In Hollywood tough-guy movies, one popular type of dialogue has been repeated many times. It goes more or less like this:
Tough Guy A: "If you ever touch her again, I'll kill you." Tough Guy B: "Is that a threat?" Tough Guy A: "No. That's not a threat. That's a promise."
With the enactment of the "Anti-Secession" Law, China has just made a promise, replacing its long-standing threat to use force against Taiwan if the latter does not make a "timely" surrender. So, the law is an ultimatum no matter how you slice it.
Although Beijing went to great lengths to sugar-coat the ultimatum, the camouflage is all too transparent. And, if not for the deadly seriousness of the subject matter, it is almost comical that they package the whole thing into a law.
The entire world is now awaiting the reaction of the Taiwanese people. They want to see what Taiwanese are made of before deciding whether or not it is worth lending them a hand. Just remember how much US public sentiment was moved by the courageous millions of Iraqis in their election efforts.
Internationally, it is courage that will attract friends and deter foes while weakness will only be greeted with contempt from both.