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The Unwomanly Face of War

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Taiwan Declares Peace on China

Posted on Jul 8, 2008
Chinese flight to Taiwan
AP photo / Greg Baker

Passengers and air crew members stand behind a banner during a ceremony at Beijing Airport before departing for Taiwan on July 4, the day of the first regular weekend charter flights between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan.

By Robert Scheer

You can’t trust the Chinese. I don’t care if you’re talking about those communists on the mainland or the other guys on Taiwan; they just won’t follow the war-games script that our weapons hawks had counted on. Their mutual passion runs not to matters of tired politics but rather on the lust of venture capitalists. To the Chinese, irrespective of past allegiances, the prospect of war has come to be viewed as counterproductive, and they now have the confidence to show it.

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No longer pretending to be enemies, a condition in which they engaged in angry rhetoric while doing much business together on the side, a public love affair now has broken out across the Strait of Formosa. On Friday, there were scheduled direct flights between the mainland and its breakaway island for the first time in 60 years, and the invasion of tourists clicking their cameras was on.

Not that it was much noticed by the media or presidential candidates, but this long chapter of Cold War conflict has been closed and a new era of peace proclaimed by once strident foes. Taiwanese businessmen already are major investors in the mainland, and the new Taiwan government has recognized that reality by quickly pushing for full normalization of trade and other accommodations.

For years now, the Chinese on both sides of the strait have been acting as if they are members of one nation, with the descendants of those who fled the mainland with Chiang Kai-shek building mansions in their old villages and increasingly preferring that their offspring study in China rather than at American schools. Thus, it was not surprising when the leader of the old nationalist Kuomintang Party, which won the recent Taiwan election, quickly went to the mainland to pledge the dawn of a new era. Gone is the prime excuse for a major U.S. military presence in the Pacific, now that the Taiwanese have made their separate peace. What good are our fancy military weapons to people preoccupied with a consumer revolution? The concern over mainland missiles landing on Taiwan has been replaced with a fear that some country cousins from the mainland might be given to spitting on the sidewalks. Those fears were assuaged when tourists from both sides over the weekend conducted themselves with proper comportment while shopping till they dropped.

That peace has broken out is a nightmare scenario for America’s military hawks in desperate need of an excuse for soaking up more than half of the U.S. government’s discretionary budget. There was real panic when Mikhail Gorbachev formally ended the Cold War and George H.W. Bush announced a 30 percent cut in military spending in 1992. Then came the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the wildest peacetime spending spree in history. No one in power noticed that the expensive weapons were designed to defeat an enemy that no longer existed. That’s because we were traumatized by something called terrorism, and few questioned the decision to build weapons such as the two new Virginia-class submarines, at a cost of $5 billion, to catch Osama bin Laden, probably holed up in a cave in a landlocked nation. But submarines obviously have nothing to do with fighting terrorists, forcing Sen. Joe Lieberman, an independent who represents Connecticut, where the subs are built, to play the China card: “If we do not move to produce two submarines a year as soon as possible, we are in serious danger of falling behind China.”

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Fomenting fear of China is essential to making the case for the whole range of high-tech war toys that no longer have a legitimate military purpose. But it’s a sick joke. We are paying the Chinese the interest on the money we borrow from them to build very expensive weapons to counter weapons the Chinese have no intention of building. The latest word from the Pentagon is that “[t]he Intelligence Community estimates China will take until the end of this decade or later to produce a modern force capable of defeating a moderate-size adversary.”

The only adversary that interested China, according to the Pentagon report, was Taiwan, and as recent events have indicated, that game is over. But don’t shed tears just yet for the denizens of the military-industrial complex. Why should they doubt our continued willingness to throw money at weapons that have no targets, when few in Congress or the media ever bother to notice?

It took Gorbachev on Tuesday, in scathing criticism of President Bush and presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama, to note that in the United States, “The subject of military spending has literally been shrouded in the curtain of silence. This taboo must be lifted.”


Robert Scheer is the author, most recently, of “The Pornography of Power: How Defense Hawks Hijacked 9/11 and Weakened America,” published by Twelve Books.


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By Andrew, July 24, 2008 at 7:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You have blatantly contradicted yourself in regards to original hypothesis put foward by Scheer’s pathetic article that argues that the arms sale to Taiwan should not go ahead.

Remember that the new Ma administration has stated on a number of occasions their desire to maintain a credible deterant which the latest proposed arms deal forms a central part. Therefore the U.S. government or more precisely the U.S. State Department and the Bush administration should approve the arms deal in accordance with the wishes of the democratically elected Ma administration.

Lets put this simply

The K.M.T Ma administration was democratically elected.

Securing the arms package from the U.S. is a critical part of the Ma administrations policy of maintaining a credible deterant.

Therefore the U.S. State department and the Bush administration should respect the democratic wish of the Taiwanese and approve the arms sale.

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By denk, July 19, 2008 at 10:13 am Link to this comment

i told you so, mike…..

“The title is about Michael Turton’s objections and those who actually follow the disinformation being spread by him, all in the name of supporting Taiwanese democracy. The hyprocrisy in this is almost obscene, since it was the decision of the Taiwanese people in a textbook excercise of their democratic rights which brought about the change in government, which in turn brought about this move towards detente. Michael Turton and his ilk would like to ignore the will of the Taiwanese people because they are on the losing side of the election. Well guess what Michael, in an election someone loses - and your side lost. Now grow up and be a responsible member of a democratic society and accept the will of the people. ”

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By denk, July 19, 2008 at 9:00 am Link to this comment

roadkill
**25 years ago, I could not have imagined that the PRC would be where it is today.  In the long view, I think the Chinese will figure it out for themselves**

roadkill,
good thinking, i think its about time too., dont u think so, mike ?

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By Andrew, July 17, 2008 at 8:02 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Great idea lets let the C.C.P. indulge in its own great wet dream of establishing a hegemony in Asia. Let them have their wet dream of an all powerful China that has done no wrong. Lets not ask exactly how such a great land mass was brought under centralised control without conquest and imperialism. After Taiwan is reunited with the motherland just let them take the whole South China Sea. I mean as they are not Anglos they can do no wrong.

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By denk, July 16, 2008 at 9:09 pm Link to this comment

mturton
**...all of this is but to ask: why don’t progressives care about Taiwan **


“it would be very wrong to put China in the same “imperial” category where the US stands dominant, even if this “imperialism” is reduced to the regional scale. China’s territorial claims are essentially—at least in Chinese eyes—matters of national sovereignty: China has a bitter history of oppression at the hand of Western powers in the 19th and 20th centuries, and still sees itself in the process of redeeming that past. Whatever one thinks of Taiwan, and the right of its population to self-determination, it should be obvious to every socialist that, whereas the legitimacy of China’s claim on the island could be discussed, this issue is definitely none of Washington’s business.

In a US-Chinese confrontation over Taiwan, Beijing would be convinced of acting to recover sovereignty over its usurped territory whereas Washington would be upholding its claim to global imperial hegemony. Anti-imperialists cannot be neutral in such a case, but should act to stop the US as their major priority.

“progressive” like you gives the movement a bad name, your wet dream is for the mighty us navy, cat paw of the world’s premier imperialist, to intervene in YOUR beloved tw.
whats more, you are whining that why cant other progressives join in your personal crusade, lol.

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By Andrew, July 16, 2008 at 7:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You also have to realise that it was the Japanese who made the Manchu Qing Dynasty see Taiwan in a new light. As the Manchu Qing viewed Taiwan with a strong sense of disdain as a “place where the birds don’t sing and the flowers don’t bloom”. It was only after Japan and France showed a strong interest in Taiwan due to its strategic maritime importance did the Manchu Qing begin in earnest to develop Taiwan as it was only in 1884 that Taiwan was declared a province in its own right.

A lot of the underlying reasons for the “explosiveness of the One China dispute” is the C.C.Ps playing on ultra nationalism to shore up its sense of legitamacy. Surely if the C.C.P wished to take a rational approach to Taiwan they would drop all the mythology about “Taiwan being an inalieable part of China since ancient times”.

