.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}
The Expansionist
Wednesday, April 09, 2014
 
Taiwan, China, and US
The following is the text of a presentation I offered to the Formosa Statehood Movement. I intend to post it to the Expansionist Party website, but there will be a delay in doing so.
+
Cementing the Tie
+
When many people first hear the suggestion that Taiwan should become a State of the Union, their first thought is, "Won't that cause enormous problems with China?" By "China", they mean "Mainland" or "Communist" China. There's another way of thinking about this: that it will bring China and the United States closer, both literally and figuratively.
+
Geographically, Taiwan's accession to the Union would end the uncertainty about its future, not just in the minds of the people of Taiwan, but also in the mind of the government of China. China has a lot of problems. It doesn't need a Taiwan problem on top of all its other problems. The instant Taiwan becomes the 51st State, that instant does Taiwan become one less thing for Beijing to worry about or plan for. No invasion to have to prepare; no risk of an ill-considered attack blowing up into World War III. The government of mainland China can simply put that aside and look for the positives. And there will be plenty of positives to find.
+
Taiwan as part of the United States would become the commercial go-between that the United States needs to sell American goods, including Taiwan-made goods, on the Chinese mainland. Millions of Chinese-speaking Taiwanese are available from whom to recruit salesmen to speak to the ordinary Chinese citizen in his own language about the qualities that make U.S.-manufactured goods, or U.S. services, a good choice. Taiwanese engineers and quality-control officers could make sure that such manufacturing operations as the U.S. conducts on the Chinese mainland meet strict U.S. standards for safety, and conformity with specs. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration would have a ready source of inspectors of pharmaceutical and food plants in China, as would the Consumer Product Safety Commission have inspectors in toy factories and the like. Such Taiwanese inspectors, fluent in Chinese, could converse with the man or woman on the production line to gather what could be crucial information to guarantee that no lead-based paint is used on toys for small children, no food or beverage is contaminated with melamine or watered down as to render its nutritional value below safety levels. (13 infants in China died from malnutrition from that cause.) [Link to include: http://en.wikipedia .org/wiki/ 2008_Chinese_ milk_scandal]
+
Most Americans of Chinese ancestry lose their family's language within two generations, and really aren't interested in learning it as a foreign language to serve in the U.S.-China trade and cultural and diplomatic relationships. Taiwanese either already have the language or are far more likely to be willing to learn another language (like Cantonese) to secure their future.
+
China stands as well to gain substantially from Taiwanese talent scouts, literary agents, and translators, including writers of subtitles and dubbers of voices, who could find worthy cultural materials on the mainland and make them accessible to Americans. At present, the trade in intellectual property is almost wholly one-way, FROM the United States TO mainland China (including Chinese piracy of U.S. films, music, and the like). Surely there must be things of cultural and intellectual value going on in China that the U.S. would like. Think of the enormous demand for entertainment and information posed by U.S. cable systems of hundreds of channels whose schedules are 90% or more just reruns of old syndicated American TV shows, some of them decades old.
+
Running 24 hours a day, a U.S. cable system of 180 channels (not even counting premium channels like HBO and Starz) use up 4,320 hours of programming a day. Multiply that by 365 days, and you see that a 180-channel system uses up 1,576,800 hours of programming every year! Consider as well that if half of that programming were in the form of half-hour shows, that means 788,400 of those hours would actually constitute 1,576,800 separate programs for that half; add to that the other 788,400 hours of hour-long programs and you get 2,365,200 programs each and every year.
+
The U.S. television and film industry can't fill all that time, certainly not at the production costs that obtain in the United States. Might they be able to fill a lot more of it thru production centers in China? Surely so. And there are Chinese acrobats and New Wave rock groups and dancers and circus performers and variety shows, plus martial-arts movies and perhaps even Chinese soap operas that could be shown on some U.S. cable channels. Wouldn't the Chinese government welcome such production jobs (electricians, sound engineers, cameramen, caterers) in China-based American film and TV production facilities, and exports of China's own cultural productions to American audiences? I should think they would.
