Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Zogby Poll: Americans think US has obligation to defend Taiwan

UPI has a new poll on American views of the Taiwan issue, with a small majority of the UPI-Zogby International poll respondents saying that the United States has a responsibility to defend Taiwan if the island is attacked by China. Love the second paragraph.

China considers Taiwan a breakaway province but many in Taipei consider the island independent. The United States formally sees Taiwan as part of China but has limited relations with leaders on Taiwan.

It gets the US position on Taiwan wrong -- that is only the State Department's pro-Beijing stance. But it is absolutely wonderful to see an international article that asserts Taiwan independence as an equal and opposite view of the PRC's propaganda claim that Taiwan is a "breakaway" province. The findings?

Some 53.5 percent of U.S. participants in a May 16-18 Zogby interactive poll either strongly agreed (20.6 percent) or somewhat agreed (32.9 percent) that the United States has a responsibility to defend Taiwan should it be attacked by China. Another 21.5 percent somewhat disagreed and 14.5 percent strongly disagreed. A relatively high figure of 10.5 percent wasn't sure.

Self-described Republicans were more likely to voice support for Taiwan (70.5 percent saying either strongly agree or somewhat agree) compared to Democratic participants (8.5 percent strongly agree and 29.3 percent somewhat agree).

Asked if a Sino-U.S. military conflict is likely in the near future, 5.7 percent of respondents said it was very likely, 26.1 percent said somewhat likely, 39.7 percent said somewhat unlikely and 20.8 percent said very unlikely.

There is a 1.4-percentage-point margin of error in the data, which was taken from information provided by 5,141 U.S. residents.

Only 8 percent of Dems? Clearly we pro-Taiwan types have to be posting at DailyKos more often!


Chaon said...

The American left has had a soft spot for China, for at least three decades. Probably longer. China initiated its economic reforms while keeping the iron grip on politics, and the U.S. Dems refuse to do the math:
Maoism + capitalism = totalitarianism

And we're supposed to abhor totalitarianism. But China gets a free pass year after year.

I posted at Kos once. And the replies were uniformly stupid. If I spent enough time there, I'd become Red A.

Michael Turton said...

Yeah. But I hope to use this as the basis of a post at Kos later this week when things die down a bit.


Eli said...

It is something I've been wondering about--why it is that we always see Republican leaders coming to Taiwan and never Democrats, even ones who are pro-Taiwan. Part of the problems I see is the Democratic leadership, who as Liberal Oasis often says, still have not formulated a foreign policy vision, one that in my view should include both the promotion of democracy in China, but also the protection of it in Taiwan. The Democratic party and the Democratic Progressive Party should be natural allies. Based on the American experience, you would think there would be more sympathy among the US population for the idea of Taiwan independence, especially among progressives. But the other part of the problem is that few in the states understand the issues in Taiwan. They think there is just some internal conflict. That's probably how I would view things if I had never come here myself. Well, if you write something at dailykos, you might consider cross-posting at the European Tribune. There's a mixture of European and American readers there, many of whom are also dailykos readers. My post--The Dutch roots of New York and Taiwan--stayed on the frontpage there for a few days and got a lot of comments. In any case, I'll post something there once I get a chance. Hopefully the html links will work.

Michael Turton said...

Good points, Wulingren. I can't quite get a handle on Dem dimness either. It seems all that should apply to the Republicans as well, but it doesn't.


Eli said...

Thanks Michael. One thing that I find interesting about European Tribune is the similar complaints I've seen there about the international media's coverage of European politics, most recently in discussions about the French election, though there it is framed as left/right in a way that it is not in Taiwan. Jerome a Paris especially discusses this.

I also wonder how things would be different with coverage of China if China was clearly promoting a policy opposed to multi-national corporations--say, Socialist Democracy instead of Capitalist Authoritarianism (Totalitarianism). Which is the important element for the international media: capitalism or democracy? I know what I think.

Red A said...

One of the problems Taiwan presents the Democrats in the USA is that they feel we should do more through the UN and follow international law / international community more strongly. (See Kerry's "Global Test.")

Well, Taiwan isn't recognized by the UN, and in fact is considered a sovereign territory of China. So, by the international community and international law, we shouldn't defend Taiwan any more than Darfur, southern Thailand, or Chechenya.

On the other hand, we can look at Kosovo or East Timor (Timor Leste) but those are special cases that might not apply to Taiwan.

I'd suggest that Taiwan work harder on the Europeans since they seem to be able to swing the Dems around to supporting "grey area" ventures like Kosovo.

I suspect, however, that when push comes to shove, world opinion will not be very pro-Taiwanese.

p.s. Some liberals have commented that in general the intellectual right has more interest in foreign affairs, military history, etc. while the intellectual left tends to be more domestic policy oriented.

Anonymous said...

"The American left has had a soft spot for China, for at least three decades."

I totally disagree! I'm not for any particular party but as a black/Native American, I usually vote Democrat. I have never had a soft spot for China and for you to say the left has a soft spot for China, I mean comeon man!

Look at who's in office (president's) now, (the right-wingers), and look at who's been "ignoring" Taiwan now.

At least the new Congress with a Democrat majority has started cracking down on trade with China for a start. Geez! I get so sick of hypocritical people from the right talking down on people from the left, when we see an obvious example right now. I mean even Michael wrote on here about how the Bush administration literally prevents Taiwan from really arming itself because "it's one way to tell someone to defend themselves, but another to 'defend exactly how we tell you to defend'". Plus I still remember when Bush said something years ago about "promoting democracy around the world", well it looks like that's not the case with Taiwan here. It's funny how the Bush administration went into Iraq all of a sudden, when China has a lot of human rights issues that's probably even worse than Saddam Hussein's atrocities and their generals have even said they would nuke cities in California if we defended Taiwan. It's just pure ignorance. (not pointing at you here Karl)

Red A said...

I think Karl is referring more to harder leftists than most run-of-the-mill Democrats. Red Star over China, anti-imperialist/anti-colonialist leaning leftists.

Its one thing to tell people to defend themselves, its another to tell them how to do so, and yet another for the novice to ignore the advice of the sensei...

You know what they say about Taiwanese who support independence...they will fight to the last American soldier.

Seriously though, the KMT anger me even more than the DPP on this issue of defense. A pox on both their houses.

Anonymous said...

We, American left or right, have no soft spot for China. We act on our national interest. It is very consistent if you think about it.