A provocative item by Conagher78 argues against US involvement in a cross-strait conflict between China and Taiwan.:
And as far as alliances go, why not try harder to see to it that China
becomes an ally? The twin prongs of a ready defense (of which I am
still in favor regarding China and everyone else) and engagement were
sufficient to end the Soviets … is it no longer good enough to
encourage freedom and democracy in China? Are conservatives ready to
shrug off the lessons we learned from Ronald Reagan before his body is
even cold? In any event, do we not still have plenty of military assets
in Japan and South Korea? Japan has always been the knife at China’s
belly. The edge is razor sharp thanks to America’s presence on the
island. Sacrificing American lives to retain a position on the island
of Taiwan, so far from the political heart of China in Beijing, is
scarcely worth it.
Some interesting points are raised in the full item. However, while I think an attack on Taiwan by China is highly unlikely, US ambiguity on whether it would defend the island has long been a bulwark against any Chinese attack. I can’t imagine a Chinese assault on Taipei anytime soon - if ever - but a clear statement that the US would NOT defend Taiwan would surely increase risks to the island.
Beyond that, defending Taiwan would be defending democracy. I believe that, more than strategic interests, is the driver of the current US’ alliances with both Taiwan and Israel. That may not be strategically sound, but it is morally correct. If the US is to play a role in unification, it should be - above all - to assure that the democratic gains of Taiwan are respected.
Also at the site, a good fisking of Bill Gertz hyperbolic rantings on China’s imperialist ambitions.
Michael Turton and David at Jujuflop rebut an item posted by ESWN on the weekend. The article scores a few hits, but is negligent in its omission of any KMT responsibility, David argues:
The basic premise ‘The government of Taiwan is MIA’ is actually painfully true. Literally speaking it’s true (one of the 5 branches of government has been inactive for 5 months now), and pragmatically speaking it’s also pretty true (there has been such a deadlock between the KMT-controlled legislature and the DPP-controlled executive that a record low number of pieces of legislation have been passed). This deadlock, caused by an inability of the Greens and Blues to find any middle ground goes to the core of the political problem in Taiwan. However, because it’s a murky issue (with blame on both sides), it doesn’t fit in to the anti-DPP screed which ESWN reproduced.
How can anyone start a paragraph with the sentence The “old ten great projects” included items such as the CKS airport, and not follow up with an analysis of the built-in nepotism of those projects (which were started by CKS’s son)? I doubt the writer noticed the irony. I don’t think anyone would dispute that those ten projects were very beneficial to Taiwan’s development - but you’d have to be incredibly naive to think they didn’t benefit those in power (and their friends) more. Of course, the level of public scrutiny of projects started while the country was under martial law compared to the new projects (started in a fully democratic society) is incomparable.
I am adding a new category to AsiaPundit; "Riot watch."
Reports of rioting in China are not new and I would have a hard time arguing that they are increasing - given that such events were more likely to go unreported in the past. However, anecdotal evidence seems to indicate that the reasons for the riots are becoming more diverse.
A couple of weeks ago, there was a riot reportedly caused by an attempt by traffic police to do their jobs. On Saturday there was news of rioting college students protesting high tuition fees and bad cafeteria food. This is on top of the continuing reports of riots by farmers and rural residents.
Roger L Simon engages in a little self-criticism over a 1970s China visit, and points to an item in the Guardian from Stanley Johnson doing the same:
I have been indulging, in true Maoist fashion, in my own small bout of self-criticism. Though I have been to China several times and once even wrote a (not surprisingly unpublished) novel entitled Chink in the Armoire, the focus of my attention has been on August 1975 when, with a group of colleagues from the European Commission, I spent three weeks travelling around the country on an itinerary which, remarkably for those days, included Peking, Shenyang, Wuxi, Nanking, Shanghai and Canton.
This was the tail-end of the Mao era. Mao himself was still alive, though ailing. The Gang of Four was jostling Deng Xiao-Ping and his allies for pole position in the race to succeed him. Though the worst excesses were probably over, it was not a happy time, or a happy place.
What astonishes me, looking back, is that we not only swallowed all the garbage we were fed, as we visited one commune, one factory after another; we positively lapped it up. Some of us actually sported Mao hats.
Welcome stuff. It would be a little more welcome if the CPC was willing to be a touch more self critical about its own past actions.
Wannabe Lawyer sees some hope in Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s latest comments:
“The best way is to shrink the Government and have the Government do less,” Mr Lee quipped, during the 15-minute question-and-answer session with 450 delegates from American and Pacific Rim universities, at the closing dinner of a roundtable meet held here.
Never would I have thought that I would hear those words uttered in Singapore during my lifetime, much less by the Prime Minister of Singapore.
Joel reports that South Korean sex-industry workers are seeking overseas employment in the face of a crackdown on prostitution. He cites a Chosun Ilbo report:
They are heading for the U.S., Canada and Australia, but some settle for countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan better known for export rather than import of sex workers. In North America, they apparently work in smaller cities and towns as well as big urban centers like Los Angeles, New York, Washington DC and Toronto. Hong Kong and Europe have recently been added to the list of destinations….
Dedicated web groups are awash with advertisements drawing prostitutes abroad. A typical post on one such site boasting no fewer than 1,430 members - cafe.daum.net/zonesogeso - read, “We know that in Korea these days, unemployment, the recession and the Special Law on Prostitution make it hard to earn even half of what you made before. Try a new start in the U.S. W8-10 million a month in a bar, W18-24 million a month in a massage parlor guaranteed. Advances possible. We take care of visas and bad credit.”
I’m not how US immigration officials would evaluate sex worker applications, given the conservative bent of the administration and tightening of immigration rules post 9/11. Canada, I recall, has much looser criteria.
Holy Catfish Batman!
…two fisherman made a world record catch when they landed a 646lb catfish out of the Mekong River in Chiang Rai, Thailand.
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Mao: The Unknown Story - by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday:
A controversial and damning biography of the Helmsman.
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