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Taiwan’s Referendum & U.S. China Policy


A reader: “Shouldn’t NRO be taking a strong position on the Taiwan
referendum instead of ignoring it? How is the Bush Administration position
on Taiwan’s referendum compatible with ’The National Security Strategy of
the United States of America
Isn’t it incredibly cynical for the Bush Administration to stand for
Democracy at the point of the sword in Iraq while not recognizing the right
to self determination of the people of Taiwan?”

The people of Taiwan HAVE self-determination. No substantive matter of
Taiwan’s internal policy is dictated by China, nor by anyone else. In this
globalized world, I don’t know that they have any less self-determination
than anyone else–than the average member of the EU, for example.

The aim of U.S. policy should be to help the people of Taiwan preserve the
self-determination they have got, and not lose it by tweaking the dragon’s
tail. Governments have to weigh goods against other goods. For Taiwan to
have a referendum on its nationhood would be good–I won’t argue with that.
For China to give us serious help in restraining the Norks, and to stop the
flagrant selling of missile technology to US-hostile regimes–those are
other goods–and, so far as the people of the U.S. are concerned, far
greater ones. If indeed (I have my doubts, and will write about them in due
course) the administration has got some real help on those issues in return
for some rough words to the Taiwan govt., personally I could live with it.


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