I received a number
of responses to my article, "Dying
for Taiwan Independence." I have divided them into two
categories: those that were soundly reasoned, and those that were
not. Notice I did not divide them into "those that agreed
with me, and those that did not." Agreement is always welcome,
but a willingness to debate an issue on the merits is even more
important. One reader who disagreed with me demonstrated such
I must disagree...
You are absolutely right when you state that most "Taiwanese"
individuals consider themselves Chinese, and that the same holds
for most university students in Taiwan. However, just because
one considers oneself to be Chinese, due to language, culture,
history, etc., that does not meant that one agrees that government
by Beijing is the best option. Students in Taiwan can oppose an
invasion... by Beijing and STILL consider themselves Chinese.
Considering oneself Chinese is not a free pass to bending over
to whatever Beijing does, anymore than considering oneself an
American is a free pass to accepting everything Washington DC
does. At the end of the day, those who would fight, I believe,
would fight for freedom, a just fight if there ever was any. Just
as I would have supported the South were I alive during the Civil
War, and just as I support secession in almost all locations around
the globe, I believe any "reunification" of Taiwan with
the mainland would be oppressive and against the freedom and property
of the people of Taiwan, be they Taiwanese or Chinese.
My response was that
I understand your concerns, but they would not be concerns at
all if Taiwan independence zealots would stop forcing the issue.
Even George "Whatever it takes" Bush knows that Chen
Shui-bian, whom he now refers to as "that SOB," is the
real troublemaker in the Taiwan Straits.
The US major media
usually gets the Taiwan issue exactly wrong. Newsweek, which mindlessly
canonized the dictatorial and corrupt Lee Teng-hui as "Mr.
Democracy," is among the worst offenders. Occasionally however,
they get it right. As TIME magazine's "2005 TIME 100"
list of the 100 most influential people in the world today notes,
Chen Shui-bian is the real threat to cross-straits peace and stability.
is the mainland authorities have no desire whatsoever to use military
force against Taiwan. They have no desire whatsoever to "deprive
Chinese on Taiwan of their freedom." The whole Taiwan independence
issue is one giant Excedrin headache for them. They have their
hands full solving serious economic problems on the mainland.
Their plate is full. The last thing they need is to be distracted
by trouble on Taiwan.
All they really want
is the island to remain under a loose umbrella of "One China."
This "One China" doesn't even have to be the People's
Republic of China (PRC). Beijing is perfectly okay with the 1992
Consensus, in which both sides agreed that:
"There is only
one indivisible China. This China includes both Taiwan and the
mainland. Beijing will refer to this China as the People's Republic
of China. Taipei will refer to this China as the Republic of China.
As long as Taipei doesn't move toward independence, Beijing will
not take any military action."
live with this. All they want is for Taiwan not to become a foreign
country. All they want is Taiwan not to become a nominally "independent"
nation that is in fact a military forward base for Japanese and
US imperialists and a link in a strategic ring of containment
along China's eastern seaboard. Beijing is willing to tolerate
de facto independence as long as a future German-style peaceful
reunification can be reasonably assured.
Beijing truly does
not want to occupy Taiwan. They don't need the hassle of being
responsible for it. Especially now that Lee Teng-hui and Chen
Shui-bian have run the Taiwan economy into the ground. If Beijing
were forced to assume responsibility for Taiwan's future now,
they would inherit this mess and be unfairly blamed if they couldn't
pull Taiwan out of its economic doldrums any time soon.
But if Taiwan independence
zealots force their hand, they will act.
of the Taiwan independence movement need to get something through
their heads. Republic of China citizens on Taiwan are not under
the protection of their current pro independence government. They
are its hostages. ROC citizens on Taiwan forced to endure the
unelected Chen Shui-bian regime are akin to Frenchmen forced to
endure the Vichy France regime, or Norwegians forced to endure
the Vidkun Quisling regime. They are abductees bound and gagged
in the trunk of a vehicle. Anyone who hands the kidnapper the
keys and a full tank of gas is hardly doing the abductees any
Anyone genuinely concerned
about ordinary citizens on Taiwan must not aid and abet Taiwan's
Quisling leadership. They must instead adopt a Taiwan policy long
advocated by this author and bluntly articulated by Ted Galen
Carpenter of the Cato Institute:
earlier pro-Taiwan policy nor the latest pro-Beijing posture [advocated
by George W. Bush] serves the best interests of the United States.
