The Freeman's Burden:

To defend the principles of human liberty; to educate; to be vigilant against the ever expanding power of the state.

Monday, March 14, 2005

The Taiwan problem

The Chinese legislature has approved an anti-succession law that aims to deter the Taiwanese from declaring independence from the mainland. The timing of the law is somewhat odd considering the waning taste for succession on the island. As Ted Galen Carpender pointed out in a recent article for the Taiwan News, "...the Taiwanese people seem increasingly unconcerned about providing for their own defense, and instead want to rely on an implied U.S. security commitment." Carpender goes on to point out that the U.S. has made it our policy to help deter the Chinese from invading the island, but not our policy to actively defend Taiwan. The most recent offer by the U.S. to sell 20 billion worth of weapons to help keep Taiwan ahead of Chinese war-making technology curve has been stalled in their legislature. The U.S. is spread thin militarily and the Taiwanese seem less concerned then they used to about the mainland. That is why the Chinese feel emboldened to make this move now. It's popular at home, it sends a message of deterrence to Taiwanese separatists, and is unlikely to provoke the U.S. at a time when China is crucial to security in the region; and other hot spots demand American attention. As long as no other facts on the ground change, the interests of Taiwan, China and the United States all converge in maintaining the status quo. China doesn't want to risk endangering its role as an emerging economic power, Taiwan doesn't want to provoke China, and the U.S. doesn't want to take its eye off the ball in the Middle East and certainly doesn't want conflict to interfere with U.S.-Chinese economic and security interests.


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