Snap back to reality
Dennis Hickey’s criticism (Letters, May 30, page 8) of Gerrit van der Wees’ article (“The US will continue to support Taiwan,” May 16, page 8) reeks of the perverse logic and myopic perspective of an academic angling for support from moneyed interests in China and perhaps even the US.
He admits that Taiwan is a democracy, but since in his argument it allegedly has no strategic value to the US, it can be sacrificed.
Going further, he argues that the US can still profit economically from Taiwan even if its democratic values are sacrificed to China’s autocracy, thus the US should not be concerned.
Finally, as he criticizes van der Wees for trying to “prove” his love for Taiwan, Hickey has no compunction about showing his disdain for Taiwan as an ally of the US and for its democracy. Somehow, he concludes we can all love Taiwan and at the same time sacrifice it to China — for moneyed interests of course. What passport does he hold?
It is my belief that it is Dennis Hickey who could use a good dose of reality (Letters, May 30, page 8). He also ought to learn a few lessons in civility and common courtesy.
I wonder how many “foreign policy analysts” there are who would call Gerrit van der Wees (“The US will continue to support Taiwan,” May 16, page 8) a “great white father,” who can no longer objectively analyze the danger-fraught, highly complex trilateral relationship between Washington, Taipei and Beijing from a proper perspective, because he has “gone native.”
In fact, I believe that Hickey owes van der Wees an apology.
By using such racist expressions as “going native” and “great white fathers” (I think that someone has perhaps seen the movie Dances With Wolves once too often), Hickey is not only displaying his ignorance in general, he also betrays his specific ignorance regarding van der Wees.
Previously, van der Wees worked as an aerospace engineer for the Dutch government on its space policy. In 2005, he moved to Washington to work on issues that concerned Taiwan. His wife is Taiwanese and since 1980, he and his wife have worked sub rosa on human rights in Taiwan via their newsletter, Taiwan Communique, www.taiwandc.org.
In 1980, Taiwan was still under martial law. Taiwan has the “distinction” of having had the longest period of martial law of any country in the world; only in 1987 was martial law lifted by then-president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國).
Therefore, for seven years, this courageous couple took no little risk in struggling for social and human rights in Taiwan.
Van der Wees is spot on in giving his reasons why the US should support Taiwan, especially when he writes: “First and foremost, Taiwan is a democracy ... If the US wants democracy to prevail in East Asia, it had better stand by its allies.”
Now, let’s compare Van der Wees’ words with what Hickey scribbles in his contemptible, despicable letter, namely: “Yes, Taiwan is a democracy, but it has little or no strategic value to the US.”
First, Hickey is dead wrong to state that Taiwan is of “little or no strategic value to the US.” Taiwan is of paramount strategic importance, not only to the US, but to many other countries.
However, it is Hickey’s sneering, cavalier dismissal of Taiwan’s democracy that I find most shocking and sickening.
The cherished and precious ideals of liberty, democracy and freedom supposedly form the very bedrock of US society. The US founding fathers put their own lives at risk. Any one of them — if caught — faced being hanged by order of Great Britain’s King George III.