Saturday, September 24, 2005

Nat Bellochi scores again

One of the the themes of former AIT director Nat Bellochi's many pieces in the Taipei Times is the need for America to have better communication channels and a better understanding of Taiwan. Yesterday he offered us more insights on that topic in the Taipei Times.

In the US there is a lack of consensus on US-Taiwan policy. There are many variations but broadly one side -- both in and out of government -- which sees the US-China relationship as the most important under almost any circumstances, and therefore prefers pressing for accommodations that more often favor China than Taiwan. The other side has a mix of priorities, the strongest of which is security-based on both the legal requirement in the TRA and broader regional security interests. Beyond this -- but important especially outside of government -- are issues of human rights, transparency, and democracy. Under this administration this side has more often been strong enough to gain its way.


Washington, which seems to have little interest in Taiwan's complex domestic politics, will need all the information it can get to weigh and determine what is best for US interests under these circumstances. The self-made constraints of the rules governing communications with Taiwan that still exist are now even more in need of upgrading.
Bellochi does not add that one of the consequences of Washington's lack of interest in Taiwan's domestic politics is that the traditionally party with the cash, the KMT, has strongly influenced US attitudes and understanding of Taiwan.

No comments: