Wednesday, June 06, 2018

US Mulling Transiting Warships Through the Taiwan Strait "at a delicate moment" *sigh*

Road cruise

Yes, it's Reuters...
Exclusive: At delicate moment, U.S. weighs warship passage through Taiwan Strait
Phil Stewart, Idrees Ali

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is considering sending a warship through the Taiwan Strait, U.S. officials say, in a move that could provoke a sharp reaction from Beijing at a time when Sino-U.S. ties are under pressure from trade disputes and the North Korean nuclear crisis.


The last time a U.S. aircraft carrier transited the Taiwan Strait was in 2007, during the administration of George W. Bush, and some U.S. military officials believe a carrier transit is overdue.

Another, less provocative option would be resuming the periodic, but still infrequent, passages by other U.S. Navy ships through the Strait, the last of which was in July 2017.

The Pentagon declined comment on any potential future operations and it was unclear how soon a passage might take place.

Speaking in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying urged the United States to prudently handle the Taiwan issue so as to avoid harming bilateral ties and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait region.
*sigh* It's a collection of familiar, formulaic tropes. Why China funds Xinhua is a mystery to me, when Reuters does the same thing for free.

While a transit can be "less provocative" it is still "provocative". Are China's actions ever described as "provocative"?

Another common trope here is the idea of "it's a delicate moment". Relations between the two hegemonic superpowers are complex and dynamic, and there is always something going on. If the  US refrained  from taking action because "it's a delicate moment" it could never take action.

Note also the common trope of agency being removed from China and assigned to the US only. While Reuters says the US should consider itself constrained by the delicacy of the moment, China is never so constrained. The media does not write "At a delicate moment, China sends warplanes around Taiwan" or "At a delicate moment, China provokes US by occupying Philippines territory." Apparently no moment is so delicate that it could constrain China or cast its actions in a negative light.

This writing style normalizes China's belligerence and expansionism, turning it into an ongoing feature of the terrain, like weather or sea conditions. It places the onus of action entirely on the US, and thus, the blame for how things turn out entirely on the US.

Reuters also makes a gross error:
The United States is bound by law to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself, but it is unclear whether Washington would want to be dragged into war with China over the island.
The US is not bound by law to do anything with regard to Taiwan's defense. The Taiwan Relations Act is written specifically to prevent binding US officials.

Asked about U.S. obligations to Taiwan, Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Logan noted Washington has sold Taiwan more than $15 billion in weaponry since 2010.

“We have a vital interest in upholding the current rules-based international order, which features a strong, prosperous, and democratic Taiwan,” Logan said.
We need language like this to come out of the White House and the State Department.

China made its usual noise about Taiwan being a core issue. That is precisely why the US needs to put a carrier group through the Strait.

Because Taiwan is a core issue for the US and its Pacific allies, and for its vision of the international system that China is systematically destroying.
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Rick said...

Does the US still have a State Department?

m said...

Anonymous said...

"Does the US still have a State Department?"