Defending Taiwan, or Attacking China?

Defending Taiwan, or Attacking China?
Bevin Chu
April 28, 2006

Public split over whether US would defend Taiwan
Taipei Times
April 27, 2006

The public is almost evenly split over whether the US would come to Taiwan’s defense if China attacked, an opinion poll suggested yesterday. Political scientist Lo Chih-cheng of Soochow University yesterday said the result showed that the majority of people regard the US as a friendly ally. However, Lo added that this view was at odds with public opinion in the US, as past surveys there on public support for the US sending troops to defend Taiwan averaged at only 30 percent.

Comment: In my previous blog entry, I said that the most striking aspect of this article was the fact that anybody, let alone 52% of the public, expected US “support” should a war break out in the Taiwan Strait.

In this blog entry, I want to comment on another striking aspect of this article, and that is the claim that “the majority of people regard the US [government] as a friendly ally.”

I question this claim. I took part in the post 320 election protests, from the desperate beginning to the bitter end. When the Bush II administration rubber-stamped Chen’s “re-election” instead of doing the right thing and demanding that the election be declared null and void, I experienced first hand the Pan Blue camp’s sense of betrayal at the hands of the US government. Considering how the Pan Blue camp constitutes a 53% majority on Taiwan, the 52% number is highly suspect.

Even more to the point is the Taipei Times’ suggestion that because over half the public believed “the US would come to Taiwan’s defense if China attacked,” this “showed that the majority of people regard the US [government] as a friendly ally.”

The Taipei Times’ faulty premises can be broken down into three parts.

One. The Taipei Times presumes that if the ruling regime on Taiwan were to provoke mainland China so severely that mainland China felt it had no alternative but to intervene, such provocations would amount to a “defense of Taiwan” or a “defense of the ROC.”

I consider such provocations treason against the Chinese nation.

Two. The Taipei Times presumes that if mainland Chinese authorities were to live up to their obligation to defend the territorial integrity of the Chinese nation, they would be “attacking Taiwan,” i.e., committing an act of agression.

I consider such actions on the part of the mainland authorities patriotic acts in defense of the Chinese nation.

Three. The Taipei Times presumes that US government military intervention in such an event, would constitute the act of “a friendly ally.”

I consider such intervention the act of a malevolent neo-colonialist, neo-imperialist aggressor intent on “dividing and conquering” or “dividing and weakening” the Chinese nation.

Finally, Lo Chih-cheng considers the fact that only 30% of the public in the US favors sending troops to “defend Taiwan” evidence of an unfriendly attitude toward Taiwan. Lo considers the 70% of the public in the US who oppose sending troops to “defend Taiwan” to be indifferent to the fate of Taiwan.

I prefer to think of the 70% figure as reassuring evidence that an overwhelming majority of the American public harbors a benevolent attitude toward China. I consider the 70% of the public in the US who oppose sending troops to fight in an unjust war of aggression against China to be American patriots who understand what’s in the common interest of both America and China.

Unlike Lo, I don’t consider the “Taiwanese, not Chinese” glass 7/10 empty. I consider the “American and Chinese” glass 7/10 full.

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