"Nightmare on Beijing Street"

Read UCLA Professor Tom Plate's insightful essay: Nightmare on Beijing Street. (via Michael Turton)

For those who are not familiar with Taiwan matters, Josepg Wu is the Chairman of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), appointed by Chen Shui-Bian. His preference and his enthusiasm in his job is well discussed in Plate's essay.

As usual, Michael has DPP spin defends his party line on the matter . His solution sounds like a legitimate alternative, but it assumes at least 10 "if's" and alliances with a dozen countries. The probability chain breaks down when any one of those "if" fails to turn up. I believe Michael himself have also written about the Taiwan Relation Act, showing that it is just an option (not an obligation) for US, not to mention that Japan's remilitarization (and another big "if" to interference on the Taiwan strait) is still far from the horizon.

Plate is insightful in the reality of an arms race
  • "[Taiwan]try to match the mainland missile for missile -- that's just not feasible..."
I have actually been able to backed up his claim with solid numbers a year go. It is 21st century already. I can't imagine anyone other than Kim Jong-il is still obsessed with the idea of arms race. Plate is spot on in suggesting the "killer peace offensive".

1) The same strategy is applicable to the mainland side as well
2) (Update) See also Chu Shulong interview. According to Chu "Beijing's priority is economic development, and will be happy as long as there is no crisis in Taiwan". That is pretty much what the world (except the Green in Taiwan) see it. Therefore, even Professor Plate seems to have asked the wrong question, as Taiwan is not under any real security threat at this moment, or at least in the next 30 years.
  • 北京倒不關心台灣會亂,北京關心的是陳水扁會不會在兩岸關係議題上作文章,例如以改變台海現狀來轉移焦點,改變他的處境。 問及北京是否擔心呂秀蓮繼任總統時,楚樹龍說,最壞的情況都在李登輝和陳水扁執政時發生了,沒什麼好擔心了。
  • 北京已理解到,統一是長期目標,急也急不來。胡錦濤上任後,把施政重點放在經濟建設,提出戰略經濟.....台灣問題仍然重要,但已不是第一重要,只要海峽相安無事,北京就會把關心重點擺到其他地方



Michael Turton said...

Where is the DPP spin in this?

Historical appears to indicate that for a small power facing a large, hungry power, the correct solution is alliance with another power that is willing to protect it for reasons of its own. The proper strategy for Taiwan is to anchor itself in an alliance system founded on one side by Japan and on the other by the US, as well as to build relations with Korea, India, Mongolia, Russia, and Vietnam, and countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines in whose waters China has been making unfounded territorial claims. The real tragedy of Taiwanese diplomacy isn't the ups-and-downs of the relationship with the US, but the numbing stupidity of pissing off needed neighbors like the Philippines by claiming islands in the South Seas, which also commits it to the strategic nightmare of defending them, or the political nightmare of giving them up once claimed.

Nowhere did I say anything about 10-12 links.....

Also, I am pro-democracy, not pro-DPP.


Sun Bin said...

You view (and Wu's) represents the DPP party line. Even if I were a DPP supporter, I would think that they, like any other political party in any other part of the world, cannot be right 100% of the times. There are times that political objective will overwhelm logic and rational choice.

You didn't say 10-12 links. I counted them :) Let's me try to list a few here
1. alliance be built, and it is military
2. US military will come to help
3. Japan in the alliance
4. Japan is willing to come to help
5. Japan's constitution has been changed
6. India will join the alliance
7. Mongolia will
8-12+: you can count the number of countries in your plan, and multiply it by
a) diplomatic relationship
b) alliance
c) military commitment
13: Taiwan has the resources needed
14: People in Taiwan has the will to sacrifice peace and economic propserity for your cause.

Anonymous said...

"Also, I am pro-democracy, not pro-DPP.


OMFG, I can't believe this coming from his mouth. ROFLMFAO!!! Sun, please save that for future reference. =)
Native Taiwanese

Michael Turton said...

Sun, I said "build relations with" not "ally with." I have no "plan" to ally with Mongolia, India, etc. That exists only in your mind. And to think the last time you wrote me, you criticized my reading skills!

My view does not represent the DPP view, but only my own. For example, I think Taiwan ought to give up all its claims to the islands in the south seas and senkakus. Which official DPP publication or policy paper, or official speech, advocates that position?


Sun Bin said...

I guess you have probably pointed at the crux of the issue. DPP (or you as well?) has a vague objective, but never has formed any coherent plan. So it is only going to jeopardize peace and security, in an otherwise relatively secure/safe environment.

I might have over-interpreted you. But how to enhance 'security' if you only have some vague to define (perhaps non-military) relationship, and provoking the mainland at the same time? (I am not saying what CCP does is right. But that is the reality faced by Taiwan)

0) English is your first language, not mine. Not if any one has problem with reading skill, it would be mine :) I forgot when I 'criticize' your reading skill, maybe I was trying to say you might have exercise "selective" reading, consciously or subconsciously?
1) I think relationship should be built, as much as it could. But it would have been a lot easily if there is no diplomatic war with the mainland gov't.
2) I think quite some people in DPP also advocate the retreating policy like you did (perhaps that is even the mainstream?). South Sea (and even Penghu, Jinmen, Matsu) I can understand, geographically. Why diaoyu/senkaku? If anyone has a claim to these 2 rocks, it is Taiwan (geographical proximity, geological/continental shelf, etc). PRC's claim is also via Taiwn.