Tuesday, March 08, 2011

US academic draws heavy fire for article

Two assistant professors  at the US Naval War College and the president of the US-Taiwan Business Council added their voices to the chorus of criticism leveled at a US academic who argues the US should abandon Taiwan

Criticism of an article by George Washington University professor Charles Glaser in the current issue of Foreign Affairs magazine was evident yesterday, as rebuttals to his article were published in two influential publications.

Writing in The Diplomat, James Holmes and Toshi Yoshihara, both associate professors of strategy at the US Naval War College, said that ceding territory to land-hungry powers was a “morally bankrupt enterprise” that can only represent a temporary fix.

In an article titled “Will China’s Rise Lead to War? Why Realism Does Not Mean Pessimism,” Glaser said that to avoid a costly arms race between the US and China and to ensure Beijing’s cooperation on a number of disputes in Asia, Washington should accommodate Beijing by backing away from its security commitment to Taiwan.

Glaser further said that when a power has “limited territorial goals,” meeting those demands might not lead to further demands, but rather reduced tensions.

“But buying peace with land has been tried many times before — with ephemeral results at best,” Holmes and Yoshihara wrote of Glaser’s grand bargain in their article “Getting Real About Taiwan.”

Glaser’s position is based on the view that “structural forces” in the Asia-Pacific region are limiting friction between major powers — in this case, the US, China, Japan and India. As such, Washington and Beijing should be in a position to reach arrangements through mutual concessions, a position the authors appear to agree on.

My article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here, with more by Holmes and Yoshihara (who grew up in Taipei) and Rupert Hammond-Chambers in the Wall Street Journal.


Anonymous said...

Excellent piece Mr. Cole! As for my (unsolicited) opinion on Chuck Glaser's piece: There's a critical point that seems to have been missed here in the argument. Taiwan is a democracy. Unlike the Chinese people on the other side of the strait, the Taiwanese have the right to vote for what they want for their own future. The citizens of Taiwan certainly won't opt for unification with a China, nor will they allow their hard-fought freedoms be traded away. Should the U.S. one day lose its moral-compass and forsake its commitments to Taiwan (fortunately not likely), Taiwan could easily and quickly produce nuclear weapons to provide for the ultimate deterrent against Beijing's predations. Taiwan already has delivery systems for such weapons well under development. Thus Glaser's plan for appeasement (no doubt stemming from his recent trips to Beijing) is thus extremely dangerous. It would both destabilize the region and betray the values our country stands for.

mike said...

"Should the U.S. one day lose its moral-compass and forsake its commitments to Taiwan (fortunately not likely)..."

Dispicable gibberish: a State has no "moral compass" distinct from those of the individuals who comprise it or of those whom it puports to represent. Where was the U.S. "moral compass" when its' military forces defeated fascist Japan only to leave Mao in power in China? Where was the U.S. moral compass when Nixon abandoned the people of South Vietnam to be slaughtered by the communists? Where was the U.S. "moral compass" when General Patreus was mocked as "Betray-us"? Where was the U.S. "moral compass" in January when the current President laid on a State visit for Hu Jintao - as Lui Xiabao and other dissidents sat rotting in jail? Where is the U.S. "moral compass" right now as Muamar Gaddaffi sends fighter bombers to destroy the people of Eastern Libya?