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By denk, July 15, 2008 at 8:31 pm Link to this comment

By michaelturton,
**
So back to the question you never answer, which is: why are Taiwanese different for you, denk. Why are they different than Somalis and Puerto Ricans and other victims of colonialism? **

tw must be the first “colony” in the world where the “colonised” victims say “欢迎到访” to their “colonisers”. rofl

i know of some twnese who are mightily offended by your “colony” slander mike, they are rather proud of their homeland, see.

history 101 for mike : the last time tw was colonised was in 1895, ” it was Japan that separated Taiwan from China as war booty in 1895 and set up today’s explosive “one China” dispute. “
[courtesy of:
DIPLOMACY
A Pragmatic Approach to Beijing
Beware ‘panda hunters’ in dealings with China
William Ratliff
Sunday, July 15, 2001]

anglos like mike babble about china’s “illegit” claim over tw, well, the chinese might say its a whole lot more legit than kosovo [tinyurl.com/4wgqpp], iraq [tinyurl.com/5kdcs4], afghan [tinyurl.com/5jjbj9], etc….

your anti colonisation crusade is admirable, but looks like you have been barking up the wrong tree all these yrs, ??

btw, just what do u mean by “unanswered question” ?
rather disingenuous i would say.
never mind, this will be the FOURTH time i answer your question, ” the difference is like heaven and hell ” mike.

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By jackpine savage, July 15, 2008 at 2:04 am Link to this comment

I realize that i’m late to the party, but the rest of the posters here do understand that Truman was more than willing to give the Chinese Taiwan until Mao went and got all cuddly with Uncle Joe, right?  Old Uncle Joe promptly did his slavic best to make sure that China and the US wouldn’t be friends in his lifetime by goading Kim Il-sung into making a grab for the whole Korean peninsula and then not backing the DPRK…but getting Mao to do it for him.  Which eventually led to coolness between Moscow and Beijing, but no matter as the real objective had been accomplished.

My point is that our concern over other people’s “freedom” has a lot more to do with our geopolitical goals than it does anyone’s freedom.

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By denk, July 14, 2008 at 6:47 pm Link to this comment

mturton
**Denk you are clearly unaware of what went on here for 50 years under martial law. Why not get an education? **

you mean the ml imposed by the chiang regime, that us puppet ?
chalk it up to another sin of us imperialism then.

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By denk, July 13, 2008 at 7:22 pm Link to this comment

By michaelturton, **
denk, I spent a couple of years living right next door to and working with Somalis in Africa. You don’t have anything to teach me**

so you know it all along, yet another hell hole made in usa
yet you could still ask me whats the difference between tw , iraq and others with a strait face.
its heaven and hell mike.

now answer this question that you have been evading, “when was the last time you did something for victims of us imperialism?”

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By roadkill, July 13, 2008 at 9:13 am Link to this comment

Hi Michael - I lived in Taiwan for about 4 years in the early 80s. I taught English at bushibans (love your website - could’ve used it then!) but I also tutored rich businessmen AND their families, especially their pregnant wives. In preparation for citizenship they wanted to study American history and American democracy. More directly, however, they just wanted to give birth to their sons and daughters on American soil.  Although I wasn’t in any way versed in the politics of the time, I formed the opinion that, for those that could afford it, Taiwan was a nation that finds its political identity only in contrast to China, and therefore was and must always be, dispensable. 

It was the realpolitik of their existence: that Taiwan (the KMT) would either return to China or China would invade in which case my students would simply relocate to sunny California.  In either case, Taiwan would not exist as a politically sovereign nation forever; their bags were always packed or at least never fully unpacked.

This is not to say that many native Taiwanese and second or third generation KMT who were born on the island didn’t see it as their country - proud, independent, and autonomous - beholden to no one.

But what really kept it going politically was its economy. What kept it viable on the political front in the U.S. was that it was the approved democratic and capitalist “China.”  The right China.  The good China.  And since the other China was so far behind, the argument that Taiwan was the best example of what all of China could be was very persuasive in Washington. 

That was 25-30 years ago and China is more like Taiwan than Taiwan is like Tibet.  Taiwan does not have a Dalai Lama nor is the land itself seen as “sacred.”  Taiwan is not poor. It is an economic hub.  A floating factory.  A weigh station. A bastion of industry.  Taiwan has the tallest building in the world.

More cynically, Taiwan does not have the romantic notion of the righteous underdog that “progressives” need to keep the cause alive.  Progressives think Taiwan is doin’ all right and doesn’t need their help. 

But perhaps the reason why progressives do not see Taiwan’s plight as imperative is because Taiwan itself does not see itself that way.  Obviously, there are those that do (like you) but just not enough and not the right people. 

I loved my stay in Taiwan. I made many friends that I see this day.  And as unique a place as it is, I think its uniqueness makes it difficult to define. Progressives need definition and causes require distinction. 

25 years ago, I could not have imagined that the PRC would be where it is today.  In the long view, I think the Chinese will figure it out for themselves.  .

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By michaelturton, July 13, 2008 at 12:09 am Link to this comment

...all of this is but to ask: why don’t progressives care about Taiwan or its democracy, or its future? Here’s a major flashpoint for a future war, the provider of many top 3C products, a vibrant democracy, and a people made pawns by their position between rival hegemonic powers? So why doesn’t Taiwan exist for progressives?

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By michaelturton, July 13, 2008 at 12:04 am Link to this comment

denk, I spent a couple of years living right next door to and working with Somalis in Africa. You don’t have anything to teach me.

So back to the question you never answer, which is: why are Taiwanese different for you, denk. Why are they different than Somalis and Puerto Ricans and other victims of colonialism?

Michael

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By denk, July 12, 2008 at 10:36 pm Link to this comment

**I still don’t understand why you care about the somalis, the Puerto Ricans or other places, but not colonized peoples like the Taiwanese.

Can you respond to that question**


you mean you dont know somalia is another hapless victim of us imperialism, where us sponsored ethiopian goons have been raping, killing and pillaging for yrs. ?
some anti imperialism “progressive” you are, mike.
take a look, dont be shy

and here
tinyurl.com/5noqwq


know something, uncle sham even waived the arms embargo on nk, so that it could supply the necessary hardware for uncle’s ethiopian proxy. lol

you asked me “whats different about tw and other places where big power have caused pain and misery”, i would say that comparing tw with somalia is like comparing heaven and hell, dont u think so ?

i guess you have done more than your fair share for those poor “colonised” [sic] twnese now, mike
so when was the last time you stand up for the rights of those somalis under the jackboot of your proxy goons…...
you do claim to oppose imperialism from all sides dont u ?


i have to go now, i work on sunday too, mike. !!

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By michaelturton, July 12, 2008 at 9:32 pm Link to this comment

i showed you all the pain and misery caused by your country and asked you a simple question, i dont see anything remotely resembling the situation in tw ?
u dont wanna answer my questtion mike ?

Denk you are clearly unaware of what went on here for 50 years under martial law. Why not get an education?

So I’ll come back: why is it you support freedom from US colonialism for some nations but not from Chinese colonialism for others? And why do you support the US military industrial complex on the Taiwan question but not on other similar questions?

Let me know when you have an answer the explains your complete hypocrisy. And also how you place to achieve a democratic and independent future for the island….

Michael

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By denk, July 12, 2008 at 9:01 pm Link to this comment

i believe english is your first language mt ?

**Denk, I asked you a simple question. What makes the people of Taiwan different from the people of Diego Garcia, Okinawa or other places where big powers have caused pain and misery**

i showed you all the pain and misery caused by your country and asked you a simple question, i dont see anything remotely resembling the situation in tw ?
u dont wanna answer my questtion mike ?

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By michaelturton, July 12, 2008 at 8:39 pm Link to this comment

**Denk, I asked you a simple question. What makes the people of Taiwan different from the people of Diego Garcia, Okinawa or other places where big powers have caused pain and misery**

I deleted all your links as they are not related to the question I asked. I still don’t understand why you care about the Somalis, the Puerto Ricans or other places, but not colonized peoples like the Taiwanese. Can you respond to that question?

i dont see what u mean, mt, chinese from both sides of tw straits are making up for lost time and having a ball right now, robert sheer is right, this is something to cheer about, why so glum, the only ones getting pissed off by this breaking out of peace should be the military industrial complex, the death merchants ?

Nobody’s glum about tourist flights, denk, they’ve been going on for years. But no peace—the absence of coercive force—has been declared here. The missile build up in China continues, as does its military build up aimed at annexing the island.

Meanwhile the military-industrial complex, denk, is absolutely delighted with the KMT-CCP cooperation and has frozen arms sales to Taiwan. When is this reality going to penetrate? Washington *likes* this turn of events, as does Beijing. Whose side is Scheer on? The answer is clear—on the side of Beijing and Washington, and not on the side of the Taiwanese.

It’s fascinating that you can argue against colonialism in Puerto Rico, but for it in the case of Taiwan. The difference between us is that I am against all imperialisms, not just US imperialism. I don’t think Chinese shooting Tibetans or Central Asian muslims is any different from the US killing its colonialist victims.

So I want to know, denk, why you make an exception in the case of the Taiwanese. What makes them different from other victims of hegemonic powers?

