Friday, June 15, 2012

Avoiding the US-China War: Sell Out Taiwan

The NY Times offered a rare piece in an Establishment newspaper: one that pointed out that the US and China are on a collision course. Unfortunately, basing its argument on a book by Hugh White that argues for a power-sharing agreement in East Asia, it quickly reaches for the usual....
To avoid this, White’s suggested East Asian order would establish red lines that the United States and China would both agree not to cross — most notably a guarantee not to use force without the other’s permission, or in clear self-defense. Most sensitively of all, while China would have to renounce the use of force against Taiwan, Washington would most probably have to publicly commit itself to the reunification of Taiwan with China.
According to the author, White also argues that the US should cease working for democracy and human rights in China.

There's not much to say here. White is primarily thinking about power sharing in East Asia; in this kind of thinking democracies have allies for the same reason that Congressmen have principles: so they can sell them.

I think, instead of offering Taiwan to appease Beijing, the US should take White's suggestion and go one better: sell out Australia to Beijing. It's practically empty, it's much bigger than Taiwan, and the beaches are better. Who cares if the people of Australia object? Isn't the greatness of a realpolitik move measured by the number of one's friends it betrays?

For those interested in the long version of why selling out Taiwan won't work, see this post on Finlandizing Taiwan. The short version is simple and obvious: it doesn't address the problem, which is Chinese expansionism -- instead, it rewards it.
Daily Links:
  • Typhoon updates from the CWB. Looks like it might miss us completely. We could use a break.
  • Did Facebook suspend the accounts of Hong Kong and Taiwan activists on purpose? 
    Facebook is blocked in mainland China, but is used heavily by the rest of the Chinese-speaking world, including Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan. Political activists in Hong Kong and Taiwan use Facebook as their primary tool to mobilize support for their causes and activities. On June 1, when scores of activists' accounts were deactivated in Taiwan and Hong Kong, outrage and conspiracy theories quickly spread across the Internet. Activists in Hong Kong suspected political foul play, given that their accounts were suspended just as they were organizing major protests to commemorate the 23rd anniversary of the June 4 massacre.
  • China Airlines to buy 10 planes. Boeing or Airbus?
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums! Delenda est, baby.


Mike Fagan said...

My Mudan reservoir piece isn't done yet - so that link won't work.

You only caught a glimpse of it because I pre-publish from time to time to check the alignment of images and text (Blogger's preview function is poor).

Readin said...

" this kind of thinking democracies have allies for the same reason that Congressmen have principles: so they can sell them."

Very well put. Is it original? (in case I want to quote it I'll know who to credit)

Greg Hao said...

Nice to see the Times onctinue its long hallowed tradition of publishing OpEds which vociferously call for the sell out of Taiwan to China.

Ryan said...

I'm going to hazard a guess that the americans will not participate in appeasement no matter what some guy in the NYT writes.

David said...

Hugh White is Australia's leading commentator on defense issues. Many of Australia's elite have come to the opinion that Australia's trade with China is more valuable and important than its defense alliance with the US.

Michael Turton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Turton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Turton said...

Not really surprising that Aussie elites are coming to that conclusion.

Anonymous said...

Does Hugh White actually say the US will have to commit to reunification, or is that just the conclusion this writer has drawn? I wonder.

Always shocking to see someone blithely willing to sign off on a decision about other peoples' business. But I say though the US has gone as far as it will and will stay where it's at -- refusing to support Taiwan's independence movement. And I'd be shocked if China ever openly renounced use of force, though they may give up on that as a realistic option.

Michael Turton said...

yes, the red lines have already been reached, basically. That is why all this talk of power sharing etc is basically empty.


Lorenzo said...

Is the true intention of those 'selling out Taiwan' articles to sell out Taiwan or is it to sell out the US?

Call me paranoid but I do suspect that a certain group of Americans very much like to see communism China strong and American morale to defend freedom low.

The purpose of 'selling-out Taiwan' is just as obvious as Paris Peace Treaty. It also started with one or two harmless articles mentioning 'yeah, maybe we should sell out S. Vietnam'. In the end it successfully sold out the lives of 60,000 American and 200,000 S. Vietnamese soldiers.

NYT serves as a mouth piece for that purpose again? I am not surprised.

dl said...

on the foreign policy link - yes quite a few people i knew had issues with FB, whether account shut down or odd activity, esp those who posted anything regardling Tiananmen. such as myself. in addition, gmail had issues specifically with human rights orgs esp on lines of Tibet, Taiwan independence, etc. (example amnesty intl taiwan, taiwan association for human rights, nylon cheng memorial foundation, formosa foundation, etc). pro publica is requesting emails to be sent to them if this occurred so they can compiled data and figure out who "might" be behind it. hm.