A Slap heard across the Pacific

A Slap heard across the Pacific
The US Hegemon disciplines its Unruly Taiwan Puppet
Bevin Chu
March 14, 2006

You’ve heard of “the shot heard around the world?” Well now listen to “the slap heard across the Pacific.”

On Thursday March 3, 2006, the Bush administration gave “President” Chen Shui-bian a slap across the face so hard and so loud it was heard across the Pacific.

Winston Churchill once said, “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”

Paraphrasing Churchill, “Never in the field of international relations was so hard a slap delivered by so powerful a hegemon to so unruly a puppet.”

Let’s look at what happened.

The Slap

Wednesday March 3, 2006
Statement by Adam Ereli, Deputy Spokesman, U.S. Department of State
Senior Taiwan Officials’ Comments On National Unification Council

‘We have seen reports that senior Taiwan officials have said, with respect to the National Unification Council, that there is no distinction between “abolish” and “ceasing activity” and that the effect of Taiwan’s action earlier this week was to abolish the Council. We have been informed, however, that the reports misquoted Taiwan officials.’

‘We expect the Taiwan authorities publicly to correct the record and unambiguously affirm that the February 27 announcement did not abolish the National Unification Council, did not change the status quo, and that the assurances remain in effect. Our understanding from the authorities in Taiwan was that the action Taiwan took on February 27 was deliberately designed not to change the status quo, as Chen Shui-bian made clear in his 7-point statement.’

Whaaap!

In case you’re still wondering just exactly when the US hegemon gave its unruly puppet “President” Chen Shui-bian the back of its hand, that was it.

Ereli concludes.

‘Abrogating an assurance would be changing the status quo, and that would be contrary to that understanding. We believe the maintenance of Taiwan’s assurances is critical to preservation of the status quo. Our firm policy is that there should be no unilateral change in the status quo, as we have said many times.’

What just happened?

What just happened was that Taiwan’s ostensible “guardian,” i.e., “one responsible for the care and management of an incompetent or a minor,” was forced to publicly discipline its willfully disobedient ward, the pro independence Pan Green “Taiwan authorities.”

What happened seldom happens in international relations, certainly not between “friendly,” never mind “allied” regimes. Such a public scene seldom happens for the simple reason that both the hegemon and puppet are usually content to read their lines, and not reckless enough to begin ad libbing.

What happened was that both the guardian, George W. Bush, and the ward, Chen Shui-bian, both decided one after the other to depart from the script and begin ad libbing.

George W. Bush decided to ad lib on April 25, 2001, during an interview with ABC’s Good Morning America, when he said “Yes, we do [have an obligation to defend Taiwan], and the Chinese must understand that,” and added for good measure that the United States would do “whatever it took to help Taiwan defend herself.”

Since then, Chen Shui-bian, the “Son of Taiwan,” has been treating the Commander in Chief of the World’s Only Remaining Superpower as his patsy, and American GIs as the Taiwan independence movement’s toy soldiers.

The slap heard across the Pacific was delivered by Adam Ereli, Deputy Spokesman for the State Department, as George W. Bush’s belated punishment for Chen’s impertinence.

The slap heard across the Pacific was not delivered by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, or by Deputy Secretary of State Robert B. Zoellick, or by Under Secretary for Political Affairs R. Nicholas Burns, or by Under Secretary for Economic, Business, and Agricultural Affairs Josette S. Shiner, or by Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Robert Joseph, or by Under Secretary for Management Henrietta H. Fiore, or by Under Secretary for Global Affairs Paula J. Dobriansky, or by Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Karen Hughes, or even by Counselor of the Department Dr. Philip D. Zelikow.

The slap heard across the Pacific was deliberately delivered by a mere “Deputy Spokesman” to remind the “Son of Taiwan” what his status is relative to the “Leader of the Free World.”

Readers accustomed to speaking and writing in plain English, who are not versed in the language of diplomacy may have missed the significance of the shockingly brusque language. For professional diplomats to use such language is unheard of, except when delivering an ultimatum to an enemy nation.

The Language of Diplomacy

The language of diplomacy is the language of nuances. As Paul Sharp, a British-born political scientist at the University of Minnesota says:

“I think it’s not so much that we are all trapped in our cultural prisons and therefore are unable to reach agreement with each other. Because very often countries, when they want to reach agreement, find these sorts of obstacles no problem at all and they work their way through. There’s two dangers. One is that international politics, despite what our governments say, is still power politics. So countries are maneuvering for advantage over each other and will exploit language nuances at times to gain advantage. But, I would say more importantly than that, the real danger is when countries think they have reached an agreement. They go away thinking that they’ve agreed to something, they think that the other side has the same conception of the agreement, and then there’s regrets down the line.”

Sharp is of course referring to honest misunderstandings.

The National Reunification Council fiasco, was anything but an honest misunderstanding. The National Reunification Council fiasco was a dishonest misunderstanding. The Chen regime exploited “language nuances” to get a leg up on the Pan Blue majority on Taiwan and the CCP on the Chinese mainland.

The Chen regime did this by willfully and knowingly deceiving the Bush administration, leaving it with the impression that Taipei and Washington had reached an agreement, and that both sides had the same conception of the agreement.

Let’s review the State Department’s diplomatic, correction, not so diplomatic language and see what the Bush administration really said.

Diplomatic Language: “We expect the Taiwan authorities publicly to correct the record and unambiguously affirm that the February 27 announcement did not abolish the National Unification Council, did not change the status quo, and that the assurances remain in effect.”

Plain English: When we say we “expect” you to correct the record, we don’t mean we’d really appreciate it if you could clear up this troublesome matter at your earliest convenience. We mean, you had damn well better explain yourself, now! When we refer to you as “the Taiwan authorities” we are telling you in no uncertain terms that you are not a sovereign and independent nation as you claim, but merely what Beijing insists on calling you, a local authority of China, i.e., “the Taiwan authorities.” The expression Beijing uses being “Tai wan dang ju.” When we say “unambiguously” we mean no more goddamned word games. Don’t even think about jerking us around again. We’ve had it with you.

Diplomatic Language: “Our understanding from the authorities in Taiwan was that the action Taiwan took on February 27 was deliberately designed not to change the status quo, as Chen Shui-bian made clear in his 7-point statement.”

Plain English: When we say “our understanding from the authorities in Taiwan was … not to change the status quo,” we mean you looked us straight in the face and lied to us. When we refer to you as “Chen Shui-bian,” not “President Chen Shui-bian,” not even “Mr. Chen Shui-bian,” we are letting you know in no uncertain terms that you had better remember who the hell you are and what your place is in the pecking order.

See:
The Taiwan Tail Wags the American Dog

The Hegemon and the Puppet

Make no mistake about it, America’s Benevolent Global Hegemonists and Taiwan’s Quisling nomenklatura have long been using each other to get what they want, at China’s expense.

Benevolent Global Hegemonists have been using Taiwan’s Quisling nomenklatura to keep China artificially divided and strategically weakened. They use Taiwan’s Quisling nomenklatura to “contain” the alleged “China Threat” and “Yellow Peril.” The fact that there is no China Threat or Yellow Peril is beside the point. The point is to win Rudyard Kipling’s Great Game of Nations, on Zbigniew Brzezinski’s Grand Chessboard, and any pretext that gives them an edge will do.

Taiwan’s Quisling nomenklatura meanwhile, have been hiding behind the Benevolent Global Hegemonists’ skirts as they engage in “creeping independence” from China. They have calculated that America’s Benevolent Global Hegemonists are such slaves to their habitual hatred of China, and harbor such permanent, inveterate antipathies toward China, they will put up with all sorts of exasperating antics on the part of Taiwan’s Quisling nomenklatura as long as doing so enables them to keep China down.

The Benevolent Global Hegemonists however, expect Taiwan’s Quisling nomenklatura to remember who’s who. The Benevolent Global Hegemonists’ overarching premise is:

I’m the hegemon. You’re the puppet. You take your marching orders from me. Yes, of course we’re putting on a show for the benefit of Chinese reunificationists on the mainland and on Taiwan. Yes, of course we’re running a good cop/bad cop routine for the benefit of the CCP in Beijing and the KMT led Pan Blue democratic majority on Taiwan. Yes, of course, I want you to make trouble for China and prevent China from reunifying peacefully along the lines of Germany. But only when I say so. I decide when you take action. I decide what action you take. Not you. Who the hell are you? You just make sure you keep up your protection payments, er, follow through on buying the weapons you agreed to take off my hands. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll help you out when the time comes. Got it?

Taiwan independence Quislings, during heated confrontations with mainland China and the Pan Blue opposition, are in the habit of puffing out their chests and loudly proclaiming “Tai wan ren yao zun yan!” (Taiwanese demand to be treated with dignity!), “Tai wan yao dui deng!” (Taiwan demands equal status!), and the one that always makes me shake my head, “Tai wan you xian!” (Taiwan uber alles!/Taiwan above all!).

What Taiwan independence Quislings demand is one thing. What they got was something else altogether.

What they got was:

Whaaap!

The slap heard across the Pacific.

The Gap leading to the Slap

What led up to the slap heard across the Pacific?