Michael

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By denk, July 12, 2008 at 8:38 pm Link to this comment

oops, i make a mistake , should be http://, not http//:

in fact, it isnt necessary at all, just copy and paste the tinyurl link as it is,  into the address bar and click enter. it will automatically be converted into the full link.

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By denk, July 12, 2008 at 8:11 pm Link to this comment

**Denk, I asked you a simple question. What makes the people of Taiwan different from the people of Diego Garcia, Okinawa or other places where big powers have caused pain and misery**

[to vew all links, just add http//: in front, without www]

are there china sponsored “third party” goons raping tw children, like in somalia ?
tinyurl.com/5kfqlr

are there 300 lbs pla goons raping tw school girls like in okinawa ?
tinyurl.com/6ova3m
tinyurl.com/66hvou

are there pla officers supervising eviction of tw farmers from their ancestral homes, to make way for another pla military base like in korea ?
tinyurl.com/6gz3ot


are there chinese goons barging into tw home gunning down a separatists leader like in puerto rico ?
tinyurl.com/6roapm

puerto rico, the oldest colony in the world kept by the world’s “oldest democracy”, ...“the U.S. government is not content to simply use Vieques for its on military. It has the audacity to rent out the island to the armed forces of Latin America and Europe.”
tinyurl.com/bng47

are there pla goons packing tw off from their homes, gassing their cats and dots , exiled them 2000 miles away from home. convert the whole island into a gigantic military base and even turned it into another infamous “rendition” camp ”————like in diego garcia ?
tinyurl.com/5e5xyp

is the ccp perpetrating genocide in tw, like iraq ?
tinyurl.com/5raxtb

i could have gone on for ages about the “pain and misery” your country have been dispensing all over the world…....but tw ?
i dont see what u mean, mt, chinese from both sides of tw straits are making up for lost time and having a ball right now, robert sheer is right, this is something to cheer about, why so glum, the only ones getting pissed off by this breaking out of peace should be the military industrial complex, the death merchants ?

robert sheer, charmer johnson, john pilger, william blum etc have got it right, after all , shouldnt charity starts at home ?
tinyurl.com/2zlqsm
especially when that pile of shit on you own doorstep happens to be the biggest and worse stinking in the neighborhood ?
tinyurl.com/4f34

as a self proclaim “progressive”, u seem to have a very lob sided priority .
i know you long enough now, you practically make a living out of championing the cause of YOUR tw, it crossed my mind a few times that is this guy a paid tw lobbyist or on the payroll of lockheed martin, lol.
your credential as a tw independence activist is unquestionable, hell, you and many of your ilks appear even greener than the original article in tw, lol.
your rants are all always about “chinese imperialism, expansionism” etc, when was the last time you so passionately oppose us imperialism, the real scourge of the world. ?
fact is, on many occasion you seem rather gungho about the us navy, cat paw of us imperialism. !!
here’s just an example….
tinyurl.com/5cr3w3
kinda strange for a “progressive” eh ?

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By Michael Turton, July 12, 2008 at 6:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s not difficult to find examples of the arms freeze. Here’s an AP report, although it contains several errors, it nevertheless faithfully reports on actual Bush policy, instead of Scheer’s fantasies about what it is:

******
Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou said Saturday that the island needs to secure defensive weapons from the United States, despite warming relations with rival China.

However, Ma acknowledged that different opinions in Washington were preventing arms sales to the island from going forward.

The comments were the first direct response from the Taiwanese president following media reports last month that the U.S. had suspended weapons sales to the island to avoid the ire of Beijing.

Among the items at issue are F-16 jet fighters, Patriot III anti-missile missiles and Apache helicopters.

In comments to Taiwanese reporters on the arms issue, Ma said that improving relations with China, including the start of the first weekend direct flights in almost 60 years, were no reason for Taiwan to let down its defenses against its communist rival.

“Our stance will definitely not change just because we have improved relations with the mainland,” he said.

Taiwan and China split amid civil war in 1949. China continues to claim Taiwan as part of its territory and strongly opposes foreign countries selling it weapons. Beijing has repeatedly threatened to invade if the island formally declares independence.

While Washington shifted recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979, the U.S. is the Taiwan’s most important foreign partner and the major source of its imported arms.

However, influential voices in the U.S. State Department are believed to favor an open-ended suspension of arms sales to Taiwan, reflecting China’s growing economic and political clout in Washington.
******

The article errs—it is common in the media to say that China and Taiwan split in 1949 but in 1949 Taiwan was owned by Japan (and would be for two more years). The CCP and the KMT split.

What is the policy? Not arms sales but “open-ended suspension of arms sales to Taiwan.” Even Taiwan’s current president, who is from the pro-China party in Taiwan’s politics, thinks Taiwan needs the weapons. The pro-democracy opposition has been asking for them for years.

Taiwan and its people are simply a pawn in the grip of two hegemonic powers. Got a solution, denk?

Also, can we get a correction from Robert Scheer?

Nah. That will never happen.

Michael

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By michaelturton, July 12, 2008 at 9:15 am Link to this comment

++++++
“The hawks would argue that the U.S. hard line against China is needed to defend Taiwan from beijing’s threats. But that, too, is rather disingenuous. Beijing says it will only use force against Taiwan if Taipei seeks independence. U.S. military and other moves to show support for Taiwan encourage those in Taiwan who seek independence. That seems a strange way to help defend Taiwan”
Report this
++++++

LOL. You quote Gregory Clark, the China apologist who thinks that China has the right to murder both Tibetans and Taiwanese. Lots of very bizarre “progressives” at this site who think it is OK for China to kill people but not the US. I’m a little strange, I object to all imperialism, no matter what flag it comes wrapped in.

Denk, I asked you a simple question. What makes the people of Taiwan different from the people of Diego Garcia, Okinawa or other places where big powers have caused pain and misery.

Speaking of history, China only started claiming Taiwan after WWII. Hardly anyone wants to be part of China here, most prefer the current status quo, and the majority of individuals, by a very thorough poll conducted last year, support independence for the island. Currently it is not part of China. Official US policy is that Taiwan’s status is undetermined—Clark doesn’t get that right in that screed either.

As for the US desire to maintain its hegemony in East Asia, yes, certainly it does. It is doing that by (1) not selling weapons to Taiwan and (2) opposing the democracy party there so that it can (3) make points with China. No one posting here has addressed the reality on the ground. Instead I get 60 year old hearing citations.

So, when are we going to get a correction from Scheer on his errors? There has been an arms freeze now for at least three years, formally, and effectively, since 2001. This is because Bush Administration policy is to annex the island to China. Reality is the opposite of what you think it is, and what Scheer thinks it is. US policy IS NOT repeat IS NOT to use Taiwan as a Cold War stalking horse. US policy is to sell out the island to Taiwan.

Michael

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By denk, July 12, 2008 at 7:25 am Link to this comment

michael
**The cause of tension is the Chinese drive to annex Taiwan, and the military and missile threats. If there were no threat to maim and murder Taiwanese, there would be no tension. And then the two sides could work out what they want, peacefully.**

what yankee hogwash,

“The hawks would argue that the U.S. hard line against China is needed to defend Taiwan from beijing’s threats. But that, too, is rather disingenuous.
Beijing says it will only use force against Taiwan if Taipei seeks independence. U.S. military and other moves to show support for Taiwan encourage those in Taiwan who seek independence. That seems a strange way to help defend Taiwan”

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By denk, July 12, 2008 at 7:01 am Link to this comment

michael turton
**
The cause of tension is the Chinese drive to annex Taiwan, and the military and missile threats. If there were no threat to maim and murder Taiwanese, there would be no tension. And then the two sides could work out what they want, peacefully. **

typical yankee bs.

how about some real history, right from the horse mouth…?


Uncle’s officials’ sense of a natural right to dominate goes back into the nineteenth century, but I used to read to my students a beauty from 1954, shortly after the Chinese Communist victory, when U.S. officials and pundits were already claiming that the CHINESE were planning on subverting everywhere:

Representative Frederick R. Coudert. Did I correctly understand you to say that the heart of the present policy toward China and Formosa is that there is to be kept alive a constant threat of military action vis-a-vis Red China in the hope that at some point there will be an internal break- down?

Walter S. Robertson, Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs. Yes, sir. That is my conception.

Coudert. In other words, a cold war waged under the leadership of the United States, with constant threat of attack against China, led by Formosa and other Far Eastern groups, and militarily backed by the United States?

Robertson. Yes…

Coudert. Fundamentally, does this mean that the United States is undertaking to maintain for an indefinite period of years American dominance in the Far East?

Robertson. Yes. Exactly.

(Hearings before the House Committee on Appropriations, Jan. 26, 1954.)

