Fri, Mar 04, 2011 - Page 8 News List

Realism does not mean inhumanity

By J. Michael Cole 寇謐將

One thing Glaser’s article does not address is how other regional powers, such as Japan and India, would react to China suddenly extending its line of control and threatening the first island chain and beyond. As Robert Kaplan writes in his most recent book, Monsoon, “China wants desperately to integrate Taiwan into its dominion, so that it can redirect its naval energies to the Indian Ocean” and thereby escape from the Strait of Malacca dilemma.

Here, as in the 1940s Europe from our alternate scenario, the likeliest outcome would be an arms race, perhaps even the entry of Japan as a nuclear power. From then on, any future conflict — now region-wide — would risk being even more devastating.

Lastly, it is unlikely Taiwanese would go gently into the night and allow their hard-earned democracy and freedoms to be devoured by the wolves simply for the sake of regional stability, or because the US followed Glaser’s advice and “abandoned” them. They would resist, and from that resistance would come tremendous pressure on the US and its allies to act. In other words, besides highlighting his poor moral judgment, Glaser’s gamble could make armed conflict between the US and China more likely rather than less.

J. Michael Cole is deputy news editor at the Taipei Times.

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