Mon, Oct 08, 2007 - Page 8 News List

US choice: principle or realpolitik

By Jerome Keating

Someone please point out the specifics: What exactly has the US done and what results can be seen? Consider what would be the result if the US had treated Israel in the way it has treated Taiwan.

If Israel's president were snubbed and only allowed to land in Alaska while the US president received Arab leaders from around the world and then Christensen told Israel, "We are doing our best to give you a place in the world," what guffaws and catcalls would follow? Would he not be booed off the stage?

Christensen ignored history and tried to place the blame on Taiwan's president and the UN referendum. The UN Referendum was a "bad public policy initiative" that was "wrapped in the flag of democracy." If one just happened in at that moment, one might wonder if Christensen were talking about the Iraq War and President Bush.

Christensen no doubt felt he was sending the message his superiors wanted in his carefully prepared speech.

Unfortunately, in its belabored way, it demonstrated the US State Department's lack of wisdom, vision and consistency and its lack of balance between principles and realpolitik.

Those whose sense of history goes back to the Treaty of San Francisco and all that followed know that the source of the problem here is not President Chen Shui-bian.

With no real clue as to what is happening on the ground in Taiwan, the US State Department has only listened to the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) who wined and dined them in the days of dictator Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and his son, president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國).

It has never had sincere, realistic contact with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the people of Taiwan they represent.

Taiwan is being asked to take responsibility for the hole that the US has dug. China's provocative assertions and claims over the democratic people of Taiwan and its provocative pile of missiles against Taiwan are more harmful to the "status quo" and the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait than any statements or actions made by Taiwan.

The issue is freedom and dignity. Some express fear over Taiwan's use of the word sovereignty, but what defines sovereignty if dictators can use the word to justify their despotic claim to land while free men are denied the same expression?

Some express fear over Taiwan's use of the word independence, but what is independence if it is not the fruit of democracy?

Some express fears of all sorts and in that try to tell free men to be silent about what is really going on. Is this Taiwan's fault? Or does the blame more appropriately fall on China and its useful idiots?

Jerome Keating is a Taiwan-based writer.

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