2006-03-09

Peace as a strategy to curb TI

Via ESWN comes this essay on mainland China's strategy to Taiwan (寒竹:台海战略构想:和平制独,武力御外, with comments by 学渊点评).

The most interesting paragraph is this one below, that echoes the essence of my early posts, and that in How to pin Taiwan. The author proposed "appealing to 'peace' " as a strategy that addresses the fundamental cause (釜底抽薪,和平制独) of the conflict today. I agree.
  • Below are key points from the essay (inside [square brackets] are minor notes inserted by myself).
  • A grand wisdom [strategy] is required to tackle the current challenge. One should not act passively fighting word games with the TI'er on the island.
  • "Giving in" or "retreating" in a local battle is a key step to victory in a grand "warfare", as demonstrated by Duke of Jin Wen (Spring-Autmn Era 600BC), Kutuzov in 1812 and even Mao Zedong in Yanan.
  • Why the (mainland) Chinese government cannot attempt to dissolve [weaken] the TI support by taking the first step to 'give in'? Why can't the mainland government be more active and launch a "peace" campaign? (e.g.) What purpose do the missiles in Fujian [mainly Jiangxi, I think] serve? You cannot fire them to Taiwan any time soon, and the only result we can see is that it serves to push Taiwanese people further away. Why not move them away from the strait?
  • Internationally, why the mainland cannot be more "generous"? In issues peripheral to sovereignty, such as health, culture and commerce, why can't it give more space to Taiwan? or assist Taiwan in these areas when it is convenient [as it does with HK]? This way it can at least win some good will from the Taiwanese people.
  • Appealling to the Taiwan people with 'peace' is the (only) fundamental solution to the current quaqmire
These are fairly obvious to mostly everybody outside the mainland. I am surprised that they have not been taken seriously until now. I am also surprised that CCP bureaucrats have not thought about it. After all, they are not dumb. They managed to lead China to what it is today. This continues to puzzle me.

One of the reasons that has led to the support of TI is the total disappointment in any government from the mainland, from Qing, to Chen Yi, to Chiang Kai Shek, to CCP. The light green would rather take their own fate into their own hands. This is perfectly reasonable and understandable. To reverse the trend one has to address the source of the "problem", i.e., to show them that mainlanders have learned, they can manage a country, and they will respect their compatriots in Taiwan like their own brothers. Unfortunately, many in the mainland failed to understand this. They still maintain that any "reconciliation" will encourage TI, which is exactly the opposite.

Here is the relevant paragraph from the essay
  • (二)釜底抽薪,和平制独

    理解了美台社会对台独势力的基本态度,中国政府的对台战略应该非常清楚。在所有的战略选择中,武装恐吓是最不明智的。在台海两岸的分离状态中,只要台湾没有公开宣布独立,中国政府轻言动武,一方面是给台独势力在岛内的扩张提供杠杆和动力,另一方面,叫而不动,只能证明自己是一只纸老虎。徒给台独势力增加勇气。

    对台布局有两点最重要,一要有战略高度的审时度势,二是要有大战略,大智慧,大魄力。

    目前,台海两岸的形势是,大陆经济势力正在全球迅速扩张,而台湾的经济发展正在日益依赖大陆。如两岸一切发展正常,不出意外,大在二○○八年的奥运会和二○一○年的上海世博会后,经济发展会再有一次飞跃,中华民族在周边的影响力也会进一步扩展。随着两岸的经济,文化交流日益密切,越来越多的台湾人会到大陆寻找经济机会,越来越多的青年学子会到大陆读书,最终大陆会地吸走台湾的经济政治文化资源。台湾会完全成为大中华经济文化圈的一部分。随着时间的发展,台独在岛内越来越难有民间的基础。台湾作为一个自由经济社会,政府无法用政治力量来阻止这一趋势。只有一个例外才能阻止大陆对台湾的席卷之势,那就是大陆自己发生动乱,崩溃。台独势力现在对中国政府的步步紧逼,正是从反面说明了时间发展对台独极为不利,台独势力已经清楚感觉到了大陆经济迅速发展对台湾社会的巨大影响。逼大陆动武就是希望大陆动武失败而导致大陆社会出现动乱而全盘崩溃。(请注意马英九龙应台的“价值观”言论,大陆完全没有席卷人心之势,学渊评)

