no doubt the people who delivered that blow felt mighty for doing it, felt like realpolitik gods, since everyone knows that the greatness of a realpolitik policy is measured by the number of one's friends it betrays.

Reality: no US interest is served by having a pro-China government installed in Taipei. Ma's policies have not served "peace and security" but have merely enabled China to raise tensions elsewhere, while reducing Taiwan's ability to resist Chinese aggression and partner with the US in doing so. Nothing exhibits the mind-numbing contradictions of US Taiwan policy more starkly than US policymakers' support for the KMT, a desperate expedient that involves trading concrete harm for avoidance of vapor, and one that links the US to a pro-China government -- whereas everywhere else around China's littoral, the US is supporting anti-Beijing policies. Time for a graphic illustration, oldie but goodie:

In truth, Bush's remarks beautifully illustrate well-worn themes of this blog: the way Beijing uses "tension" to gain leverage over US policymakers, and the way it works to transfer tension in the Beijing-US relationship to the Taipei-Washington relationship. Because of fear of "tension" (note: not concrete actions) -- caused entirely by Beijing as a deliberate policy, and used by Beijing to influence US policy towards Taiwan, US policymakers are going to stick their hand into the Taiwan election. Again.

Congratulations, guys, every time you stick your hand into a local election in Taiwan to support the KMT, you're not serving US interests.

You're serving Beijing's.
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Anonymous said...

Perhaps this time Ketagalen Media and other new media groups can stay on top of this and communicate to the public about outside intervention in local politics

Anonymous said...

I've also heard that the US might change its tune and actually support the DPP in 2016. Don't know if I believe it, but Hillary Clinton's comments this June seem to reflect a shift in mindset among US foreign policy elite wrt Taiwan.

Anonymous said...
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Michael Turton said...

've also heard that the US might change its tune and actually support the DPP in 2016. Don't know if I believe it, but Hillary Clinton's comments this June seem to reflect a shift in mindset among US foreign policy elite wrt Taiwan.

I don't see it at the moment.

Anonymous said...

Corporate interests and national interests are getting ever more confused on K street.

Tommy said...

If the US does intervene against a DPP candidate, then the decision would be all the more inexplicable. According to the US Chamber, US businesses are feeling increasingly unwelcome in Beijing, and high-profile calls to China to match rhetoric of reform with actions have recently come by both the US and European Chambers. In other words, business has much less of a reason to Pandahug than in previous election years. I think the bigger problem is that US security policy in the region still seems to be reactive. Support for the DPP would be a proactive move to shore up support in the region. Until now, the US has mainly reacted to Chinese actions, even with the supposed pivot, and reactions have often been too weak and/or belated.

So perhaps we should be seeing Taiwan as one part of what is actually a much larger problem -- the lethargic pace at which the US is coming to terms with a real confrontational scenarios in the Pacific.

Anonymous said...

Hamiltonians, Jeffersonians, plus Wilsonians and Jacksonians.

This book: "SPECIAL PROVIDENCE: AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY AND HOW IT CHANGED THE WORLD" provide a good framework for people to think about American foreign policy.

This article lead me to this book:

I love this quote from Otto von Bismarck: "“God has a special providence for fools, drunks, and the United States of America.”

Jerome Besson said...

Quoting you: "Reality: no US interest is served by having a pro-China government installed in Taipei."

Sorry, Michael, but I beg to differ. CSB's two terms had revealed the limits of the policy of strategic ambiguity.

I firmly believe the US anointed Mark Ma as soon as he was rumored to run for office only on the belief that this avowed Über-Chinese would irk the good peole residing on occupied Taiwan to the point they might well do away for good with the whole Chuuka Taihoku burlesque of Chinese irredentism.

I am convinced Ma is on a mission to draw the curtain on that inept colonial regime. Ma spared no occasion to offend the good people of Taiwan in every small and large way he could think of.

Unfortunately, apart from making faces, the DPP stalwarts and the Formosan factions of the KMT gobbled up all the crap thrown at them.

They missed every occasion offered them to make themselves relevant in a future Taiwan rid of Chinese influence.

Do these clods really need more of the same till they eventually wake up?

Ma does not disappoint. Clueless Formosans do.

Readin said...

The current president of America seems to have a policy of rewarding enemies while being an unreliable friend. I don't see why he should be any different on this issue.

Why he does that is an interesting question. Does he dislike America seeing it as a force for evil around the world and think that by reducing America's power and influence the world will be a better place? Or does he simply think America should follow a more isolationist policy and hope to pursue that goal by disentangling America from its friends and letting America's enemies run free?

Anonymous said...

In 16 months time, when the presidential and legislative elections take place, the US is likely to be stuck in yet another Middle East quagmire, quite possibly with troops on the ground fighting in Syria, as they gear up for an election year. A China-friendly government in Taiwan will be seen as an easy way to take a potential flashpoint off the table. That's where their support will go.

Mike Fagan said...

I don't think so. The Yanks have already been shifting weapons to the Kurds for a while now, and will likely be content to just help the Peshmerga do their jobs and occassionally lob a few "laser guided 500kg cultural critiques" at the ISIS lunatics. I doubt the Yanks will send any more troops to the Middle East.

Anonymous said...

Great, after the Maidan Revolution under the sponsorship of US politicians in Kiev, that same group of people are looking for "Ukrainize" Taiwan island.

What's with this NeoCon people ?