+
Certainly some extreme nationalists on the mainland would be furious at the idea of China's 'lost province' being permanently put beyond China's sovereign reach. The same people would be extremely uncomfortable with the United States becoming a greater player in East and Southeast Asia. How important are such people and such views in China's policymaking elite?Are the empire-builders who see China as the natural center of the universe —the Middle Kingdom around which all the rest of the world should revolve —mere throwbacks, few in number and scant in influence? Or are they in charge of Chinese policy?
+
Plainly there are people in China who don't want another "American Century". They want the 21st Century to be "the Chinese Century". But plainly those people do NOT presently control policy, because China is so heavily invested in the United States — news reports in March 2009 said that China holds $700 billion in U.S. Treasury bonds — and so deeply affected by U.S. difficulties, that the U.S. Great Recession has caused severe dislocations within China, and even riots by workers of plants shut down because U.S. consumption of Chinese goods went down.
+
Realists in China know, and accept, that China cannot take care of its own people without a constructive relationship with the United States. Some of those realists now also must understand that "beggar thy neighbor" means disaster for China. Stealing millions of jobs from American workers did not produce permanent prosperity for China. It subverted the U.S. economy and contributed to the present near-catastrophe across the world of international trade — of which China is a huge part. When the U.S. hurts, China hurts. When the U.S. prospers, China prospers. Surely that understanding can be popularized across Chinese society — if we can reach Chinese society.
+
The issue then becomes, does it matter, in Communist China, what people in general think? Or are the people so powerless that only the views of the power elite matter?
+
That leads to the further issue of what influence can the United States have, at its present size or with Taiwan added, to promote the right of the people of China to be heard and their concerns heeded?
+
It is a truism of common sense that friends have more influence than have enemies. Criticisms from enemies produce indignant, defensive animus, and may make hostility more entrenched and aggressive, and drive a person, or country, in the opposite direction, to justify whatever is criticized, not accept it as a constructive suggestion of what they would be wise to do.
+
Criticisms from friends, gently issued with the intent of helping, however, may produce changes in the direction suggested. For instance, if someone you detest says, "You are fat and disgusting! You should hide in your house and never come out," you are not likely to see that as incentive to lose weight. But what if a dear friend says, "I'm very worried about you. Your weight has gotten out of control, and can subvert your health, even shorten your life. Why don't you come with me to my gym and see if a moderate exercise program can improve the quality of your life, increase your energy, and help you lose weight, feel better, and look better?"
+
The United States and China are now separated by the largest ocean in the world, geographically. There is also an ocean of difference in our histories and cultures. China is important to the U.S. The U.S. is important to China — and never more than now. Even in the days of horror during WWII, when the U.S. was trying to help China fite off Japan, but couldn't actually do very much within China, good feeling between our two countries didn't matter as much as it does now.
+
Taiwan can be not an irritant that drives the U.S. and China further apart, but an intermediary that brings us closer, latter-day Flying Tigers. It's all in how you see it, and how you present the case to the parties involved.
+
The hawks and empire-builders in Beijing have had their say. Now it's time to reach the Chinese man and woman in the street, the academics, the businessmen, the cultural and economic realists, the moderates who understand that the sun shines on each country independently, and you need not wish foul weather on others to enjoy the sun yourself. China need not resent the success of the United States, especially if the Chinese people can piggyback their future on the prosperity of a great American friend.
+
The United States with Taiwan can make that case better than can the United States without Taiwan. So let's work enthusiastically and without reservation to bring Taiwan into the Union, for a bigger, better, and more effective United States, and a closer and more constructive relationship with China.
+
L. Craig Schoonmaker, Chairman of the Expansionist Party of the United States, Newark, NJ (http://ExpansionistParty.tripod.com)



Links to this post:

Create a Link



<< Home

Powered by Blogger