I used to substitute names and words into this exchange making it a Chinese exchange, then asking the students if the exchange demonstrated that the claims of intended Chinese subversion and aggression were not justified. Naturally, they all said: clearly and obviously. And most of them were pretty shaken when it turned out to be an Uncle Chutzpah statement. “

[April 9 2001

UNCLE CHUTZPAH GETS BACK INTO THE RING

By Edward S. Herman]

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By michaelturton, July 11, 2008 at 6:53 pm Link to this comment

+++++++++++
Further, Denk, the fact that Taiwan is not independent is a US foul-up, which I am trying to correct. The real issue here is not that *I* root for independence and democracy in Taiwan, but that people like *you* (and Scheer) do not class Taiwan with the people of Diego Garcia and Okinawa and other places where the US has committed great wrongs.
+++++++++++

Duncan, Fall, denk—can any of you answer this question? What makes the people of Taiwan different from the people of Tibet, Diego Garcia, Okinawa, and elsewhere?

Michael

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By michaelturton, July 11, 2008 at 6:50 pm Link to this comment

I was considering a very long diatribe in response to some of the opinions expressed here…but it’s quite pointless: either you are for US interference in Taiwan (and everywhere else) or you are opposed to the whole idea of vassal states answerable to the US hegemon. That is the reality.

Either you buy into the Americans “right” to fuck around with anyone they please or you do not. It’s black and white folks.

You’re right, Duncan. It is black and white. Either progressives are supportive of democracy everywhere, and opposed to imperialism and expansionism everywhere, or else they are merely brainless followers of shallow shibboleths, anti-American for the sake of being anti-American. No matter how you tightly you twist that lens, Duncan, the world isn’t going to resolve into America Bad, Everyone Else Good.

I don’t see how you can oppose US expansionism and imperialism, but then support Chinese expansionism and imperialism. I don’t see how any ethically consistent policy can oppose US imperialism by getting into bed with political parties that have murdered 10s of millions of people over the last 60 years. I don’t see how it is “progressive” to annex Taiwan to China, or pursue policies that only result in further Chinese expansionism which will in turn inevitably lead to war in East Asia.

Here’s a fact: there are thousands of progressives here in Taiwan, all of whom support independence and democracy for the island. And the question all of us keep asking here is why progressives in the US ignore our island. At least by posting here I’ve come to a better understanding of why US progressives have failed so badly when it comes to Taiwan.

Michael

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By Fadel Abdallah, July 11, 2008 at 6:11 pm Link to this comment

By michaelturton, July 11 at 3:32 pm #

+++++
i have been talking about anglo hypocrisy—- why do anglos like mt think they have the moral authority to root for tw independence when his own country has been subjugating the rights of so many people in the world, from okinawa to korea to diego garcia to iraq, just to name a few ?
++++++

“Because it is the right thing to do. Or is it your argument that we should cease doing what is right until every wrong has been corrected?”
=======================================
Michael Burton!

Straighten up or shut up! Your ugly colonialist and war-mongering attitude is getting on my nerves. Because you’re so backward in your thinking, you’re irrelevant to posting on this progressive blog. Go back to your own blog, and spend your time listening to the echoes of your own rants!

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By michaelturton, July 11, 2008 at 4:34 pm Link to this comment

++++
given that us interference and arms sales has been the cause of tension in the tw straits. the chinese will be able to work out an amicable solution amongst themselves so long as anglos keep their gruppy hands away.
++++

The cause of tension is the Chinese drive to annex Taiwan, and the military and missile threats. If there were no threat to maim and murder Taiwanese, there would be no tension. And then the two sides could work out what they want, peacefully.

Michael

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By michaelturton, July 11, 2008 at 4:32 pm Link to this comment

+++++
i have been talking about anglo hypocrisy—- why do anglos like mt think they have the moral authority to root for tw independence when his own country has been subjugating the rights of so many people in the world, from okinawa to korea to diego garcia to iraq, just to name a few ?
++++++

Because it is the right thing to do. Or is it your argument that we should cease doing what is right until every wrong has been corrected?

Further, Denk, the fact that Taiwan is not independent is a US foul-up, which I am trying to correct. The real issue here is not that *I* root for independence and democracy in Taiwan, but that people like *you* (and Scheer) do not class Taiwan with the people of Diego Garcia and Okinawa and other places where the US has committed great wrongs.

Michael

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By denk, July 11, 2008 at 9:36 am Link to this comment

andrew,

why so negative, cant we just give peace a chance.

given that us interference and arms sales has been the cause of tension in the tw straits. the chinese will be able to work out an amicable solution amongst themselves so long as anglos keep their gruppy hands away.

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By denk, July 11, 2008 at 9:13 am Link to this comment

rmaguir
**I don’t agree with the language he chose to make his case.  However, you used “Anglo-Saxon snobs/rapists” before he did, taking the level of discourse down a notch.  **

as i said, you havent been paying attention.

**I’ll admit that it’s quite effective to belittle criticism by a foreigner to associate him with the past exploits of his country’s government, but the truth is, I wasn’t even alive for most of the events you mentioned, as for the others, I certainly didn’t take part.  I’d venture to guess that Michael and Andrew didn’t participate in any of the American abuses you mentioned, either. 

It’s just diversion**

and you interrupt my questions to michael thurton [where’s he anyway ?] without even understanding whats going on.

diversion my foot.

i have been talking about anglo hypocrisy—- why do anglos like mt think they have the moral authority to root for tw independence when his own country has been subjugating the rights of so many people in the world, from okinawa to korea to diego garcia to iraq, just to name a few ?

anglos like mt also assume their god damned right to intervene anywhere they so fancy. in iraq etc., its i come , i see, i conquer. in tw, its i come, i stay, so like hell china is gonna take away MY TW. [SIC].
What typical anglo hubris. !!

do you get it now ?
oh never mind.

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By AT, July 11, 2008 at 4:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

How could a fascist declared peace on a fellow fscist?

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By Andrew, July 11, 2008 at 12:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I really think the statement that the Taiwanese and their Mainland Cousins are mingling happily is a bit premature. Just remember when the K.M.T. first arrived on Taiwan there was an initial enthusiasm about being back under the Chinese flag. But then the pillaging Chun Yi and his mainland mafia got underway. Under the Japanese the Taiwanese had a health system far in advance of anything in mainland Asia until it was trashed by the mainland carpet bagers. So let’s wait a while to see if the “inherant Chineseness of the Mainlanders and their Taiwan compatriots translates into long term goodwill”. 

Speaking about playing happily together and goodwill. It would be usefull if the latest unilateral change in the status quo by the C.C.P. in moving to change the the name Taiwan competes under during the Olympics from “Chinese Taipei” to “Taipei China” has hardly created an atmosphere of playing happily together given the hostile reaction of Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Commitee.

Anyway the point I was making was that you can’t simply look at the hype surronding Chinese tourism in Taiwan as definite indicator of a decrease in terms of Chinese aggression towards Taiwan. Beijing has done nothing to demonstrate a definite move away from its strategy of dictation as opposed to negotiation. Does CCTV 9 or Xinhua ever mention the “two interpretations” of the “One China, Two interpretations”.

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By rmaguir, July 10, 2008 at 11:55 pm Link to this comment

oh yeah?

Yeah.  Again, showing me the bad things that the US does (things of which I am VERY critical of) has no bearing on this conversation.  I know the US does some horrible stuff around the world. 

Despite that, not acknowledging the fact that the US* is a source of a lot of good around the world demonstrates a lack of reasonable analysis.  It’s not just black or white.  The reality is a lot more complicated. 

Remember, the US is not just its government.  That’s a key factor you don’t seem to take into account.  Every country’s government (yes, even the ones you mentioned) takes part in less-than-savory practices and these same countries have people that are vocally and passionately opposed to those very actions by their government.  The US is no different, except in the fact that the whole world watches what the US does and not, say, Greece. 

Every country is full of both people determined to make the world better and people with low moral standards.  It has nothing to do with being American, Swedish or Chinese.

sweden, norway, greek, etc i can go on….
neither do these countries meddle in others bussiness, its the anglos who have the knack of pointing their fingers elsewhere while their governments are perpetrating genocides all over the world, funny isnt it ?

Again, this is an unfortunate and grievous generalization.  All of those countries are involved in various human rights abuses.  I’m sorry, but all it takes is a quick search of Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch.  Just like that, a whole litany of abuses. 

Don’t forget that Sweden was found in violation of the global torture ban for aiding the CIA in its secret rendition program. 

I’m not defending the US.  I’m not saying its alright because other countries are doing it.  I HATE the fact that the US does what it does in many cases.  Yet, I still have great faith in people (both in the US and outside) to strive to change that. 

It is not so black and white.  That’s what makes all of this so difficult. 

