Powell to Taiwan: You don't exist.


Yes, it’s just a stronger version of what the US has been officially saying for decades, but it’s too far this time, & it’s wrong. Were Powell to run for President now, I wouldn’t back him. The US should defend democracy against fascism.

The more alarming part of that article, though, seems to be the reaction of Taiwanese officials to Powell’s comments. They have jumped straight to claims of independence and sovereignty, which we’ve been trying to avoid for a long time now.

Powell’s comments are somewhat of a shift, but Taiwan’s comments may lead us to war.

This is perhaps what I find the saddest. The Taiwanese officials were stating facts, that Taiwan is a sovereign nation, that it is not part of China, and this may lead to war. You can bet that these officials will be forced to ‘clarify’ their remarks soon.

Taiwan has 23 million people, completely unrepresented in the UN, unable to get disaster aid without begging China, unable to join the W.H.O of all things, because of a bunch of fascists in Beijing and the timidity of the west. Sad.

Why is that. I know Israel had the same problem because the arab states wouldn’t let them join the demographic region the arabs were in but China is just one country in South East Asia how can they block attempts to incorporate Taiwan.

Because China is “just one country” with over a billion people living in it. That’s a lot of weight (both military and economic) to throw around, especially when compared to the measly 23 million in Taiwan. The PRC also occupies “historic China”, and the government that actually rules within what’s considered the traditional boundaries of the country in question tends to be the one that’s considered legitimate.

Also, until quite recently Taiwan still considered itself the true rulers of all China (Including Mongolia). In the last 10 years or so (since democratization) Taiwan has had no interest in maintaining this fantasy. Now, Taiwan only wishes to be considered on its own merits. Merits which clearly show that Taiwan is an independent country, and one that deserves to be recognized by the rest of the world as such.

As an aside, I have heard that Taiwan was offered a UN seat at the time that Beijing was recognized as the legitimate government of China. However, Chiang Kai-shek turned it down. Is this true?

The best definition of a facsist is a totalitarian who is not communist. The government in Bejing may be totalitarian, evil and all sorts of other stuff but it is still communist, and therefore can not be facsist.

I’m not familiar with this whole situation, so I have been doing some reading at Wikipedia. I came across this, which might be what you are talking about:

Man, I had no idea this mess was even around.

I have to disagree - I think this is one of the wiser policies that “the West” has established toward Asia over the centuries.

Like it or not, the current government of the mainland is indisputably the legitimate government there.

Furthermore, they do have a claim to the island of Taiwan, at least in principle. How do you think the US government would have felt if some vestiges of the Confederate government had managed to hold on to the tip of Florida until about 1900 - say, because they were backed by the British while the rest of the US recovered from the devastation of the war?

Finally, we have to realize that China is in a state of transition, toward becoming the world’s “other superpower”. To get there, though, there is a difficult transition to go through as China leaves behind the shackles that have held it down the past decades.

We have the opportunity to work with China as they go through this transition, and end up with strong relationships and common understandings. Or we equally have the opportunity to polarize the two halves of the world.

On the cross-straight topic, the conflict is primarily one of pride on both sides. The mainland Chinese don’t want to recognize that they’ve lost their “jewel”. The Taiwanese don’t want to feel beholden to China. But aside from pride, there’s very little practical suffering on the part of either side by leaving things the way they are.

What this issue needs is more time to let mainland China move through their transition. The mainland Chinese government has pretty much agreed to keep the status quo. And the US is also trying hard to keep out of it until the two countries can work it out between themselves.

It’s only the Taiwanese that keep pushing the envelope. They continually step across the line - for pride, not even for any practical value. And as they do so, they deride the US for being “weak” in supporting them, all the while depending on the US to defend them if they go too far.

Taiwan exists today only because of the support of the US, and now the US is trying to negotiate difficult terrain, to get where everyone wants to go without getting anybody killed. I would think that the Taiwanese could exercise some patience while enjoying the prosperity that they have.

On this we are completely agreed. I don’t excuse the behavior of the previous regime in Taiwan, and there is no doubt that Beijing is the legitimate government of China.

I guess it would depend on what these vestiges were like. Taiwan has its own currency, government, passport, and history. So I guess I dispute the notion that China has any claim to Taiwan at all. Taiwan has acted as an independent nation for some time. Isn’t it time for the rest of the world to accept the fact that they are different?

I agree that on the Chinese side, it’s about pride. However, the Taiwanese have as much a right as anyone else to be represented on the world stage. The only reason they aren’t is because of China. As far as practical suffering, China blocked relief workers from entering Taiwan after the huge earthquake in 1999. They forced relief organizations to get Beijing’s permission before entering Taiwan. But overall yes, Taiwan does fine with the status quo.

Yes, the Taiwanese have dared to be democratic. And as a democracy, is it not part of the leader’s job to represent the will of the people? Since the will of the people is clearly not to rejoin with China, isn’t it Chen’s responsibility to do his best to assure this doesn’t happen?

Look, I agree that in the real-world, there is very little chance of Taiwan becoming a fully independent country. I also agree that Taiwan, because of a number of factors, should not be ‘pushing the envelope’, and that the US has a very difficult role in this situation. I guess I was thinking more in terms of “ought to be”. And to me, Taiwan ought to be recognized as an independent nation. There are no real reasons for not doing so.

That’s exactly what I was talking about. Thanks!

Yes, I should have given more explicit recognition to Taiwan’s position in my article. Certainly the reality is that Taiwan has established itself independently, and has earned the rights that come with that. If they didn’t have a case in their own right, there would be no conflict here.

I’ll agree that this is *part * of his job. But he also has two other parts that, given the circumstances, are probably more important at the moment:
[ul]Protect his people from harm.[/ul]
[ul]Be a visionary for the long-term good of his country.[/ul]

I’ll confess here that I have more optimism on this issue than most people. I honestly think that once China throws off the remnants of its totalitarian mindset, the people of Taiwan will find returning to China quite attractive. Or perhaps at that time there can be an amicable parting of the ways.

But first we have to get through some tough times, and a true leader will not jeopardize that for some popularity at the moment.

It is communist in name only. It began easing toward a demand-based economy 25 years ago, and is now running towards it. Marxist economic principles are given no more than lip service. “Authoritarian” sounds fine.
And I dearly hope there is a clarifying statement from the admin. Unless there was something behind the scenes we don’t know about, Powell clearly went farther than he needed to.

You speak as if the two are seperate. What would you make of someone who told Rosa Parks to be quiet and ride in the back of the bus, that so long as you get where you’re going you shouldn’t worry about dignity?

Not that the two are analogous, but the point remains: national self-identity is a practical value.

Everyone does not want to go to the same place. The only real support that the “one China” policy has in Taiwan is expedience; remove the threat of war and Taiwanese would vote for independance by over 90%.

Taiwan is certainly de facto independant. The real question is whether it is de jeure independant – and there’s an 800 pound gorilla in the backyard saying it ain’t.

IMHO, within 10 years economic factors will force some sort of political raproachment. Not sure what that will be but pretty sure it will happen.

OTOH, Powell was a dickhead lameduck hoof in mouth. The Taiwan dance has been carefully scripted for decades, and for Powell now at the end of his tenure to break with the status quo is pretty irresponsible.