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"Losing my faith in humanity ... one neocon at a time."

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

posted by Jazz at 12/09/2003 09:10:00 AM

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And So We Abandon Taiwan, But Perhaps for the Best

This week, the White House issued a very blunt warning to the government of Taiwan, expressing a distinct lack of support for any move to vote on issues of independence. This is in keeping with the "One China" principle which we have endorsed for many years. There is some good, in-depth coverage of it in this New York Times article, by David E. Sanger.

There are a number of factions in congress that are in favor of Taiwanese independence, and I think they have been greatly cheered by Bush's policy of spreading democracy across the globe. Such a policy, though, is apparently not in the cards when we need China's economic and military muscle so badly in dealing with free trade issues and the North Korean problem.

I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, it's hard to mentally abandon the Taiwanese to the human rights repressions they would doubtless face if China takes more direct control of the island. But on the other hand, one thing we absolutely can NOT afford is war with China. And trying to face them down over the Taiwan issue could realistically result in war in a worst case scenario.

I can only hope that some sort of reconciliation between mainland China and Taiwan results in a mixing of their attitudes. Perhaps the Taiwanese can embrace a bit more of their Chinese heritage, while Beijing could benefit from exposure to the island's more enlightened society and continue to move towards a more humanitarian system. China's human rights record is nothing short of dismal, but as technology continues to spread information across the world, slow improvements have even been seen there.