Friday, March 04, 2011

Realism does not mean inhumanity

An article that proposes ceding Taiwan to China for the purpose of securing Beijing’s acquiescence on other contentious matters highlights the author’s deeply flawed understanding of Taiwan, China and East Asia — and in the process dehumanizes the 23 million people who inhabit democratic Taiwan

As the world adjusts to the rise of China, a growing number of political commentators have proposed that to avoid an arms race with Beijing and to secure its cooperation on various challenges, the US should “cede” Taiwan by revising its long--standing security commitment.

Most recently, Charles Glaser, writing in the establishment Foreign Affairs, made such a case, approaching the matter from what he described as a realist, albeit not pessimistic, perspective.

The gist of his argument stems from two assumptions. First is the belief that ongoing improvements in China’s military capabilities could make it likelier to escalate in a conflict scenario, which, if it were to get out of hand, could turn nuclear. Added to this is the belief that any attempt by the US to ensure a balance of power over Taiwan would spark an arms race.

The second assumption is that the neutralization of Taiwan (to which we will turn later) would open the door for Chinese cooperation on other difficult matters, such as the South and East China seas and other territorial disputes.

At the intersection of those assumptions lies the conclusion that it would be in the US’ best interest — both in terms of avoiding armed conflict with China and ensuring its cooperation on regional and global matters — to negate the point of contention that, according to Glaser’s view, creates -distortions in the relationship. In other words, Taiwan.

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

1 comment:

mike said...

Good piece, but I see no good evidence to suppose the current White House is remotely interested in Taiwan or foreign affairs in general, and besides, a reading of their domestic policy gives good reasons to suppose a continuing disinterest in foreign affairs. We're on our own.