Mon, Oct 08, 2007 - Page 8 News List

US choice: principle or realpolitik

By Jerome Keating

There are no quick or simple answers to determining a course of action between principles and realpolitik, but an understanding of this is crucial to gain perspective on the ludicrous way that US officials now try to lecture Taiwan. Should Taiwan's rights be put on hold because of a problem that others have created?

The misconstrued arguments from US State officials did not end there. US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Thomas Christensen addressed the US-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference with a carefully prepared speech.

Christensen said: "Under President Chen's [陳水扁] leadership, the MND has begun compiling more sophisticated budgets and sought increases in overall funding. For its part the opposition-controlled legislature has performed its role by vetting and passing these budgets, giving the executive branch most of what it requested," he said.

What is the source of Christensen's information, Taiwan's pan-blue media? Taiwan's pan-blue dominated legislature has refused budgets without discussion close to a hundred times.

It has done this not out of responsibility but simply with the recalcitrant aim of embarrassing Taiwan's president.

Christensen further said: "A Taiwan that can defend itself is a major factor for peace."

Ironically, when a token budget finally was passed, then the US denied Taiwan's request for F-16 fighter jets to defend itself.

The US State Department and the president do not seem to be on the same page.

Christensen still went on, "A strong Taiwan can also negotiate with Beijing with greater confidence and thereby pursue more effectively durable, equitable arrangements for cross-Strait peace."

Has Christensen never heard Beijing's repeated demands that before negotiations can begin, Taiwan must first admit it belongs to Beijing and must submit to it?

Next the symbolic code was brought up.

"The simple reality is that, in the world of cross-strait relations, political symbolism matters, and disagreements over it could be the source of major tensions or even conflict," he said.

Christensen indicated that he believes that China has drawn a line in the sand over its interpretation of a spurious symbolic code and names.

Who let China define the terms? What idiocy is it that would let the world go to war because of a disagreement over names?

The rhetoric and tone Christensen uses indicate that yet another secret Kissinger-like deal exists between the US and China. This bears examination. Do we now have a world where two hegemonic powers have gotten together and agreed to parcel out the freedom of countries smaller than them?

It is idiotic enough that a cabal of unelected leaders in China who autocratically operate with no transparency try to dictate that they can set the symbolic code for the world; it is even more idiotic that someone would make a deal with them and allow it.

Christensen continued that the US has strenuously made efforts to give Taiwan a place in the world and that President Chen and Taiwan were ruining its efforts.

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