    鉴于这么一个局势,中国政府应该有充分的自信,不要轻言动武。只要台湾不正式宣布独立,不废中华民国的国号,对台独所有的挑衅活动,中国政府应该柔性对待,对台湾民众诉之以情,晓之以理,以获得台湾民众和世界舆论对中国政府维护和平立场的理解的和支持,同时把台独试图以独立活动逼大陆动武的险恶用心暴露在世人面前。中国政府现在最重要的任务之一是用和平政策占领道义上的优势,和平翻过二OO八年的门槛。在当今世界的政治角逐中,是否占有道义优势是各方能否获胜的一个重要因素。这次丹麦穆斯林漫画事件就是一个典型例子。本来穆斯林世界是这次漫画事件的受害者,理应受到各国的同情和支持。但由于部分穆斯林在一些地区的暴力活动反而使得自己在全球失去道义上的优势,受到世人遣责。这是一个惨痛教训。因此,在台湾问题上,中国政府应以和平政策牢牢地占稳道德制高点,使台独势力的悲情诉求和弱者摆脱强权的政治操作找不到力着点。只要台独势力在二○○八年以前找不到和平建国的力着点,就是中国的胜利。(把问题想简单了,学渊评)

    要化解台独在岛内的力量,中国政府一定要有大智慧和大魄力,而不能锱铢必计于语言上的一句一词之得失,不要被台独的一个文字游戏就搞得进退失据。如果对台独势力的挑衅处处争夺,必然是处处被动,被台独牵着鼻子走,重蹈国民党在内战时处处防守的复辙。大陆这几年所谓针锋相对地反对渐进的法理台独,完全是书生之见,也是中国政府对台战略的一个错误。如果只是专注于防止所谓法理上的台独而忽略了争取台湾民心这一根本大局,舍本逐末,中国政府在台湾问题上一定必输无疑。什么是法理?法理的力量有多大?法理是写在纸上的东西,纸上的东西必须服从现实的力量。双方实力的消涨必然导致法理的变化。从一九四九年到一九七一年台湾政府不是在法理上代表中国吗?但没有实力法理能持久吗?当大陆有了更强的实力,在世界上有了决定性影响,不是一样在一九七一年从法理上取代了台湾吗?现在为什么对几句写在纸上的文字就如临大敌呢?中国共产党执政 半个多世纪,确是有些丧失了当年的自信和气魄。什么是自信和气魄?不是逞口舌之快,不是喊打喊拼,而是敢于退让。晋文公退避三舍,库图佐夫火烧莫斯科,毛泽东弃守延安就是一种自信和气魄。为了瓦解台独在岛内的力量,中国政府为什么不能以退为进呢?为什么不能对台湾发动积极的和平攻势呢?福建境内对准台湾的导弹有什么用?现在既不能发射到台湾,也不能威摄台独,只能让台湾民众离心离德。为什么不能撤出福建以分化台独势力呢?同时,中国政府在国际上为什么不能大度一点,在不涉及国家主权的商业,文化,卫生事务中,为什么不可以多给台湾一点空间,甚至主动提携台湾,由此获得台湾民众多一点的好感呢?从岛内的政治生态来看,中国政府的和平政策每进一步,都在给岛内蓝橘两营(已经有蓝无橘,宋楚瑜气息奄奄了,学渊评)的反独力量提供新的空间,都在瓦解台独势力的社会基础。从这个意义上讲,和平攻势是孤立台独势力的利器,是促进岛内自身反独力量增长的动力。因此,笔者坚持认为,仅仅是被动地对台独势力进攻处处设防,是扬汤止沸,只有和平攻势才能对台独 釜底抽薪。这就是笔者以前讲的只有和平攻势才能制台独于死命的真实含义,也是台海无战事的基本依据。只要中国政府坚持柔性的和平攻势,蓝橘两营在台湾就有足够的力量和运作的空间来阻止台独。台独势力二○○八年前在岛内就很难掀起独立的浪潮,台海也必然无战事。


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12 comments:

David said...

I think you're missing the most obvious strategy:
Wait for the KMT to regain power and *then* do all those things.
That could be the answer to your puzzle ...