To understand what led up to the slap heard across the Pacific, attune yourself to the “language nuances” while you read the following daily press briefing held at the State Department the day before, on March 2.

Thursday March 2, 2006
Statement by Adam Ereli, Deputy Spokesman, U.S. Department of State
Daily Press Briefing
Comments Regarding the Status of the National Unification Council

Question: Sorry. I have one question about Taiwan. After the U.S. expressed a certain level of relief or a satisfaction about Taiwan’s authority, not abolishing the Unification Council. Some officials in Taiwan stated that there’s no difference between abolish and cease to function. The reality is the Council is terminated and President Chen hardly made any compromise. He still did what he said he would do. So is there any gap between the U.S. understanding and Taiwanese understanding about the wording in the final outcome?

Mr. Ereli: No. There’s no — there shouldn’t be any gap or difference of opinion here. President Chen’s assurances were quite clear that the NUC had not been abolished. We’ve seen the reports of comments attributed to other party officials. We’ve been informed by the Taiwanese that these officials have been misquoted and the reports are not accurate. And it is our understanding from the authorities in Taiwan that the action they took on February 27th was deliberately designed not to change the status quo, and that was made clear in a statement by President Chen and that — We have every confidence and assurance that President Chen — the statements made by President Chen are reflective of his policy and his party’s policy.

Question: And have you reached out then to express your displeasure about his cabinet members or officials to have a statement like that?

Mr. Ereli: We think that the statements and assurances of the president are — as I said, reflect the policy and position of the government and those in the president’s party.

As you can see, the Chen regime might have gotten away with it, except that Presidential Office Secretary-General Chen Tang-shan and National Security Council Secretary-General Chiu Yi-jen couldn’t resist gloating about their “triumph” to Taiwan independence True Believers, assuring them that “cease to function” was the same as “abolishing” the National Unification Council and National Unification Guidelines. These undisciplined loudmouths, who are Taiwan’s counterparts to Australia’s resident fishwife, Pauline Hanson, really don’t get that they are living in the Information Age, the Age of the Internet.

Needless to day, word quickly got back to the State Department and the White House, and the Bush administration went through the roof.

According to a March 5, 2006 Central News Agency report entitled “US academic warns about US frustration over NUC”:

Some people in Taiwan are too carried away with what they consider a “victory” … and risk damaging an understanding between Washington and Taipei … a US expert in cross-strait issues said on Friday.

“When the US negotiated the language used in President Chen’s seven-point statement, it obviously felt that, whatever the nuances of the Chinese-language version, the ambiguity of the English permitted the interpretation that the NUC and Guidelines had not been abolished,” said Alan Romberg, director of East Asian Studies at the Henry L. Stimson Center.

“Since then, however, some people in Taipei have trumpeted their `victory’ too loudly, even to the point of seeming to equate `cease to function’ and `abolish.’ The impression among many in Washington is that there has been a breach of faith and that Taipei’s claim of `maintaining the status quo’ rings hollow. Some people in Taipei have trumpeted their `victory’ too loudly.”

Chen announced last Monday that the NUC would “cease to function” and the unification guidelines would “cease to apply,” a move which he insisted “does not involve changing the status quo.” The announcement came nearly one month after Chen proposed that the country should seriously consider “abolishing” the council and guidelines. Not “abolishing” the NUC and guidelines was one of the promises that Chen made in his inaugural addresses of 2000 and 2004.

The US has repeatedly emphasized that it takes those assurances seriously and that it opposes any unilateral change in the cross-strait status quo. In an immediate reaction to Chen’s announcement, US State Department Deputy Spokesman Adam Ereli said the US understanding of the meaning of ceasing the NUC’s function is that “it has not been abolished. It’s been frozen.” However, there have been reports quoting senior officials in Taiwan as saying that there is no distinction between “abolish” and “cease to function” and that the effect of Taiwan’s action earlier this week was to abolish the NUC.

Although informed that the officials were misquoted, Ereli issued a rare statement in written form on Thursday … The statement … has revealed an “underlying level of US frustration” in its dealings with Taiwan over the NUC episode … “Any further statements from Taipei on this or other cross-strait issues will be very closely scrutinized.”

Independence, Dignity, and Equality

Once the State Department and the White House got wise to the devious little word game the Chen regime was running on the World’s Only Remaining Superpower, the Bush administration wasted no time “reaching out to express its displeasure,” and to give its puppet a hard, and loud slap in the face.

Taiwan independence Quislings insist that they must win political independence in order to experience dignity and equality.

One has to wonder, is this the “independence, dignity, and equality” Taiwan independence Quislings demand?

Is this the “independence, dignity, and equality” Taiwan independence Quislings have settled for?

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