Saturday, March 02, 2013

Saturday Night Short Shorts + Links

When Beijing Correspondents Write: How one security concern in Asia is quietly easing. I was going to rip this China-centered ditty until I saw it was from the Beijing correspondent, then figured there was no point in it. All parts of it are stiffly mediocre, but especially delightful is the writer's observation that Chen Shui-bian was "pro-independence" while the political orientation of Ma and the KMT are never referred to.

Ted Galen Carpenter on the ROC's Senkaku claims says there have been "angry demonstrations" in Taiwan's cities about the Senkakus. Hahahaha. With response from ROC representative too. Yet Carpenter's main points about the silliness of the ROC's desire to insert itself into the debate is largely correct. On the other hand, perhaps we should be thankful that the Ma Administration has decided to proxy for Beijing in this. Can you imagine the fallout if Chinese and Japanese ships attacked each other with water hoses? (or real weapons...)

Speaking of the Senkakus, DPP stalwart and former ambassador to the US Joseph Wu said that the Taiwan representative office in the US encouraged Nationalist groups in the US to protest against Japan. Pure nuttery. The devious position of the Ma Administration is rather like the covert anti-PRC, anti-independence campaign KMT operatives carry out in the refugee camps on Tibet's border. Whatever the specific issue, the tactics remain the same....

Can Taiwan resist Beijing's unification drive? Probably, if writers on the topic would learn their history and forthrightly represent Taiwan's pro-independence majority so that the world could understand what is going on. Not to mention stop writing sentences like "Since 1949, when the People’s Republic was founded, China has never stopped longing for the island..."

Notes from the New Kellogg-Briand Generation I: Kerry in his nomination hearings worried that the US might offend China with its tiny, limp pivot. Has he internalized Beijing's propaganda stances as a basis for analysis? A scary prospect.

Notes from the New Kellogg-Briand Generation II: Adm. Tim Keating, he of the Great Bush Arms Freeze of 2008, when a vast whiteout engulfed Taiwan's defense procurements from the US, thinks the US should train Chinese officers at the US military academies. Keating thinks this will help communications, etc. Except for being incredibly stupid, short-sighted, and suicidal, it's probably not a bad idea, since whenever China chooses to throw a fit over some US action, it will give them something to cut off that won't cost the US anything. The US military is like an Androcles perpetually searching for a thorn in the paw of the Chinese lion, and wondering why they keep getting scratched whenever they reach for it.

Conference participants say Taiwan must do more in its own defense. I wish somewhere there was a voice chiding the western democracies to do more in Taiwan's defense.

North Korea sues Taipower because it didn't deliver nuclear waste for disposal in North Korea, along with $300 million in hard currency. I can't wait to catch the one-liners on this one. This contract is for 60,000 barrels and was signed in...1997.

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.


Marc said...

So, I wanted to know what you thought about Jiang's threat to quit if the nuke plant is a no go. Based on your analysis, it is a no go. Is this Jiang's way of announcing his retirement?

Michael Turton said...

No matter what their actual policy is, this is something Jiang has to say. I'm waiting on a friend's political analysis.

Readin said...

Regarding the comment wishing there were a voice chiding democracies to do more in Taiwan's defense: How do we make that case when someone can point to Taiwan's lack of defense?

Korea, facing a threat from a smaller population, has a two-year draft.

Israel, facing enemies all around but none as powerful as China, has an even longer draft period.

These countries can make a case that they're serious about defending themselves and that helping them defend themselves will lead to a long-term ally.

Facing increasing hostility from China, Taiwan shortened its draft period. How are we to think Taiwan is serious about defending itself? It's easy to think that defending Taiwan will only lead to long-term animosity from China with no offsetting benefit once Taiwan surrenders with hardly any fight (or perhaps no fight at all).

As much as I would love for Taiwan to be free and to remain independent, I don't see how I have much of case to make for risking American reputation and technology, and especially American lives for a people who seem to be preparing for surrender.

Ma may have only won by a small majority, but in a country serious about freedom and independence he wouldn't have gotten anywhere near the presidency nor would the party of blocking arms purchases been re-elected yet again to a majority (much less a solid majority like they have) regardless of other minor domestic concerns.

Michael Turton said...

Taiwan used to have a long draft period -- when there was no need since China had no navy. What's the political function of a long draft period?

Before you claim that the draft period is too short, what are Taiwan's defense needs, in terms of manpower?


Readin said...

Taiwan's defense need is to deter China from invading because an occupation would be impossible because there would be no way to subdue 5 to 10 million well-armed well-trained men in a hostile urban/mountain environment unless you're prepared to nuke all the cities.

A perimeter defense would be great, but as time passes China will be better and better armed and Taiwan comparatively tiny economy simply won't be able to keep up in terms of sophistication and quantity weapons.

The idea of holding out until the America intervenes is a recipe for disaster and failure as America's performance in Vietnam, Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan demonstrate. If America can't win the war in a few days or without putting significant numbers of soldiers at risk, America leaves immediately if you're lucky. Otherwise America sticks around long enough for the place to be thoroughly destroyed so a Democrat can get elected and surrender. I'm not sure how either scenario benefits Taiwan.

If Taiwan wants to be able to defeat a Chinese invasion they need to figure out how to do it on their own or with at most some small arms smuggled in from abroad.

Of course such a defense has its own drawbacks. The biggest advantage is that it has the best chance of deterring attack and avoiding all destruction. But if there is an attack such a defense will guarantee great destruction and a lot of civilian casualties. Are Taiwanese willing to pay such a price? I won't judge them harshly if they're not because the price is terrible beyond imagination. But it is the price they must be willing to pay if they want freedom.

If they're not willing to pay that price for themselves, what right do they have to ask for help?

Mike Fagan said...

your blog is being phished - someone asking for cell-phone number...

I had a comment to Readin - maybe lost now.