As for Andrew, while I agree with his point (that all sides are guilty of some pretty bad stuff, and you seem hell bent on not avoiding that subject), I don’t agree with the language he chose to make his case.  However, you used “Anglo-Saxon snobs/rapists” before he did, taking the level of discourse down a notch. 

I’ll admit that it’s quite effective to belittle criticism by a foreigner to associate him with the past exploits of his country’s government, but the truth is, I wasn’t even alive for most of the events you mentioned, as for the others, I certainly didn’t take part.  I’d venture to guess that Michael and Andrew didn’t participate in any of the American abuses you mentioned, either. 

It’s just diversion.

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By samosamo, July 10, 2008 at 10:59 pm Link to this comment

Man, if this post isn’t worn out I don’t know what is. I’m signing off of it.

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By denk, July 10, 2008 at 10:21 pm Link to this comment

rmaguir,
**Moreover, the US has done/does a lot of both good and bad things.**

oh yeah ?

**So, name for me a nation that hasn’t done a lot of ill to people both within and without its borders**

sweden, norway, greek, etc i can go on….
neither do these countries meddle in others bussiness, its the anglos who have the knack of pointing their fingers elsewhere while their governments are perpetrating genocides all over the world, funny isnt it ?


**If I accuse you of doing something, no matter how bad I am, you are not exculpated by pointing out my flaws. **

you havent been paying attention, pal.
it was andrew who said this, “So why condemn the Anglo Saxon Pigs and not the Han Supremacist Pigs”
kinda like “if its ok with the hsp, why not the asp ?”, got it ?

on the other hand, i point out the sins of asp not to justify any alleged sins of the hsp.
its just a reminder to anglos like michael"us force projection” thurton, oh well, i see that he now fancy himself a “progressive” eh, but if he is really into hr, right to self determination and all that jazz, please bear in mind that “charity starts at home ”

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By rmaguir, July 10, 2008 at 9:13 pm Link to this comment

Denk said:

in any case, right now chinese tourists are flooding into tw and catching up on old times with their cousins, its a win win situation, why should it bother the likes of michael thurton and andrew ?

That’s wonderful.  Really.  I don’t think that anyone so far has said tourism was a bad idea.

Michael and Andrew are arguing that the new measures do not amount to a declaration of peace because Taiwan cannot declare peace, seeing as it is not the one threatening to invade. 

Moreover, the US has done/does a lot of both good and bad things.  The US is not the subject of this article though.  The war in Iraq gets plenty of coverage on Truthdig, and those posts would be the place to discuss it.  Michael has addressed at length Scheer’s implications regarding the US gov’t selling arms to Taiwan, and noted that Scheer has his facts wrong. 

So, name for me a nation that hasn’t done a lot of ill to people both within and without its borders. 

If I accuse you of doing something, no matter how bad I am, you are not exculpated by pointing out my flaws.  Andrew, Michael, and I are not speaking as representatives of the American government, so telling us the horrible things the US has done bears no relevance on our comments. 

Hell, I don’t even know if Andrew is American.

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By denk, July 10, 2008 at 9:01 pm Link to this comment

the korea link didnt work in my last post, here is it again,

eviction of farmers in korea to make way for another us base

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By bachu, July 10, 2008 at 8:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Misunderestimating the Chinese threat will surely lead to yet another Perl Harbor.

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By michaelturton, July 10, 2008 at 8:42 pm Link to this comment

You are looking at things as a stranger in a strange land, that is not how the Taiwanese look at it - i don’t live there like you but i have been there on a few occasions. It’s an uneasy marriage…but that is a function of Western influence rather than domestic sympathies - as demonstrated by the latest election results.

Duncan, I’ve lived here more or less since 1989. I speak and read Chinese, and I am a married to a local with a kid in the local school system and one not, both are dual citizens. I have been a university instructor for many years here, among many jobs I’ve held, and I am currently a PhD student at NCKU, where I do about three-fourths of my classes in Chinese, and all but eight of my fellow students in my program are locals. I drink, eat, sleep, and work with locals every day.

It’s good to know that you’ve been here a couple of times.

And in any case, I am not speaking for the Taiwanese. Rather, I am carefully documenting that Scheer has read the situation totally backwards and upside down. For example, Scheer claims that the US is pushing weapons on Taiwan, when in fact the US has an arms freeze on Taiwan. Just last week 14 senators sent a letter to the president asking why there is an arms freeze.

Will you please address that issue of Scheer’s lack of knowledge in the next post with substantive arguments?

Michael

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By denk, July 10, 2008 at 8:32 pm Link to this comment

andrew
**So why condemn the Anglo Saxon Pigs and not the Han Supremacist Pigs**

since when has the hsp become the moral compass of the oh so righteous asp, mr andrew. ?

in any case, right now chinese tourists are flooding into tw and catching up on old times with their cousins, its a win win situation, why should it bother the likes of michael thurton and andrew ?

there are no pla brutes raping tw school girls like in okinawa, [uli-schmetzer.com/vicenza.html]

no pla supervised eviction of tw farmers from their ancestral homes like in korea [http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/news/200605/200605040021.html]

no pla “top guns” bombing tw villages like in afghan, [members5.boardhost.com/medialens/msg/1215192067.html]

oh dont get us started on iraq !!

dont you think its hilarious that the asp should fret about “chinese intimidation” on tw—where the mainlanders and tw are mingling happily at this moment—while they have been heaping death and destruction all over the world for the past century ?


[to view the linked articles, simply add the proper prefix in front]

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By Andrew, July 10, 2008 at 5:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This article really is pathetic. Firstly let’s start with this

To the Chinese, irrespective of past allegiances, the prospect of war has come to be viewed as counterproductive

The why has the P.L.A continued to upgrade its the quality and quantity of its missiles aimed at Taiwan. Why has the C.C.P. continued with its on going policy of threatening Taiwan with force. Even the new Pan Blue Taiwanese President Ma recently addressed a graduating class of military cadets and stated that the best way to ensure peace is to maintain a constant sense of vigilance in face of the ambiguos entity that China is. Even he acknowloges the fact that while increased links with the P.R.C offers economic opportunities the P.R.C still represents a very real military threat. Even those pan blues who do favour eventual unification want the ability to negotiate those terms of unification and want unification when China shows real signs of becoming democratic. So in order to be able to negotiate from a position of strength Taiwan has a very real need to maintain a credible military deterant.

Taiwan and the P.R.C are still very much bi-polar opposites in terms of media freedom, judicial autonomy and transparancy of democracy. The fact that Taiwan has attempted to address the 2/28 incident stands in stark contrast to the refusal of the C.C.P’s refusal to address its past. I find it interesting that you mentioned the descendants of the K.M.T who fled to Taiwan in 1947 building their mansions in P.R.C villages but you made no mention of the descendants of the Taiwanese who were in Taiwan prior to the arrival of the K.M.T.

Where exactly did you get the information that people both sides of the straits are acting as if they are members of the same nation. If anything recent polls point to a growing sense of Taiwanese identity. If there really was a sense of oneness on both sides of the strait why did the C.C.P flip its lid with the recent poll on UN representaton for Taiwan. Lets face it if the C.C.Ps party line that “it was the overwhelming desire of our Taiwan compatriots to be reunited with the motherland” why was the C.C.P so terrified of that poll. What’s more why doesn’t the C.C.P encourage there to be a binding referendum where the Taiwanese are allowed to decide their own future without fear of retribution. Please answer that for me.

Finally I love this example of reverse racism

My point is simply this: the US has NO freaking business interfering in Taiwan, or Tibet, or anywhere the fu** else on this planet outside of thier own borders. That goes double for the Anglo-Saxon snobs/rapists who have been fu**ing around with China for the past 400 years

Firstly what about those Han supremacists who decided that they knew best when they established central rule over the so called SARS of Tibet, Inner Mongolia and East Turkestan. Even Chinese academics I have spoken to will admit that Chinese control over these regions before the P.R.C and the R.O.C was largely symbolic and nothing like the current stranglehold that exists today. So why condemn the Anglo Saxon Pigs and not the Han Supremacist Pigs. What’s more do you really think Hong Kong would be anything like it is today if it weren’t for the Anglo-Saxon Pigs. It is also highly ironic that the current geographical boundaries of the P.R.C are large determined by past Chinese war mongering and conquests. Most notably the Western and Eastern Han Dynasties, the Tang and finally the Manchu Qing.

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By Kevin Scott, July 10, 2008 at 1:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This article is simply terrible.  The author misconstrues trends and misstates “facts” in an attempt to “drill beneath the headlines.”

The bottom line is that China refuses to forsake military means (missiles and possibly an invasion) to deal with a political problem (the desire of Taiwan’s people to live in a democratic system).

