Some links for today...
Alan Romberg over at the Hoover Institution on the current political situation in Taiwan in the context of cross-strait relations. Some of the footnotes are quite interesting; the main text is a richly-sourced attack on the DPP for daring to resist China and emphasizing DPP disunity and failure to serve Beijing while downplaying or hiding KMT disunity. Note that Romberg manages to write a long piece without ever using the term faction, thus making a whole slew of KMT problems disappear (for example). If you want to understand what's going on with the KMT, you're better off following my KMTitanic series.
Favorite quote from the Romberg piece: Eric Chu saying "we cannot let one-party dominance undermine democracy in Taiwan.” Irony is not only dead, its corpse has been exhumed and mutilated.
It's easy to see, with "analysis" like Alan Romberg's above, why you have ex-AIT official Barbara Schrage today saying that the DPP should "clarify" its China policy -- what a hoot! -- and that it should work to find ways to narrow its "differences of opinion" with Beijing. Wouldn't it be awesome if Schrage advised Taiwan to narrow the missile gap instead, and advised Beijing to back off? With what's coming, can't AIT struggle to get us some weapons and allies instead? Imagine, it's 1930s. There's Schrage advising the Indian nationalist movement to find a way to narrow its differences of opinion with the Raj...
More seriously, what Schrage's ill-advised remarks straight out of 2004 signal is the new/old mantra from the anti-Taiwan crowd in the US government: the DPP's China policy is "unclear." Use of this line, and pressure is only going to grow. It's worth quoting myself on the strange position of Taiwan:
The claim that Taiwan “causes tension” has a striking uniqueness: In all other instances of tension along the Chinese frontier, U.S. officials and commentators routinely and assumptively treat China as the source of tension. It is only Taiwan that is different. For example, in the late 1960s Beijing suddenly manufactured a historically absurd and legally indefensible claim to the Senkaku Islands of Japan. The U.S. has asserted that it will defend the islands under the U.S.-Japan mutual defense treaty and criticized China’s illegal air-defense identification zone and other aggressive acts. Nor has the U.S. been shy in criticizing China’s claim to most of the South China Sea, recently offering a highly publicized legal document refuting the Chinese claims. The U.S. also conducts diplomacy with regional powers obviously aimed at countering China. Washington and the U.S. media seldom publicly criticize Japanese, Vietnamese, Malaysian, or Indonesian leaders for resisting Chinese expansion (“causing tension”). Only Taiwan receives that treatment."Clarify your policy!" is of course Diplo-code for "submit." I have this dream that US officials will stop fantasizing that if only they sit on the DPP hard enough, problems in the Strait will go away. The reality is simple: if Washington pleases Beijing by stepping on the DPP, Beijing will respond by threatening to increase tensions to push Washington to step on the DPP even harder. D'oh. Feeding the monster only makes it bigger. Because Beijing seeks to transfer tension from the Washington-Beijing relationship to the Washington-Taiwan relationship, each time an (ex-) US official like Schrage criticizes the DPP, it's a strategic victory for Beijing. Please guys, Beijing already has its own diplomatic corps to suppress Taiwan, they don't need ours.
And changing demographics in Taiwan have rendered this policy not only obsolete, but counterproductive...
Anyway, as we wait for war to break out somewhere in Asia, enjoy some links...
- Speaking of crises, Commonwealth with a good one on the industrial waste crisis in Taiwan
- Great page on Facebook with great old pictures: National Historic Monuments of Taiwan
- Taiwan Law Blog: Oft-cited case on status of Taiwan in US courts doesn't say what people who cite it say it does
- Town in south Taiwan threatens to block visitors from China
- US committed to TIFA talks
- Could Taiwan join the Chinese-led Asian infrastructure bank? If invited, says our head finance honcho.
- J Michael Cole says KMT supporting academic simply invents quotes about Tsai Ing-wen
- Of DPP second generation politicians only Su Tseng-chang's daughter wins the primary.
- Report from Fiji on Taiwan gov't sponsored trip to learn about Taiwan aboriginal peoples.
- SPECIAL: The brilliant Mark Harrison with a discussion of Scotland and Taiwan
- GRANT FOR SCHOLARS: MOFA Taiwan Fellowship being offered!
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