Wednesday, November 19, 2003

We may be on the verge of some sort of major war in Asia. Taiwan has been considering permanent independence from mainland China since 1949, when Mao Zedong and his followers launched the "cultural revolution" and 2 million nationalists escaped to the Taiwan peninsula. Today, Taiwanese people enjoy some democratic freedoms and human rights, while China continues to suffer from totalitarian rule. Chinese citizens may have economic freedoms but they remain socially tied to a system that denies them basic liberties.

I may spend a significant amount of time criticizing American foreign policy in this blog, but I must concede that China also frightens me because they are a superpower without the American constitution, a potential global bully without a conscience. At least America has people capable of changing their government if it goes too far into extremism (in 2004, when Bush is thrown out of office and onto the Whitehouse lawn, democrats everywhere will dance in the streets). China doesn't have this luxury. Their leadership only cares about its own interests.

This brings us to the Taiwan issue. Here is a quote from, the official website of the state-sponsored "Xinhua News Agency" (their mission statement includes the words "Whenever you need news, come to first; Whatever information you search, surf first." Sounds inviting, huh?) ***Warning...Irony Alert!!!***

"Xu said that Taiwan's move for the referendum deprives the democratic rights of 1.3 billion compatriots on the mainland and it is also dividing Taiwan itself, which "disregards human rights and tramples democracy ".

They also warn Taiwan of "crossing a red line". Other articles have even suggested that China would go to war to take back the Taiwanese territory. America has been selling weapons to Taiwan for years (20.7 Billion USD in arms sales from 1994 to 2001) and everyone agrees that it would be virtually impossible for Taiwan to successfully defend itself from the mighty Chinese military. If Taiwan votes to become independent from China forever, there will surely be a war in the Asian region.

Will the U.S. or other nations take sides in this conflict? Doing so would mean a world war because China is powerful enough to take on several nations. Taiwan would be batted aside like a gnat and Russia has signed a mutual protection pact with China, so they would not interfere, but other nations in that area (India, Japan, etc.) would probably not sit idly by. War is a scary thought and I hope that Chinese leaders temper their plans with logic. If America sides with Taiwan versus the Chinese juggernaut, this would probably be the end of the Chinese communist régime.

If you don't think that the U.S. would do such a thing, consider this quote from Richard Lawless, the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Affairs.

"(Bush) has reaffirmed his committment to the Taiwan Relations Act and has stated that "America will do whatever it takes to help Taiwan defend itself."

This could mean war. I can already see the wagons circling.

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