As the title proclaims, Taiwan has declared peace - many times over since the 1990s.  Will China accept that?

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By michaelturton, July 10, 2008 at 9:24 am Link to this comment

michael, “PRC troll”??? I’m Yugoslavian living in Toronto, i don’t give a shit about the current or former regimes of China, i do care about the US sticking their greedy snouts in places they don’t belong and i care about white guys who think they know “what’s best for the Heathens”.

Then quit repeating PRC propaganda, and I’ll stop calling you a PRC troll.

I can see that no one really understands how wrong Scheer is. The US is indeed using Taiwan, but not against China. Instead it is betraying the island to buy China’s favor, so that the elites can make the big bucks they plan to off China.

Fundamentally, Scheer thinks poor China is the victim, but it is Taiwan that is the victim—the victim of wilful betrayal by US elites, and woeful neglect by progressives.

Michael

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By denk, July 10, 2008 at 8:47 am Link to this comment

michael thurton
**Yes, I learned how to be a merchant of death in the Peace Corps. That was before I graduated to CEO of Death by working on pro-democracy issues here in Taiwan and joining the independence movement**

the usa seems to have an inexhaustable supply of “hr” warriors who make a living out of meddling in other peoples’ bussiness.

i have known michael “the ccp can take tw over my dead body” thurton for a long time, but only now then i know he has actually joined the tw independence moverment [sic]

just wondering, mt, when are u gonna let them poor diego garcians go back to their home ?

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By roadkill, July 10, 2008 at 7:42 am Link to this comment

I am not sure if Sheer’s piece demonstrates more his lack of understanding for Taiwan / China political realities or his racist leaning stereotyping of the “inscrutable”  Chinaman in general.

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By William H. Huff, July 10, 2008 at 6:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

My prayer is that, not only the Chinese, but all peoples wake up to the truth that wars, both hot and cold, are almost always fought for other than stated reasons, and for the benefit of limited vested interests. The regime in Cuba could be moved toward normalization overnight if the US would reach out with commerce and friendship.
Why in the world should we still be acting like we have anything to fear from that tiny speck of an island? The number of dedicated commies left in Cuba has to be something like a small handful.

PS Anyone who thinks I am naive should read Major General Smedley Butler’s writings and take note that he was twice awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. The book, “War Is A Racket,” can be read for Free at http://www.WarIsARacket.com

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By michaelturton, July 10, 2008 at 4:51 am Link to this comment

Duncan, I don’t waste my time arguing with PRC trolls who know nothing about the history of Taiwan. For example:

+++++
Taiwan. Let’s leave out ancient history and the Europeans trading Taiwan amongst themselves since the 1500’s for the moment and stick with modern history:
+++++

There was no European settlement here until after 1600.

+++++
Cairo Declaration,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cairo_Declaration

...agreed to by the UK and US no less, proving once again that treaties and agreements with the US Empire are not worth the paper their written on.
++++++

Duncan, the Cairo Declaration is neither a treaty or agreement, but a declaration of war aims. It has no bearing on Taiwan’s sovereignty.

Can we get back to the issue here, which is twofold:

1. Why is Scheer writing on a topic that he doesn’t have a clue about? Why is he aligning himself with the reactionary right-wingers on this topic?

2. Why do progressives still view Taiwan through Cold War lenses now forty years out of date?

Michael

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By rmaguir, July 10, 2008 at 3:40 am Link to this comment

Fadel Abdallah,

You entirely missed the point.  There is no guarantee of peace here.  The Chinese have done nothing about the missiles they’re pointing at Taiwan.  Don’t you understand that? 

Where is the peace?  If you’ve forgotten, Taiwan is not the one threatening to invade China, it’s the other way around.  The only way you increase the chances of peace is getting China to do something about the missiles and learn how to compromise.  While the people of Taiwan (yes, even the Han Chinese one), by and large, support closer relations with China, they do not support unification and they do not see themselves as Chinese citizens. 

The idea of Turton as a merchant of death is funny though, I’ll give you that. 


DuncanIdaho,

Yeah, lots of people lie.  Thanks for the insight. However, I’m not ready to say that just because a lot of people lie in world politics then all of them are lying.  If you can prove to me that the Dalai Lama has other designs on Tibetan independence, prove it.  Don’t simply try to sway me with a fatalist world view. 

Give me proof, and I’ll happily admit my error. 

Moreover, De facto Chinese since the 1400s?  Right now it’s de facto independent, so does that mean you believe Taiwan has de jure independence?

I doubt you would say so.  I’ve never found any proof that would refute Michael’s historical claims concerning Taiwan. 

So, again, if you have any proof, I’d welcome it.

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By michaelturton, July 10, 2008 at 3:38 am Link to this comment

Sorry, I thought I might get some substantive comments from people who actually know something, but instead I get PRC trolls…

++++
michaelturton, what are you talking about? Taiwan has been de facto Chinese since the 1400’s (possibly 200BC) and has 98% Han Chinese population - and apparently a few WHITE GUYS who think THEY still own it. Again, US interests in Taiwan are obvious: a virtual aircraft carrier aimed at mainland China, and a base for economic raping and pillaging.
+++++

....who apparently do not know that the US has frozen arms sales to Taiwan since 2006, and of course, the peanut gallery.

+++++
From my reading of your lengthy article, I can tell that you’re one of those merchants of death who thrive on world conflicts and don’t want to see them solved peacefully.
+++++

Yes, I learned how to be a merchant of death in the Peace Corps. That was before I graduated to CEO of Death by working on pro-democracy issues here in Taiwan and joining the independence movement.

Look, it’s really quite simple.

1. Is the US pushing weapons on Taiwan? No, it has stopped selling them to Taiwan. Anyone can find that out with a five minute Google search.

2. Does the US want to use Taiwan as a Cold War stalking horse and unsinkable aircraft carrier? No, current Establishment policy and Bushite policy is to sell the island out to China.

3. Does Scheer know what he is talking about? No, he hasn’t a clue. He’s supporting the policies of a right-wing reactionary party in Taiwan, and a left-wing authoritarian one in China. This makes no sense to me as a progressive, but I’d be happy to have it explained how aligning oneself with parties that murdered some 60 or 70 million human beings is “progressive.”

Neither the expats who live here nor the vast majority of the local population want to lose this democracy. So please explain why you don’t want to support it.

No, I’m serious, I beg you—explain why the Dalai Lama gets unhesitating progressive support, but Taiwan, which has a functioning, pro-western democracy that has deep links to the US going back forty years, is ignored by progressives.

Please explain. I’d love to know.

Michael

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By Fadel Abdallah, July 10, 2008 at 2:36 am Link to this comment

By michaelturton, July 9 at 4:34 pm #

In Scheer’s view the flights herald “peace”, China has no designs on Taiwan, the Taiwanese have made peace with China, and the Bush Administration is trying to push weapons on the island.

All of this is completely wrong.
====================================
From my reading of your lengthy article, I can tell that you’re one of those merchants of death who thrive on world conflicts and don’t want to see them solved peacefully.

Peace and avoidance of war are far more precious for humanity than this so-called democracy you’re bragging about. We have seen what happened to your democracy at the hands of Bush and gang in the most-bragged about democracy in the world: the USA!

So get over it Mr. Michael Turton and save us the agony of responding to war-mongers like yourself!

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By Reubenesque, July 9, 2008 at 10:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Want to guess what kind of car you’ll be driving 10 years from now?  Chery, Geeley, Jonway?

http://autos.aol.com/article/general/v2/_a/chinese-cars/20071223130309990001

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By michaelturton, July 9, 2008 at 5:35 pm Link to this comment

(part 2)
Far from Taiwan being some Cold War stalking horse for a war with China, the Council on Foreign Relations and other Establishment groups are quietly pushing for Taiwan to be annexed to China, because they want to make big bucks off China. Progressives having abandoned Taiwan’s democracy, the only support it has in the US is in Congress, and among right wingers.

The flights are not “Taiwan declaring peace” because Taiwan is not the cause of conflict, China is. China wants to annex Taiwan, a nation no ethnic Chinese emperor ever owned, and which the PRC has never controlled, and China has threatened to kill anyone who gets in its way, and to plunge the region into war. Far from “making money” China is continuing a massive military build up aimed at Taiwan, and is not only claiming Taiwan, but also other islands in the South China Sea and abroad. At present 1,300 missiles are pointed at the island. There cannot be “peace” until the military threat to Taiwan ceases.