Sun Bin said...

:)

My personal opinion is that they do not have to wait. In fact, doing these things helps KMT to 'regain' power. Otherwise, they may never be able to see that day...a vicious circle.

I was never able to understand why one wants to kick his brother's (or son's) ass just because the brother wants to move out or change his name, and why that would help one's cause.

Michael Turton said...

It's easy to understand why, Sun Bin. Because they want to "win", not merely annex Taiwan. "Winning" means "winning on my terms" not on terms that would get me to my goals. China thinks of Taiwan as a subordinate, and in Chinese culture, the role of the subordinate is to affirm the heirarchy.

I used to think that the peace offensive idea might be workable. But China has screwed Taiwan so many times that regaining Taiwan's trust may be impossible -- and now there are two political parties that have a vested interest in the long-term development and expression of the Taiwan identity.

Another problem with the peace offensive is that if Taiwan can get all it needs from China without actually annexing itself to China, doesn't that prove that Taiwan doesn't need to be part of China, and China doesn't really need to be part of it?

I wish there could be a peace offensive. Then the mainland might discover that it doesn't need Taiwan to enjoy its 9% economic growth. Then China might find it can live in peace with Taiwan.

And that last is why there will never be a peace offensive.

Michael

Sun Bin said...

That maybe one of the reason. But I do not think it is the complete answer. If you look at how they deal with HK, they have learned to compromise. I believe there is some genuine learning in th Tung Cheehwa lesson, and some of the gestures to Taiwan represent genuine change in approach or strategy. Though that is not enough. They simply do NOT understand Taiwan and how Taiwan people has come to what it is today, and one of the main reason is prejudice and presumptions. They need to go to visit Taiwan to gain such understanding.

about the 9% growth. yes and no. without investment from Taiwanese business it could be 7% (although one should also deduct 2% in Taiwan's GDP/wealth growth as well)

James said...

Two biggest things that are wrong:

1) China is "where it is today" both because and despite the management of the CCP. What if there was no cultural revolution? What if there was no Great Leap Forward? You're talking about rapid development after decades of stagnation, and from a very, very poor state both per a person and until these last couple of decades, in absolute terms as well. You can't just look at the last 15 years and say, yeah, CCP is managing well. Add everything up and have a proper perspective of where China should be.

2) What exactly do you hope to achieve by unification and what kind of unification are you talking about? I do agree with you that China should be trying peaceful measures if they hope to achieve unification with Taiwan. However, Taiwanese independence is also attractive apart from China's hardline posture.

Let's talk about the efficiency of China's government. How does that compare to a local democracy? Tell me--is there any task done now by Taipei that handed over to Beijing would be more efficient? There could be some sharing of resources (one big thing would be national defense, but of course Taiwan basically fears China!), but the efficiency and flexibility of China's central government is horrible. This is precisely why decentralization of power to China's provinces has been so effective--it gives the provinces the ability to adjust to economic shifts and compete against one another for business (thus making everyone more efficient). The only possilbe unification for Taiwan would have to be something that could allow Taiwan to maintain its localized, democratic government, and really the best way of doing this is maintaining independence or something close to it.

China's trend will be towards decentralization, not centralization. China's central government, whatever form, whether Qing, KMT, or CCP has an extremely poor track record. Perhaps from time to time, there were just "bad leaders" in charge. But I think there's something just intrinsically wrong with the centralization--China's had problems with national unity, not just because of a weak central government, but also because there's a long memory of Beijing never doing a good job.

My take in sum. China is too centralized and needs to continue to decentralize power, and hopefully to move towards democracy. Does Taiwan fit in with a decentralized China? I don't know, but I don't think "unification", for non-ideological, rational reasons would be anything like what people think unification should look like (basically independence but folded in at a determined time, like 30 years later).

Sun Bin said...

james,

1) still, CCP (esp Deng xiaoping) deserve a lot of credit. let's compare phillipines, mexico, etc. there have been many worse jobs done in this world.
in addition, how mainland china got to where it was in 1978 is not just GLF and CR, the mess started in 1800s. the old mandarin and KMT were all responsible for that. I see that as one of the reason that some TI supporters distrust the ability of the mainland government. It is not just about the CCP, it is about almost everyone since 1800s.

