A statement by an “anti-war” working group signed by dozens of academics recently urged Taiwan to work toward averting a US-China war by maintaining positive and “equidistant” ties with both countries, saying it would help it avoid becoming an underling of US hegemony.
However, the target of the appeal for peace was not China, a country known for its “wolf warrior” diplomacy that frequently sends warplanes into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone, but an overwhelmed Taiwan that has been busy keeping Beijing’s aggressions at bay. It is disconcerting that these academics could come up with such preposterous notions.
The appeal for peace is redundant. That there is a Nobel Peace Prize, but no “Nobel No War Prize” shows that despite wars being waged around the world, war is an atrocity that should be avoided at all costs. Although world peace has not been fully achieved, it should be a common goal pursued by all.
Who would dare openly admit that they want war instead of peace? Even Russian President Vladimir Putin, who harbors ambition to conquer the sovereign nations that previously belonged to the Soviet Union, therefore launching an all-out invasion of Ukraine, still had to invent the phrase “special military operation” to beautify his actions. No dictator would admit that they intend to launch wars, or have a desire for war instead of peace.
According to Putin’s mindset, there have been no “wars” in the past, neither in the present nor in the future. The word “war” is not in his dictionary.
Similarly, China, a country that has been threatening Taiwan and stepping up military pressure against it, is a “peace-loving nation,” Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) said, adding that aggression or hegemony is not in the “blood of the Chinese nation.”
As invaders would not admit to waging wars and bullies claim that all they want is peace, it is obvious that it is easy to call for peace with empty words.
After all, the saying goes that “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.”
How could there be peace without a price? Unless utopia is realized on Earth, seeking peace without weapons is impossible.
Even Sweden, a neutral and nonaligned country, doubled its military spending from 1 percent to 2 percent of GDP after Russia started the Ukraine war.
By giving up one’s military prowess to sue for peace, albeit “free of charge,” comes with a heavy price.
As for averting a US-China war, Taiwan has absolutely no say in it. After all, a small nation such as Taiwan can hardly play a role in the dispute between two major world powers.
If the academics are serious about “equidistant” ties with China and the US, they should not only call for efforts to “avoid becoming an underling of the US hegemony,” but also for efforts to “avoid becoming a slave or pawn of the Chinese hegemony.”
US House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s plan to visit Taiwan, which might have changed into a meeting with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in the US, is a congenial gesture of the US toward Taiwan.
Such gestures are always condemned by China, which even pressured Taiwan not to form diplomatic ties with the Czech Republic or Lithuania.
It is preposterous to think that Taiwan could be on friendly terms with a country that has been relentless in its efforts to isolate it, without being on the receiving end of an abusive relationship.
People who say they are “peace-loving” and advocate unconditional surrender in the event of invasion have malicious intent. Such self-seekers often claim they would “die a Taiwanese.”
There are also public figures such as former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and his wife, who claimed that their US green cards had “expired and were invalidated automatically,” while their daughters and aunts are also fellow adherents of “toothbrushism,” meaning they live in Taiwan, but could flee at a moment’s notice, thanks to their US citizenship or residence in the country.
These people have servility written in their DNA, and are so allergic to the idea of democracy that they long for a Chinese communist government. Or perhaps they have Chinese nationalism so ingrained in them that they would rather see China take over Taiwan and cause bloodshed instead of letting Taiwanese decide their future.
Countries that are subject to bullying or an invasion, such as Taiwan or Ukraine, have the obligation to counter those actions and try to ensure their survival. They cannot afford the delusion to give up their struggle, oppose war or relinquish the right to survive.
Chang Kuo-tsai is a retired associate professor of National Hsinchu University of Education.
Translated by Rita Wang
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