Calls by what remains a small number of voices in the US academic community for Washington to “ditch” Taiwan for the sake of better relations with China reached a new low last week with the publication of an opinion piece in the New York Times by Paul Kane, a former international security fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School.
Earlier this year, a handful of articles were published in journals, including Foreign Affairs, making the case that realist US foreign policy required the abandonment of Taiwan to clear the way for a full relationship with China in difficult economic times. Reactions to those pieces then showed beyond doubt that the arguments advanced by those academics failed on several grounds, including moral.
As this newspaper argued in response to the previous articles, the 23 million people who inhabit this nation are not mere commodities who can be traded by larger nations on a diplomatic chessboard. Not only is the commodification of human beings morally bankrupt, it is also a recipe for disaster, as the subjects — treated as pawns in the machinations of great power politics — are unlikely to regard such decisions with equanimity.
Just as Cambodia was treated as mere sideshow to the Vietnam War by the administration of then-US president Richard Nixon, creating, among other things, the political conditions that allowed for the emergence of the genocidal Khmer Rouge, regarding Taiwan in the same manner for the sake of diplomatic or economic returns by Beijing is dangerously shortsighted and naive. For one, no Taiwanese would accept the imposition of a political system that is not only alien to them, but that is also repressive and undemocratic. Not to mention that Beijing is unlikely to become a responsible stakeholder simply because Taiwan has been “returned” to the “motherland.”
It was not originality that set Kane’s op-ed apart from its predecessors, but rather how poorly it fared in every respect. So much so, that in the backlash that ensued, it managed to make academics who do not see eye-to-eye on Taiwan agree with one another. Even in economic terms, Kane’s proposed strategy of “selling out” Taiwan so that Beijing would forgive the US’ trillion-dollar-plus debt would, as Business Insider showed on Friday, only succeed in crippling China’s banking system.
It boggles the mind that a reputable publication like the New York Times would open its coveted editorial space to a “defense expert” whose credentials are far less than meets the eye. Kane, who has a bachelor’s degree in political economy from the University of Maryland, was a fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School for only one year and did not obtain a degree there. He served in Iraq for one year, in 2003, in political affairs. Sources describe him as a “poseur” and a “climber” who should not have been allowed to set foot in Harvard to begin with.
The question, then, is why, given the author’s rather dubious academic credentials and the many flaws in the article, the Times allowed what can only be described as facetious hogwash to appear in its pages. Should it bother to get Taiwan’s story right, there are a good number of academics in the US and abroad to whom it could have turned for columns on China and Taiwan. Kane is not one of them.
His piece, rather than convincing decision makers, achieved the opposite and undermined the paper’s credibility in the process.
As China’s economy was meant to drive global economic growth this year, its dramatic slowdown is sounding alarm bells across the world, with economists and experts criticizing Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) for his unwillingness or inability to respond to the nation’s myriad mounting crises. The Wall Street Journal reported that investors have been calling on Beijing to take bolder steps to boost output — especially by promoting consumer spending — but Xi has deep-rooted philosophical objections to Western-style consumption-driven growth, seeing it as wasteful and at odds with his goal of making China a world-leading industrial and technological powerhouse, and
For Xi Jinping (習近平) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the military conquest of Taiwan is an absolute requirement for the CCP’s much more fantastic ambition: control over our solar system. Controlling Taiwan will allow the CCP to dominate the First Island Chain and to better neutralize the Philippines, decreasing the threat to the most important People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Strategic Support Force (SSF) space base, the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on Hainan Island. Satellite and manned space launches from the Jiuquan and Xichang Satellite Launch Centers regularly pass close to Taiwan, which is also a very serious threat to the PLA,
During a news conference in Vietnam on Sept. 10, a reporter asked US President Joe Biden about the possibility of China invading Taiwan. Biden replied that Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) is too busy handling major domestic economic problems to launch an invasion of Taiwan. On Wednesday last week, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office published a document outlining 21 measures to make the Chinese-controlled Fujian Province into a demonstration zone for relations with Taiwan. The planned measures would expand favorable treatment for Taiwanese people and companies, and seek to attract people from Taiwan to buy property and seek employment in Fujian.
More than 100 Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) vessels and aircraft were detected making incursions into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Sunday and Monday, the Ministry of National Defense reported on Monday. The ministry responded to the incursions by calling on China to “immediately stop such destructive unilateral actions,” saying that Beijing’s actions could “easily lead to a sharp escalation in tensions and worsen regional security.” Su Tzu-yun (蘇紫雲), a research fellow at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research, said that the unusually high number of incursions over such a short time was likely Beijing’s response to efforts