posted on Jul, 25 2004 @ 07:19 PM
The comparison of Taiwan to Hawaii is fundamentally flawed, as the two situations result from two very different histories. A stronger comparison
would be to recall the secession of the southern states (the Confederacy) circa 1860. The northern (Union) states re-integrated the Confederate states
by force. With this precedent, you might be tempted to think that the US should understand how mainland China feels about Taiwan.
The reason it doesn't is that there is a far more powerful historical precedent at work in the US. First and foremost, the US was created to create a
free and democratic state through secession from Britain. This is what the US national anthem and its primary national symbols are about. And its this
precedent that Americans identify with and keep in mind as they survey various struggles of peoples against oppressors in various parts of the world.
Its this precedent that causes them to aid the oppressed against the oppressor.
But this alone isn't enough to explain why the US wants to support Taiwan. After all, there have been other, similar situations as we've gone
through recent decades, and the US hasn't gotten involved in all of them.
The other reasons are, I believe, economic and regional stability.
Warfare over Taiwan would have a significant economic impact due to Taiwan's place in the world economy. Much of the world's computer chip
production is in Taiwan. Its also a significant market in its own right and a source of capital. Its no exaggeration to worry about a resulting
worldwide recession, with unknown secondary effects.
Secondly, a China that is seen as aggressive and domineering is to be feared by all of its neighbours. A regional arms race, replete with nuclear
proliferation, would be likely. Also, a China successful over Taiwan could decide that it has other opportunities for domination, if not outright
There you have it. I believe that the US will support China because it must, in order to protect the current economic order and to prevent long-term
instability in the region. And I beleive that US allies will support them, for the same reasons. It would be wrong to suppose that because some
Western countries opposed the invasion of Iraq, that they would not support the US over Taiwan. I believe there would be much more unanimity than
you'd expect, because the threat to the US in this case is the same threat we'd all face, and the issue would be much more clear-cut (besides, I
think they were wrong about Iraq, too).
You can argue, if you like, that there is no reason that a different economic order shouldn't come about, or that China itself could be the guarantor
of stability, and, by the way, who says that there can't be another configuration of economic, military and social order, that the world doesn't
have to necessarily have to follow the US model.
Valid points, except for this: all of us in the West remember Tian-a-min square. No-one wants to open the door for a domineering, oppressive power.
I'm open to a different order in the Far East - but first I want to see long term freedom and democracy, and an end to top-down centralized planning.
I want to see progress measured by the freedom and prosperity of people instead of the correction of imagined historical wrongs.
Above all, I want to see China voluntarily reunited by pursuasion and reason, not by force of arms.