2) I do not hope to achieve anything. the assumption for this post is that given CCP's objective, how could they best achieve it. their problem is they are not doing what is needed for what they want. (and mostly the exact opposite)

In fact, you could raise the same question/criticism to TI'er and DPP/TSU. "what exactly do you hope to achieve by independence and what kind of independence?" by declaring nominal independence does the threat of war go away? what really will be changed?

so, in a way, politicians in both sides of the strait are masterbating.

3) government efficiency and competency. I think there is strength and weakness for both today. however, i believe CCP is proposing something that give TW all the freedom it has today, except diplomacy and some nominal decorative stuff, for which TW does not have much anyway. look at HK, add true democracy and own army.

4) regarding centralization. this is a management question. US is as large as China, e.g..today PRC is already very decentralized. does it need to be further decentralized? i don't know. a large country is difficult to rule in the past because communication was difficult. that is no longer so as we have phone/plane/internet.

James said...

on 1) I agree and that was reasoning for 4)

on 2) I didn't mean it as a question to you, but as something that needs to clarified for anyone contemplating unification. As soon as hypothetical unification negotiations start, it's not just going to be about "you can keep your army" but how long you can keep your army, your own elections, and what the final state of the merger will look like. Will the final state fundamentally be beneficial to Taiwan? This is what I mean in 4)

on 3) I don't know if the 25 formally recognized nations mean anything. But after acknowledgement of one China and losing the decorative stuff, if something goes wrong and China again wants to invade, will the US/Japan come to the rescue in a situation like this? If Taiwan is folded in in this way, it then really is an internal affair of China!

on 4) Maybe you meant landwise in your comparison between the US and China. Although if you look at a place like Russia, where land area does affect the effectiveness of the central government, the bigger problem is population. China has 4 times the population of the US. Plus it IS a lot more centralized. The US is decentralized through the federal system (states!) as well as local elections (cities/towns/boroughs). Things can get done in the US on so many different levels, power is spread out so much--China is nothing close to that and remains very top down, except for the provinces as of late, but even provinces are much larger than most US states.

Sun Bin said...

decentralization: i was trying to make the point that it is a more complicated issue of organizational, including span of control, reporting, degrees of freedom, etc. e.g. splitting up a country cannot solve the problem is these issues are not addressed. even an island the size of Taiwan would be difficult to manage if the core organizational issues are not addressed. Note that for 2000+ years the Chines dynasties had a population about twice that of Taiwan today, and it was "emperor is far away from high mountains".

Today PRC has already been fairly decentralized. basically the provincial heads can do whatever they want if they deliver the GDP growth target. that is why the incompetent governors in Guangdong survived crises of SARS and Shanwei, because GDP # were ok (despite of them).

diplomacy: we all know how much the 25 nations amount to. Nauru is in the news. I also measured the GDP and populations earlier.

zhj said...

"One of the reasons that has led to the support of TI is the total disappointment in any government from the mainland"

And it has proven that the DPP regime is not any better. In a sense, it can be regarded as a typical Chinese dynasty.

Winning with peace? The entire Taiwan issue is no longer about reunification. It has become an issue of principle. And when it comes to principles, engagement is extremely hard. However, you can engage with people who have similar principles. If you cannot talk, the best alternative, besides fighting, is to ignore each other.

Anonymous said...

Uh DPP is a typical developing democracy regime that has typical problems with corruption. Zhj, you must not be Chinese because if you ever studied Chinese history, you'd know that "corruption" would really just be seen as the emperor exercising his rights. Basically, we can say that some within the DPP administration are corrupt, but at the very least, they have to hide it or hide the evidence, and as an overall percentage of how much COULD be taken (remember, a lot of historically public property has moved into the private sphere nowadays), it is nearly insignificant. Of course probably the KMT will win in 2008, they will be corrupt too, but the percentage will decrease, and it will decrease again the next time someone new is in power too.

Maybe I shouldn't have taken you seriously. Oh well.

Sun Bin said...

anon,

where did you get such 'emperor exercisin corruption' theory? and how does that relate to a modern country? IMHO corruption in ancient dynasty can hardly explain corruption today.

let's just consider one fact. CCP regime from 1966-1978 was extremely clean.

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