The DPP, which had already instituted limited flights and tourism, had bundled tourist flights from China with cargo and shipping links, which the island really needs. China does not want those; because Taiwan’s logistics firms are far better than its own. The KMT instead accepted a flight agreement under which all Chinese tourists travel only on Chinese aircraft to Taiwan. This is no “declaring peace.” It is capitulation. Because the DPP drew the limit at sovereignty, it had a strong negotiating stance. By the same token, because the KMT does not care about Taiwan’s independent sovereignty, there is no limit to what it can give away. Ma has already indicated that Taiwan’s independent foreign policy will be suspended, and the KMT has already begun to roll back the separation between the party and the military achieved as a series of democratic reforms under the DPP.

Ironically, Scheer’s wrongheadedness is driven his Cold War analysis of events. Bush is not trying to sell weapons to Taiwan—quite the opposite! As a number of major publications have reported—including Defense News and WaPo, the Bush Administration has instituted a de facto arms freeze on Taiwan since 2006, when it decided not to sell Taiwan the F-16 fighters we need if we are to keep our democracy here. The Bush Administration’s policy is in fact just the opposite of what Scheer claims: thee Administration is quietly shoving the island into China’s arms and refusing to give it weapons. If Scheer was not guided by his out of date Cold War analytical stance, he might, with a ten minute Google search, have discovered this.

The Taiwanese and Chinese are not acting like they are one nation. Few Taiwanese want to become part of the PRC. Rather, they are doing what any pragmatic people might do: invest where they can make money. Peace cannot prevail across the Taiwan Strait until China gives up its desire to annex Taiwan by force, and that cannot happen until US progressives and conservatives get together on this issue. Until Taiwan means something to progressives, the way Tibet does.

There’s so much that is wrong in this awful article, but I think the saddest part of this misguided piece is that it is just another example of how progressives have completely failed Taiwan’s democracy, because they refuse to see Taiwan as it is, and instead use analytical stances that are now 40 years out of date. Tragically, while history has advanced, they have not. Indeed, judging from the cluelessness of Scheer’s writing, they haven’t even discovered Google yet.

Michael Turton
The View from Taiwan
http://michaelturton.blogspot.com

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By michaelturton, July 9, 2008 at 5:34 pm Link to this comment

In Scheer’s view the flights herald “peace”, China has no designs on Taiwan, the Taiwanese have made peace with China, and the Bush Administration is trying to push weapons on the island.

All of this is completely wrong.

Scheer’s piece is shaped by the outdated, uninformed Cold War lenses that continue to prevent progressives from taking a good look at Taiwan. As a result, the US defenders of the progressive pro-democracy side in Taiwan politics are all neo-cons, while the US left either sides with the authoritarians in Beijing, or the right-wing party, the KMT,  that now controls both the executive and the legislature in Taiwan.

What has actually happened is that the KMT, which gave Taiwan 50 years of martial law and a totally corrupt developmentalist state that continues to impair the growth of progressive politics and policy here, took total control of the legislature in January, and put Ma Ying-jeou, who built his political career in opposition to democracy before experiencing a sudden conversion in the 1990s, into the Presidency in March.

The KMT had long been coordinating policy with Beijing to suppress the growth of the island’s democracy movement and its unique identity. The KMT party Chairman, Wu Po-hsiung, who indeed went to China after the Presidential election, went there as part of this ongoing cooperation, the key components of which are back-channel and unknown to the public. In other words: undemocratic.

Both the KMT and Beijing hated the previous President, Chen Shui-bian, a former corporate lawyer and human rights lawyer who came to power in 2000 and thence negotiated with China from the firm position that Taiwan’s sovereignty was non-negotiable. The current flights between Taiwan and China stem from the groundwork laid in the negotiations by the pro-Taiwan and pro-democracy party, the DPP with Beijing. China, for its part, was very successful in portraying Chen as “troublemaker.” In this it has been supported by the Bush Administration, which has, in the words of Jonathon Manthorpe, the veteran Canadian journalist, “outsourced its Taiwan policy to Beijing.”  Obsessed with its defeats in the Middle East, the Bush Administration does not want Taiwan to joggle its elbow. Further, it wants China’s cooperation on North Korea. Hence, it has decided to sell out the island.

To understand how uninformed Scheer’s piece is, imagine that it was discussing not Taiwan but Ukraine. Imagine further that a pro-Russian anti-democracy party came to power in Ukraine and wanted to annex the nation back to Russia. Now imagine that Scheer was praising the resulting situation in which Ukraine’s sovereignty was impaired for no gain at all, but because the pro-Russian party hopes to annex the nation back to Russia. And imagine that the US was backing the pro-Russia party…. that is what has happened in Taiwan.  There the current President, Ma Ying-jeou, is backed by both Beijing and Washington. In other words, this is a situation in which a progressive out to call into question the actions of Beijing, Taipei, and Washington to sell out the island’s democracy, not laud them as “peace moves.”

The current party in power, the KMT (Chinese Nationalist Party) has ruled Taiwan since 1945. In 1949 it relocated its government there, falsely claimed that Taiwan was part of China, and has been aching to annex the island back to China ever since. The US position helped prevent this tragedy; it was, and remains, that the status of Taiwan is undetermined. With the advent of democracy KMT elites have responded by moving closer to Beijing even as they assure the rank and file that they love Taiwan and court moderate votes by promising they will not sell out the island.

(part 1, part 2 continued.

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By rmaguir, July 9, 2008 at 4:53 pm Link to this comment

Again, I’d like to ask where Scheer’s peace comes from?  The Chinese UPDATED their 1000+ missiles before the flights began, instead of reducing their numbers in good faith. 

I’m just as hopeful about peace in the straits as the next guy, but the truth is I’ve yet to hear a “declaration” and there have been no signs by the PRC that they feel an less inclined to use force to take Taiwan. 

DuncanIdaho, Tibet is much more a part of China than Taiwan is.  Of the five flags that have flown over Taiwan, the PRC’s flag is not one of them.  Taiwan is not a part of the PRC, and it never has been.  It might be one day, but that should be Taiwan’s decision. 

Furthermore, “Lama-lovers” should be the ones who are FOR Tibetan dependence on China, as the Dalai Lama has repeatedly stated that he thinks Tibet is and should be a part of China.  All the Dalai Lama is demanding is that Tibetans be treated justly.

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By Louise, July 9, 2008 at 4:44 pm Link to this comment

Suddenly, we are irrelevant. But it really isn’t so sudden. It’s just that Russia and China, and yes even Europe recognize there will never be a president Bush again. And even though there may be some form or other of the really bad side of the ugly coin called conservative, suddenly it looks like it doesn’t really matter any more.

Israel has nukes. The US has nukes. Pakistan has nukes. India has nukes. But so does China and Russia ... a whole lot of them. So maybe those folks on the other side of the world have just sat up and realized, they don’t have to put up with the snappy little brats running things in the States anymore.

Besides, thanks to a most incredibly indifferent congress, and an unbelievable conservative greed, the States are crumbling fast. In fact it may be just a matter of time before the only thing anyone here can do to gain attention in the rest of the world is snap and snarl.

We have made flying an horrendous experience and devalued our dollar so bad, nobody wants to come here anymore, unless they have to. We have made diplomacy a synonym for violence. We have elevated the lie to the status of god-speak. We have ruined our nations economy, savings and investment opportunity. We have depleted our military. We have so compromised everything the previous generations valued, folks across the world scratch their heads and ask, what happened to America?

Every day another bit of stupidity shocks the senses and every day we scramble to regain our balance. And every day we tell ourselves we can change things, if only we elect the right people. Can we?

This mornings [Wednesday, July 9th] ‘Democracy Now’ had guests who clearly identified the beginning of today’s downward spiral regarding the banking system. Something many, including many who testified before the Senate last month, regarding oil speculation, have identified already. But what has the Senate, or the House of Representatives done about it? Nothing. And that’s pretty much what they do about everything. Nothing.

But lest we just blame the current bunch of free-loaders, lets go back to the creation of the legislation that made ENRON and the sub-prime mortgage crisis and today’s spiraling oil prices possible. Back when Clinton was president.

When he signed that bill, he didn’t really know what was in it. And when the congress passed that bill into law, they didn’t really know what was in it. They never know. They never read them. They pass laws they don’t read, the nation suffers, and they spend years trying to clean up the mess their indifference created. What a lovely way to run a government. Especially when the goal isn’t really to solve problems, but to keep the problems alive. The better to convince us to elect them ... again.

Just as sure as day follows night, they’ll keep on funding the war machine. Even if they haven’t got a clue how to pay for it. Even if they have no idea what it is, or why we need it. That’s not the point. Pleasing every side and the middle ... to get elected, or re-elected ... that’s the point.

I think we’ve long passed the day when we can go on electing people to congress just because they’re charismatic, and WANT the job. Maybe it’s time we actually start examining credentials. Maybe we need some sort of litmus test to determine whether or not these folks who want to lead us actually qualify for the job.

