The US is shifting loyalties
Recent remarks from Washington emphasizing how Taiwan's defense would need to be decided by a congressional vote should come as no surprise. America is gradually and publicly distancing itself from its previous stance in defense of Taiwan.
This is just the latest example of the US demonstrating where its loyalties are. Sadly it is is no longer in protecting lands of democracy, freedom and where the rule of law is upheld. It is in protecting lands where the largest deposits of fossil fuel are situated, where autocrats and puppets rule, and where the most money is to be made. It has become clear that Taiwan's guardian angel for the last five decades is getting cold feet and is leaning ever closer to the other side of the Strait.
Economics has everything to do with why the US stance on Taiwan is beginning to drift. Taiwan's time as the factory for middle America has passed with only a few technologically advanced manufacturers left in the country; everything else has been shipped to China's burgeoning cities and sweatshops.
The US has the gall to chastise the EU for considering lifting its arms embargo against China. They don't do this out of concern for Taiwan, but for fear that in the not too distant future the arms will be used against their troops. One may ask -- why locate all its factories in China in the first place? This gave China the means to develop into Asia's hegemonic state.
The answer is simple: corporate greed. It is obvious that big business now rules Capitol Hill, and big business has set up shop in the middle kingdom. Keeping the wheels of the behemoth economy turning is now more important to the US than foreign wars and the resulting casualties.
Maintaining the "status quo" is just the most convenient method for the US to sustain its economic prominence. What is the mantra now emanating from Washington towards Taipei? It is simply "defend yourself." How?
By spending billions of dollars on weapons, which also keeps the US economy ticking. By preserving the "status quo" the US remains in a win-win situation, selling arms to Taiwan and taking advantage of China's cheap labor.
The people of Taiwan should be alarmed, because despite the disgraceful way they have been treated of late, the US is still their one and only friend on the world stage. If the US suddenly deserted Taiwan, who else would Taiwan have? The rest of the hypocrites in the developed world would stand back and watch its destruction should China ever invade, with maybe a diplomatic protestation or two. Taiwan needs to stand up for itself in the face of this degrading diplomatic bullying.
The message to Taiwan is to take action now, before the country sinks further into China's economic shadow, while Taiwan still holds sway with US business and the military balance is still slightly in Taiwan's favor. China still has something to lose in the great propaganda coup that is the 2008 Olympics.
Preserving the "status quo" only serves the interest of Beijing and the US, not Taiwan. Meantime, China continues its relentless arms buildup. Taiwan becomes economically weaker and loses its military edge, while the US carries on with its hopeless cross-strait balancing act.
This is not about an outright declaration of independence, but something along the lines of the name-change proposed by Chen Shui-bian and the new constitution. These types of moves may provoke Beijing into limited action, exposing the true nature of this authoritarian ogre to the rest of the world, while gaining Taiwan some much-deserved international support. This would also force the US government into demonstrating whether they really stand for defending freedom and democracy.