It is not America's proper role to take a position on Taiwan's
independence or other issues involving relations between Taipei
and Beijing... U.S. leaders should make it clear that Taiwan must
bear all of the risks entailed in whatever policies it adopts.
In particular, Washington should state that it will not intervene
if an armed conflict breaks out between Taiwan and mainland China.
A second reader faulted
LewRockwell.com for featuring an article that "opposed the
right of secession."
Nothing could be further
from the truth. For the record, I don't oppose the right of secession.
As a "market anarchist" I eagerly await the day when
any individual who owns a piece of land within any nation is able
to declare political independence and stop paying taxes to any
government that would claim him as its property.
What I oppose is the
discriminatory, cynical, selective application of the right of
secession as a strategic weapon in the "Great Game"
of nations. A number of governments have censured mainland China
for its recent Anti-Secession Law. How many of them permit secession
themselves? Specifically, how many of them permit the radical
and consistent form of secession I mentioned? How about none?
Secession is either
a right for everyone, or a right for no one. It can't be a right
for some and not a right for others. Supporters of Taiwan independence,
Tibetan independence, and Xinjiang independence demand secession
for themselves, but deny secession to others. Have you ever heard
a supporter of Taiwan, Tibetan, or Xinjiang independence insist
that others also have the right to secede from Taiwan, Tibet,
or Xinjiang? You haven't, and you won't. By denying the right
of secession to others, they forfeit the right of secession for
for Me but not for Thee
A third reader
attempted to bypass genuine debate by suggesting that my arguments
could be dismissed because of my family background! Gee, I guess
that explains why Red Diaper Baby David Horowitz is a rabid, foam-at-the-mouth
conservative hawk. The reader also asserted, in ignorance of the
facts, that the universities polled reflected Pan Blue views.
In fact as everyone who lives on the island knows, the law schools,
medical schools, and humanities departments of northern Taiwan
universities such as National Taiwan University in Taipei, the
demographic heart of the Pan Blue camp, have for decades been
mass-producing Taiwan independence radicals like Model Ts off
Henry Ford's assembly lines.
reader attempted the tired old "straw man" approach,
implying that I was a closet advocate of racist Apartheid! He
insisted that I was the Taiwan counterpart of a racist white Afrikaner,
while "native Taiwanese" so-called, were the counterparts
of South African blacks. I really did a double-take on that one.
After all, if I advocated racist Apartheid, wouldn't I be demanding
separatism, not integration? Why would I be championing reunification
under the roof of One China, on the premise that "Everyone
is a fellow countryman, regardless of race, creed, or color?"
One really has to wonder how some peoples' minds operate.
As I read some of
the responses to my article, I realized to my dismay how little
many Americans know about Taiwan's situation. They don't understand
the critical distinction between "Taiwan" and the "ROC."
They think that "Taiwan" = "ROC." They don't
understand the historical events that led to the current situation,
and they don't understand the operant forces, namely:
The Kuomintang (KMT)
and its Pan Blue allies, the New Party (NP) and People First Party
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP)
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and its Pan Green ally,
the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU)
The KMT and CCP both
want to reunify, not now, but eventually. The DPP is a pro-Japan
Johnny Come Lately force that is taking advantage of the prolonged
Cold War standoff between the KMT and CCP to create a non-Chinese,
anti-Chinese, pro-Japan "Republic of Taiwan." The DPP
attempted to transmute the KMT's ideologically motivated opposition
to communism into an ethnically motivated hatred of their mainland
compatriots, and to create an artificially concocted "ethnic
Taiwanese" political identity. For years this movement gained
strength. This year however, the political winds on Taiwan suddenly
and dramatically reversed direction.
Beginning of the End
For anyone interested
in a deeper understanding of the historical background, two articles
do an excellent job of connecting the dots. One comes from Linda
Chao and Ramon H. Myers at the right of center Hoover Institution,
the other from Henry CK Liu, a left-leaning contributor to the
Divided China Problem: Conflict Avoidance and Resolution, by Linda
Chao, Ramon H. Myers and US-China:
Quest for Peace, by Henry C K Liu.