Wednesday, May 26, 2010

It’s actually not just the economy, stupid

As the saying goes, you stand where you sit. Not long ago, when Paul Wolfowitz was closer to defense than the corporatism he now embodies, he was instrumental in the drafting of alarming reports about the rise of the Chinese military and the threat that this represented to US security and, by extension, Taiwan.

Now that he is chairman of the US-Taiwan Business Council, however, Wolfowitz sings a different tune. This does not mean that his views on the Chinese military threat have softened, but his new role forces him to look at the same object from a different perspective. By doing so, he appears to have lost sight of the fact that China remains a threat, especially in the proximate environment of Taiwan.

Wolfowitz, like many others who look at Taiwan from a purely economic angle, appears to have divorced a conundrum that can only be fully understood if all the components are taken into consideration. In other words, despite what President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration has repeatedly said, the question of cross-strait economics simply cannot be addressed without also taking into account matters of politics and security.

However, this is exactly what the hitherto hawkish Wolfowitz appeared to be arguing when he told the American Enterprise Institute in Washington that “I really hope that somehow the two political parties find a way to come together in a truly bipartisan spirit, because getting an ECFA [economic cooperation framework agreement] and getting it right — which means it will be sustainable even if there is a change in administrations in Taipei — is not only important to Taiwan’s economy, it is important to Taiwan’s national security.”

This op-ed, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

No comments: