Taiwan Independence and Free Lunches

Taiwan Independence and Free Lunches
Bevin Chu
August 23, 1999

A standing joke among “Sinologists,” or China experts, is that the Taiwan independence movement’s leaders are “ready to fight to the last American G.I.” The Taiwan independence motto could be summed up as “Give me liberty, or give them death.”

Taiwan independence has little to do with genuine independence. Taiwan “independence” is characterized by complete and utter dependency, materially and emotionally, on whomever weilds the most power. A cliche constantly invoked in Taiwan political debates says it all: “Xi gua kao da bian” (“The watermelon tilts toward the big end.”)

Materially, the Taiwan independence movement is utterly dependent on America. Every evening reunification proponents warn militant separatists on television debates they are courting disaster, and every evening the separatists argue that America will shield them from the negative consequences of refusing to negotiate in good faith with the Chinese mainland.

So far they have been proven right. Lawrence Eagleburger, Secretary of State to former President George Bush lamented in the wake of President Bill Clinton’s kneejerk dispatch of two carrier battle groups to the Taiwan Straits in 1996, “They (Taiwan) have played us like a fiddle.”

The Taiwan Relations Act’s raison d’etre ended with Chairman Mao’s death and his replacement by the man Mao denounced as the “Number Two Capitalist Roader,” Deng Xiaoping. Whatever purpose it may have once served, it is now merely a blank check signed by Uncle Sam and made out to the Taiwan separatist leadership, to be cashed at their convenience. The amount is yet to be determined, but sooner or later it will be inked in with the blood of American G.I.s.

The east Asian financial crisis was an textbook case of what economists refer to as “moral hazard.” International Monetary Fund guarantees amounted to an artificial incentive for wealthy investors to indulge in high-risk speculation, knowing the IMF would pull their chestnuts out of the fire if they underestimated how hot it would get.

The Taiwan Relations Act is the political and military analog of IMF bailout guarantees, amounting to an artificial incentive for “stealth separatists” like Lee Teng-hui to deliberately adopt non-starter negotiating positions and engage in reckless brinksmanship. They know the US Seventh Fleet will come steaming to their rescue if they overplay their hand and Beijing calls their bluff.

The moral hazard of IMF intervention resulted in east Asia bleeding oceans of red ink. The moral hazard of well-intentioned but wrong-headed assurances of American military intervention in the Taiwan Straits will bleed oceans of something far more precious.

American military leaders who may be required to send Americans into combat are painfully aware of the implications of Lee Teng-hui’s shenanigans. As Admiral Dennis Blair, America’s top military commander in the Pacific testified before Congress, Taiwan was crapping in the “punch bowl” of US-China relations.

ROC President Lee Teng-hui watched with delight as the US Air Force served as the air wing of the Kosovo Liberation Army. The timing of Lee’s “two nations” provocation was hardly coincidental, coming as it did on the heels of Nato’s Chinese Embassy bombing fiasco. Lee interpreted the event as his cue to stoop over the punchbowl and take yet another dump.

Fifty-eight thousand Americans ordered to Vietnam by ungrateful civilian REMFs came home in bodybags. A black granite monument on the National Mall inscribed with their names serves as a solemn reminder of that tragic waste of American lives.

If our Beltway Bombardiers have failed to learn the lessons of Vietnam, as it appears they have, and pointlessly dispatch young Americans halfway around the world to intervene in a Chinese Civil War that is none of our business, how many will return in bodybags from the Taiwan Straits? After it is all over, win, lose or draw, what would they have died for?

Are American values what the Taiwan separatists hold sacred and expect American fighing men and women to die for? If that were the case, American intervention on the separatists’ behalf might be slightly less absurd. But as we shall see, American values are not what the Taiwan independence movement is all about.

Ignore the scripted, feel-good speeches high-powered American PR firms like Cassidy and Associates have carefully coached Lee Teng-hui to spoonfeed our congress and mainstream media. Ignore especially his 1996 “Always in my Heart” class reunion speech at Cornell, where he really laid it on with a trowel.

Instead find someone fluent in Chinese or better yet, Japanese, to translate what Lee and other Taiwanese separatists have written for the consumption of separatist militants in Taiwan and neo-fascist fellow travellers in Japan. Americans may be shocked to discover the Taiwanese separatists’ bottom line objection to eventual reunification with China has little to do with professed admiration for American concepts of individualism, liberty, republican government, and everything to do with nostalgia for authoritarian Japanese colonial rule.

Lee Teng-hui’s book “Taiwan’s Proposal,” published shortly before his “two nations” declaration, is Lee’s manifesto for Taiwan’s future. It was ghost-written by an anonymous Japanese author from a right wing Japanese perspective. The first edition was in written in Japanese and printed in Japan. Only later was it translated into Chinese and printed in Taiwan. In it Lee praises Japanese culture as being incomparably superior to American culture. Lee boasts publicly that he is more thoroughly steeped in Japanese culture than even the average Japanese.

In case that went by too fast, let me repeat it. A manifesto by the President of the Republic of China, purporting to represent the interests of the people of Taiwan, is actually penned by a neofascist Japanese author in Japan, published in Japan, and only gets translated into Chinese afterwards?

Hello?

During a 1995 interview with visiting Japanese author Ryotaro Shiba, President Lee Teng-hui ordered his cabinet and bodyguards out of his office, and speaking in Japanese to a long lost countryman, gushed that he still considered himself Japanese until a young adult, wept when he heard Japan had surrended to the Allies and was returning Taiwan to China, and that his grief upon hearing Emperor Hirohito had died was more profound than that of Japanese in Japan. The conversation was ostensibly confidential, but Shiba, being a journalist first and Lee’s confidant only in Lee’s fevered imagination, promptly published their little tete a tete verbatim the minute he got back to Japan, where Japanese neo-fascists applauded it enthusiastically.

Far from being freedom fighters, Taiwanese “independence” leaders fell over each other to collaborate with Japanese colonial administrators for personal advantage.

Lee Teng-hui’s father collaborated by serving as a deputy in the colonial Japanese police force, actively oppressing his own people. In return, his family received comfortable housing, quality rations, and educational opportunities. Lee Teng-hui himself attended the Universty of Kyoto, a singular “honor” doled out only to those deemed “politically reliable.”

Lee’s chief negotiator in cross-Straits negotiations with Beijing is crony capitalist Koo Chen-fu. An historian at Taiwan’s Academia Sineca recently exposed Koo and the Koo family business empire as WWII era profiteers engaged in the selling of Taiwanese women into sexual slavery.

Younger Taiwan independence leaders born too late to have been collaborators routinely offer elaborate rationalizations for WWII era Japanese war crimes on local talk shows.

When China was refused an apology in writing from Japanese Prime Minister Obuchi for WWII war crimes, which included years of gang rape of Taiwanese “comfort women” and Joseph Mengele style Unit 731 “medical experiments” performed on American POWs in Manchuria, Lee Teng-hui huffily proclaimed that “Japan has apologized enough. Any further apologizing will only harm Japan’s dignity!”

Just before Lee threw his”two nations” gauntlet at Beijing’s feet, he told Taiwan’s media he detected early storm clouds of “kamikaze” (“divine wind”) gathering over the island of Taiwan. The media was baffled by his cryptic remark, but his intention soon became clear. Time is running out for Lee, just as it ran out for Japan’s kamikaze squadrons approaching V-J Day. Lee is hoping his”two nations” proclamation will provoke war. As Dr Alex Kao, an expert on Chinese military strategy sees it, Lee is gambling that the mainland “will launch a premature war now which 15 years from now Taiwan would have no chance of winning.”

Emotionally the Taiwan “independence” elite is dependent on their former colonial master, Japan, into whose arms they will fling themselves if their divorce from China becomes a reality. Taiwan “independence” is merely a way station en route their final destination, Tokyo. Even their proposed “Republic of Taiwan” flag is a fascimile of the Japanese Emperor’s “Chrysanthemum Flag.” Taiwan separatists would be jubilant if upon achieving “independence” they are promptly re-colonized by Japan.

Taiwan independence is a movement which if genuinely understood would evoke scant sympathy from Americans, certainly not from American POWs who survived the Bataan Death March, and the Taiwan independence leaders know it. So instead they recite the catechism they know patriotic Americans want to hear: Freedom, democracy, anti-communism.

In a sense we shouldn’t blame the Taiwan “independence” parasites, who are really no different from sundry homegrown parasites. The parasites know perfectly well they’re getting a free lunch at American taxpayers’ expense, but as long as their generous Uncle Sammy insists on picking up the tab, they’d be crazy to pass up a free meal.

A few million in strategically distributed political contributions by the immensely wealthy Taiwan Lobby, and presto, highly trained military personnel and trillions in advanced weaponry belonging to the World’s Only Remaining Superpower are placed at their disposal. Americans who enlisted in our armed forces on the understanding their duty was to defend American territory from foreign invaders find themselves job-shopped as mercenaries to would be founders of a would be “Republic of Taiwan.” The Taiwan tail winds up wagging the American dog. The Taiwan mouse roars, and the proud American eagle crosses the Pacific to do the mouse’s bidding.

A pretty shrewd bargain for the Taiwan “independence” movement. But what kind of a deal is it for Americans? We owe it to ourselves to consider long and hard whether Taiwan independence is something American taxpayers want to pay for with our sweat and American fighting men and women want to pay for with their blood.

What will happen to 22 million ordinary Taiwanese if America repeals the Taiwan Relations Act and informs the obdurate separatist Lee Teng-hui “You want independence? Lots of luck. You’re on your own.”

The answer is: Not a damned thing.

Instead the Taiwan independence movement’s Japanophile elite will be forced to listen, for a change, to the 80% majority of Taiwan people who oppose Taiwan independence and are perfectly content with defacto autonomy. If they don’t, the people will elect a more rational president, one who will drive a hard bargain and negotiate a high degree of regional autonomy under a “One Country, Two Systems” formula. Later, as the mainland liberalizes to a degree deemed satisfactory by Taiwan, the two sides will reunify peacefully along the lines of East and West Germany.

Both America and China will win. Heavily armed Taiwan will get an even better deal than Hongkong, which to the chagrin of China-haters has remained utterly unmolested since its restoration to China, despite being completely unarmed.

Only the Taiwanese separatist fanatics will lose. Without America’s credit card on the dinner table they will have to stare at the prices on the menu before ordering. Without American carte blanche, Lee Teng-hui and his Taiwan “independence” elite will have to ask themselves whether their dream of becoming a satellite of Japan is worth risking their own miserable hides, rather than the lives of American servicemen and women.

But, as the libertarian battle cry coined by the late, great libertarian science fiction master Robert Heinlein goes, “Tanstaafl!” or “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch!”

Advertisements

Gerald Segal, learn Chinese History before teaching It

Gerald Segal, learn Chinese History before teaching It
Bevin Chu
August 18, 1999

Letters Editor
Straits Times

Dear Sir/Madam,

Gerald Segal, in “Forgo blood politics or get left behind” asserts that “in the China-Taiwan dispute, the appeal from one side is that unity is imperative because of blood ties.”

This will come as news to 1.2 billion pro-reunification Chinese on both sides of the Taiwan Straits who demand eventual reunification not on the basis of “blood lines,” but on the basis of territorial sovereignty.

China has never claimed, for example, that predominantly ethnic Chinese Singapore is part of China’s territory. China recognizes that Chinese-Singaporeans emigrated to a foreign country. The same is true of Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines. Nor have ethnic Chinese in these foreign countries ever been anything but “model minorities.” They have certainly never demanded anything resembling the Austrian “anschluss.” China does maintain however, correctly, that Taiwan and predominantly Tibetan-Chinese Tibet are integral parts of a multiethnic China.

Segal suggests “societies that stick closely to blood and ethnicity will now lose out in the globalised competition for ideas and talent.” I for one agree with this 100%. But what does this have to do with rejecting Taiwan independence?

Even the most technologically advanced “borderless” Information Age nations refuse to tolerate the loss of sovereign territory without a struggle. If Mr. Segal doubts this, let him loudly demand that the United States, the home of the internet, allow Alaska, Hawaii, and Texas, each with an independence movement, to secede, and brace himself for the furious outpouring from American patriots.

Mr. Segal would do well to learn a little Chinese history before presuming to lecture others about it. His entire article confirms that “those who are unaware of their ignorance, will only be misled by their knowledge.”

Segal seems blissfully unaware that several millennia of what Ku Klux Klansmen and neo-Nazis denounce as “mongrelization of the races” is the reason modern China looks so ethnically homogenous, not outmoded German or Japanese “blood-based instincts of identity.”

Jews who centuries ago emigrated to Kaifeng are so thoroughly assimilated they are indistinguishable from “native” Chinese. By contrast Jews in Europe and even America remain physically distinct due to incomplete assimilation.

Yet it is China which Segal, writing from white Anglo-Saxon Britain condemns, and the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, four white Anglo-Saxon dominated former British colonies still plagued with anti-Semitism, which Segal lavishes with praise!

Chinese traditionally did not even think of China as a “nation” but simply as “Tien Xia” (“Under Heaven”). The very term “China” is a western neologism. China’s universalist vision merged Hans, Manchus, Mongols, Moslems, Tibetans and 51 other ethnic groups, each at one time independent warring foreign nations, into an integrated multiethnic China. Ancient China was the original borderless economy, limited only by the era’s primitive transportation.

If Mr. Segal wants to denounce “blood politics” in China, let him denounce Tenzing Gyatso, aka the Dalai Lama, who rejects his identity as a Tibetan-Chinese and instead demands Tibetan racial purity along the lines of his Nazi mentor, SS Captain Heinrich Harrer.

Segal’s obsession with “dividing and conquering” China, well known to those familiar with his scribblings, merely reveal his own “dangerous and increasingly antiquated” Kiplingesque way of seeing the Chinese not as fellow human beings, but as an insidious “Yellow Peril” to be nipped in the bud. And Mr. Segal wonders why “solutions are hard to find.”

Sincerely,

Bevin Chu
Taipei, Taiwan, China

American Values in Dire Straits

American Values in Dire Straits
Bevin Chu
August 08, 1999

High anxiety in the Taiwan Straits following Republic of China President Lee Teng-hui’s “two nations” challenge to the People’s Republic of China raises the question: How should patriotic Americans respond to the Taipei-Beijing confrontation?

The answer is: Americans who revere our heritage of freedom and independence must have the courage to defy 1990’s Political Correctness and uphold core American values — by politely but firmly refusing to intervene.

As George Washington stated in his Farewell Address of 1796:

“The Great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign Nations is in extending our comercial relations to have with them as little political connection as possible… Tis our true policy to steer clear of permanent Alliances, with any portion of the foreign World.”

Condensing Washington’s 18th century idioms into bumper sticker-ese:

“trade with either, side with neither.”

Meanwhile, the Taiwan Relations Act, which should have gone the way of the Berlin Wall, is exactly the kind of pernicious “permanent Alliance” with a “portion of the foreign World” the Father of our Country urged us to steer clear of.

Washington was hardly alone. His resolute opposition to foreign intervention was shared by all the Founders, none of whom intended any exceptions to be made for Kosovo or Taiwan.

As James Madison put it:

“Indulging no passions which trespass on the rights or the repose of other nations… fulfilling their neutral obligations with… scrupulous impartiality… sincere neutrality toward belligerent nations… [excluding] foreign intrigues and foreign partialities…”

As Thomas Jefferson put it:

“Peace, commerce, and honest friendship, with all nations — entangling alliances with none… Our first and fundamental maxim should be, never to entangle ourselves in the broils of Europe.”

And finally, as John Quincy Adams, author of the Monroe Doctrine put it:

“America… does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.”

Why exactly were the Founding Fathers so unanimously and unambiguously opposed to “proactively” exporting American values beyond our shores? Did they not want liberty to prevail all over the world, not just in America? What was their problem anyway? Were they too myopic or selfish, as the Nomenklatura of the New World Order seem to imply, to see the value of “making the world safe for democracy?”

The answer to all these questions is a resounding “No.” The Founding Fathers were cultured cosmopolitans who devoutly hoped that liberty would triumph the world over. And no, their foreign policy prescriptions have not been rendered obsolete by jet travel and the internet, because their soundness was not predicated on specific technologies in fhe first place. Rather their strategic vision was grounded solidly in their grasp of fundamental human nature, which has evolved little since 1796, however we might wish otherwise.

The Founders, powdered wigs and all, were infinitely more “hip” than we give them credit for, and understood something our smug modern politicians do not. They understood that to yield to the powerful temptation to “do good” abroad carries an enormously expensive and hidden price tag: the loss of our own liberty at home.

They understood that “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” that handing our Political Class the power it demands to impose “benevolent global hegemony” on the rest of the world empowers it to impose a malevolent domestic dictatorship on Americans at home.

They understood, as too many well-intentioned Americans today do not, that once we compromise the safeguards against domestic tyranny written into our own system of law, no matter how compelling the rationale, we will cease being the nation others once considered worth emulating. We would instead soon resemble the very nations we so confidently set out to “reform” and “enlighten.”

Chiang Kai-shek’s Taiwan, like South Korea and West Germany, demonstrated capitalism’s clear superiority to socialism. Democratic reformer Chiang Ching-kuo’s Taiwan, which witnessed the repeal of martial law and the enfranchisment of “native” Taiwanese, demonstrated that economic reforms are the harbinger of political reforms. Lee Teng-hui’s “New Taiwan” on the other hand, is proof positive that “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”

China’s Founding Father Sun Yat-sen modelled Taiwan’s constitution on our own American Constitution. Acutely aware of China’s susceptibility to backsliding into defacto monarchy, Sun took the added precaution of dividing the ROC government into five, not three branches. Not that it did any good. Lee Teng-hui, whom Newsweek gullibly anointed “Mr. Democracy,” merely nullified all constitutional constraints on his executive powers in four stages over nine years, including the power of impeachment, and now simply does whatever he damned well pleases.

When Lee Teng-hui decided the Taiwan Provincial Government had to go because its mere existence constituted prima facie evidence Taiwan was part of China, the National Assembly stood in his way. What did “Mr. Democracy” do? With the collusion of the separatist Democratic Progressive Party he ordered closed circuit TV cameras installed inside the National Assembly hall to record who voted “the wrong way.” He ordered illegal wiretaps of recalcitrant assemblymen, even his own party’s. He sicced Taiwan’s IRS onto holdouts with guerrilla tax audits. He arranged for triad hoodlums to phone undecided assemblymen to inquire “Do you know where your children are?” He persuaded parents and kin of Assembly members to threaten to disown or shun them. Finally, as a capper, he nullified all village level elections. Thousands of popularly elected officials have since become Lee’s presidential appointees.

Lee Teng-hui is an “elective monarch” who finances his personal dream of a “Republic of Taiwan” with hapless Taiwan taxpayers’ dollars, even though the government’s own surveys show that over 80% of the people oppose Taiwan independence. When Lee made his headline grabbing offer of US$300 million in foreign aid to Kosovo, whom did he consult? No one. Not even his cabinet, let alone the Legislative Yuan, Taiwan’s equivalent of our Congress. With the exception of Lee himself, all 22 million Chinese on Taiwan were taken completely by surprise.

All three major broadcast television stations on Taiwan are owned by Lee’s KMT party machine, as are the two largest English language papers. Dissidents are relegated to cable TV or “pirate radio,” where they survive only by practicing self-censorship. The acidly funny and popular “Dianfu Xinwen” (“Underground News”), a “McLaughlin Group” style panel show was recently forced off the air for making Lee look like a buffoon. .

The Founders adamantly opposed foreign entanglements even when they harbored no doubt whatsoever about the worthiness of sundry foreign lobbyists’ causes. Try to imagine the vehemence of their opposition to so-called Taiwan “independence” when the Taiwan separatist leadership’s commitment to America’s republican ideals is more than just a little suspect?

Americans must summon up the backbone to resist the moral guilt-tripping of the Gauleiters of the New World Order. We must uphold Madison’s wise and principled admonition to exclude “foreign intrigues and foreign partialities,” by staying the hell out of the ongoing Chinese Civil War in the Taiwan Straits in 1999, just as China refrained from siding with either the Union or the Confederacy during the American Civil War in 1861.

As a first generation naturalized American I am all too aware that my patriotism is presumed suspect by many China-haters in Congress simply by virtue of my race and my national origin. Never mind that I am from Taiwan — that didn’t help Lee Wen-ho — and that I currently live in Taiwan. Never mind that my parents also live in Taiwan. Never mind that like Joe Sobran and Jude Wanniski I was a Cold Warrior to the right of Richard Nixon. I know by advocating policies which may appear “soft on communism” red flags will go up in the fevered minds of China Threat theorists determined to “go abroad in search of monsters to destroy.”

I could keep my mouth shut and my head down. But genuine patriotism demands that Americans defend the ideals of our Founding Fathers, and speak up for what is authentically American, and not meekly acquiesce, like “good Germans” or “good Japanese” in the 1930’s, to the mainstream consensus while our nation continues its downward slide into imperial decadence.

America, the “world’s only remaining superpower,” has troops stationed in 144 foreign nations around the globe. Today the sun never sets on the American Empire. Back home meanwhile, Posse Comitatus is a dead letter, and the smart weapons used against Saddam and Milosevic to “make the world safe for democracy” have been used to incinerate non-conformist parishioners of a rural Texas Protestant sect, including two dozen unarmed children. As John Quincy Adams warned, America has become “the dictatress of the world” but is “no longer… the ruler of her own spirit.” Our Founding Fathers’ worst fears have come true.

Americans must categorically reject any attempts by foreign lobbyists, fellow travellers, and domestic politicians in the service or on the payroll of either Taipei or Beijing to draw America into what Washington termed “controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns.” We must do so without hesitation and without apology, because contrary to what is Politically Correct in 1999, unyeilding adherence to James Madison’s “scrupulous impartiality” and “sincere neutrality” is the fullest and most genuine expression of enduring American values. It is late in the day, but not too late to save our republic.