Mon, Mar 31, 2003 - Page 8 News List

Letter:

For or against us

I am really surprised about some of the war commentaries on the news. It looks like Taiwanese people should embrace the US and UK's action against Iraq, out of gratitude for the protection given us against the China threat.

Well, I give thanks to the US for its position against China bullying Taiwan, but this should not darken my ability to make a proper judgment on the war against Iraq.

Nazi Germany attacked and annexed countries around it under different excuses (not as imaginative as pre-emptive attack) but always with the notion of "national security."

Anyone with a bit of critical reasoning will agree that Iraq is not a paradise. There are quite a lot of doubts on the sincerity of Baghdad when it says that it has no weapons of mass destruction, or biological or chemical weapons. They are quite good in the game of deception.

But do all these make a unilateral attack on Iraq plausible? Does my dependence on US support in the international arena impede me from making an ethical discernment?

Should Taiwan blindly follow his "master" even though he may be wrong?

The US unilateralist attitude, the UN's inefficacy and Iraq's defiance all should be taken into account. Ethics are not merely based on utility, but on some principles. One of those is "reciprocal interest."

By this I do not mean that we should ethically approve what is good for us (this seems to be the idea in a lot of political commentaries) but to change roles when making the judgment.

This is known as the golden rule -- found in most of the ethical and religious codes all over the world -- "Do as you wish it should be done to you."

It may be in our national interest, for example, that US attacks Iraq, and takes control of the country and its oil reserves. As an oil-dependent economy this should boost our slugging economy.

But what if another country (much bigger and powerful than us) -- under what they consider enough evidence on a crucial question (separatist activism that intends to break their motherland) -- initiates an attack on our land under the premises of national security, international stability and liberation of our people from evil separatist forces?

How do we feel if they can do all this in front of a muted international bunch of spectators? We should aim to promote and defend a more substantial UN role in world affairs and to hope for a day in which "war," which has been reduced to a linguistic archaism, is only used as metaphor.

Today Taiwan is "interesting" to the US, but interests switch over time -- and then where should we go to make our claim heard? Who will stand at our side?

We should keep on denouncing UN injustice toward Taiwan, the UN's conflict of interests, the US "macho" attitude in world affairs, China's bullying.

Today we can, as a nation, give thanks to the US for their support, but as a good friend tell them, too, that sometimes it is quite an annoying, hypocritical ally.

Let's not be like the blind leading the blind. If in this subject the US has lost sight, let's offer them some light; keeping our eyes closed is not in our best interest.

Francisco Carin Garcia

Taishan, Taipei County

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