A good beginning might be a reading test. Then we can follow that up with a test to determine the length of their attention span.

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By Paul_GA, July 9, 2008 at 10:48 am Link to this comment

If this country’s economy collapses, Fadel Abdallah, then the military-industrial complex will be toast.

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By Fadel Abdallah, July 9, 2008 at 9:40 am Link to this comment

This is the best piece of news we had in a long time. I am so happy that there is finally peace between Taiwan and the main land of China.

I recommend that the picture accompanying this article would be declared the best picture of the year!

And while I share Robert Scheer’s hope and demand that the American military-industrial will be forced to rethink and abandon their weapons build up, I also fear that those merchants of death will start soon plotting to stir the calm waters of peace between the Chinese, so they can continue to do their favorite fishing in troubled waters!

Short of total dismantling of the military-industrial complex, I don’t think that the world would ever see a long extended era of world peace.

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By Jaded Prole, July 9, 2008 at 9:34 am Link to this comment

No surprise that Leiberman shills for war and militarism wherever he can, that’s why it’s time for him to go.

As Ted Koppel and others have pointed out, we are so in debt to the Chinese that we must go along with whatever they want. Ironic that our own ruling class is learning the hard lessons of capitalism from the People’s Republic.

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By felicity, July 9, 2008 at 9:34 am Link to this comment

Oh dear. If Team ‘B,’ put together in the mid-‘70’s and comprised of militarists and right-wing ideologues, still exists it’s got to be upset by this news.

Team B’s aim was to bury detente and escalate threats to justify increasing military budgets. Of course, the information it was publicizing on the then status of Soviet military equipment and personnel build-up was later proved to be completely false. 

(Government information “completely false?”  What a shock.)

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By Blackspeare, July 9, 2008 at 8:51 am Link to this comment

WTF——Taiwan wanting peace and friendship with mainland China——what is this world coming to??!!  The next thing we’ll know is that South and North Korea will become friendly.  Something has to be done——doesn’t anyone care about the impact on the military-industrial complex——how will they feed their children??!!

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By Spike, July 9, 2008 at 8:30 am Link to this comment

Say, Mr. Gorbachev, would you take a contract to straighten out the mess in Washington?  No bid for about 5 years guaranteed work.

The Chinese have a new miracle recipe for helping establish transparency in government: it is called
Peek-in Duck. It helps a congress to look into its morality and decency factors.  You might want to require all who seek to “represent” the People to eat three large helpings daily.

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By Paul_GA, July 9, 2008 at 7:08 am Link to this comment

Mr. Scheer probably meant Afghanistan, not Pakistan, Geoffspear. Perhaps Bin Laden divides his time between the two; I don’t know.

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By geoffspear, July 9, 2008 at 6:39 am Link to this comment

Since when is our great friend Pakistan “a landlocked nation”?

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By Leefeller, July 9, 2008 at 5:57 am Link to this comment

Doubt very much if anyone was caught suppressed.  North Korea recently happened, just means the military can focus on war in the mideast. 

China means the new world order has a slight shift on who the elite top will be or does it?

Peace as an option feels good for a change anyway, even though it will not effect the slob on the street here.  Of course the slob on the street is not an option or consideration anyway.

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By Paul_GA, July 9, 2008 at 5:50 am Link to this comment

Darn tootin’, something has to be done about military spending! It’s not about “defense”; if it were, there wouldn’t be a “homeland defense” department (and its associated bureaucracy) further draining our substance. The “Defense” department is all about WAR—-and imperialistic war, at that.

If this country went over to a truly defensive mode, ended these stupid, ridiculous wars, withdrew our people, planes and ships from their overseas bases, and cut the forces severely in size, the savings would be enormous. And we’d be safer because our government would no longer be going about the world picking fights with all and sundry.

If we can’t or won’t do this voluntarily, expect economic collapse to do it for us.

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By rmaguir, July 8, 2008 at 11:35 pm Link to this comment

Also, can we stop with “the mainland and its breakaway island” meme?  Taiwan did not break away from China.  The KMT fled to Taiwan.  There’s a big difference.

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By rmaguir, July 8, 2008 at 11:35 pm Link to this comment

With all due respect for Mr. Sheer, the sunshine and butterflies image he presents is not quite the reality we’re seeing right now. 

First of all, let me stress the woeful regard I have of the truism that the only people in the US who seem to pay any attention to Taiwan are the likes of Wolfowitz, Tancredo, Bolton, etc.  Hawks certainly do rule the US’ Taiwan policy, and I personally don’t really get too worked up when Taiwan doesn’t get the American weapons that it wants or that the US wants to sell them. 

I believe peace is possible, and I don’t think it has to necessitate a war.  On that point, I agree with Mr. Scheer.

That said, where exactly did the author get the idea that war is now seen as counterproductive?  One of the first things China did was to UPDATE the 1000+ missiles it has pointing at Taiwan:

“Professor Christopher Hughes, an LSE-based expert on Taiwan, thought the boost from tourism had been overestimated. His initial optimism about the thaw had also waned after conversations with mainland officials and academics. “Their way of thinking was: ‘Taiwan’s come over to our way of thinking; Ma’s going to do what we want him to,’” he said, adding that Beijing had updated its missiles opposite Taiwan. “The question is: what is Taiwan getting out of this?”“
  - http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/jul/05/china

Moreover, its becoming more and more apparent that Taiwan is getting very little out of the deal.  China refused to let Taiwanese airlines in on the historic deal.  THIS, I feel, is the part that’s been left out of most of the reporting.  The Hong Kong-Taipei route is one of the busiest in the world.  Now that some of that traffic will be redirected, Taiwanese companies aren’t being allowed any of the new business. 

What the KMT is doing now is no different than the DPP’s policy to facilitate closer ties with China, aside from the fact that KMT is willing to let China dictate all of the rules, and the DPP wasn’t, as Max Hirsch commented on the East West Center’s blog:

  “While declining to dismantle (indeed, he even threw up some of his own) some of the roadblocks that have hindered cross-strait trade, Chen has presided over a massive (the largest in history) trade and investment flow across the strait, while hammering out many of the prickly details of further links for which credit will ultimately go to the KMT.

  “A few days ago, I sat down with a top KMT official slated for a Cabinet position under Ma. Off-the-record, the official admitted that the foundations for opening up Taiwan to Chinese tourists, and for direct air and shipping links had already been laid through years of painstaking negotiations with Beijing, initiated and conducted by the DPP-led government. I doubt that much credit will go to the DPP for this, however. Equally sad is the lost legacy of how the DPP played a role in forcing the KMT to democratize from without; indeed, the opposition party (soon to become the ruling one) was, by and large, dragged kicking and screaming into democracy; now it is also beginning to embrace the localization movement that defines the DPP: Oddly enough, ”Taiwan First” was a slogan that the KMT clung to during Ma’s presidential campaign.”
- http://forum.eastwestcenter.org/blog/2008/03/23/an-eye-on-taiwans-upcoming-election/#comments


Right now, it seems that China has gotten everything it wants out of the deal, and Taiwan’s gotten little, because the KMT isn’t willing to stand up and make sure that Taiwan gets its cut. 

To be clear, I am no DPP diehard, nor do I think that Taiwan must absolutely be independent.  Yet, Scheer’s oversimplification for the purpose of making the argument that the hawks in Washington lack the nuance to understand the relationship between Taiwan and China as anything but military proves that, well, he also lacks that nuance.

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By samosamo, July 8, 2008 at 11:27 pm Link to this comment

The Chinese are a very old and abused civilization. They have learned NOT to trust anyone especially since the british started importing opium into the country, I can’t remember 1700s/1800s, to force a hegemonic trade that favored, who else, the UK. Grow the opium in India sell it in china thus nearly crippling china’s wealth as the british as I remember would not take anything other than silver and gold and gems. Real drug lords those british are, the beginning of drug cartels even. And there were the dutch and french and some others but basically it was as bad a thing to do to a country that could be done.
So why should the Chinese TRUST anyone? And I don’t think China has any american military bases in their country. Taiwan may have but now that the US’s economy is fast swirling around down into the toilet why would Taiwan want to keep allegiance to the US? Yep, it sure does hack those pentagon neocons off to no end and I hope this could be a real indicator, still relatively small, that american imperialism is maybe following the economy.
I wonder when Japan will kick the US out of their country including Okinawa(sp). Surely some of these big economic countries are tired of the BS the US gives them. Lord forbid if they all quit dealing in dollars, that would end the american dream in about 30 minutes but it would probably get them nuked as that would constitute a threat to our national security, at least I don’t think we would take it laying down.
I guess a bunch of this is just ruminations but hopefully it is a major crack in the neocon’s hegemonic plans for the world. We’ll see.

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