Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Stop the Chinese Rhetoric

I'm all for democracy in China, but I have to wonder about the timing of President Bush’s calling for major democratic reforms as he was about to land in Beijing on a state visit.

Bad mouthing your host, whether deserved or not, is simply poor etiquette and the U.S. already has enough image problems these days.

If Bush believes China does not meet certain international standards on how it treats its citizens then he should not have gone on the trip. He should have China’s favorite nation trading status revoked by Congress and take other measures, such as stopping the import of Chinese goods until that country decides to adhere to copy write regulations.

But his speech is all par for the course.

Our entire approach to China is a sham. We constantly talk tough then let the Chinese walk all over us. We can’t recognize Taiwan as its own nation, despite the unflinching support that country has always given us, yet we are willing to held defend it against an attack from the mainland.

For two reasons the mainland Chinese government is not going to attack or invade Taiwan. Not today, tomorrow, never.

First, it is a militarily difficult operation. China does not have a large enough navy to pull off an amphibious invasion. Taiwan would suffer grievously from air attacks, but it has a large and qualitatively superior air force so it would exact a high price from China.

But, the primary reason China will not attack is because its government does not want to ruin a good thing. The country is now making a fortune in manufacturing. Any attack on Taiwan would destroy its ability to do business with the rest of the world. Embargoes and sanctions, more so then direct attacks on the factories, would devastate the Chinese economy.

While there is always a threat that a mentally unbalanced Chinese leader could start a war, the odds are not in favor of this taking place.

That is what President Bush should be talking about. He should be telling China’s leader’s that Taiwan is not coming back under the mainland’s control. End of discussion. If China attempts to attack Taiwan we will not only defend it, but stop all trade for the next 20 years. America can live without $39 DVD players until another nation takes China’s place as a cheap manufacturing hub.

Perhaps India.

Democracy will eventually come to mainland China. Not for years, but eventually if business keeps up a middle class will develop and demand more authority.


At 10:59 AM, Blogger Greg said...

One problem I have with the "defend Taiwan at all cost" line is that the country we're purporting to defend doesn't seem so worried. Their defense spending is on a downward slope, they've been free-riding on our pledge to repell and invasion and have short-changed their own defenses. If Taiwan is worried about an invasion it can buy plenty of advanced U.S. weaponry to fend off the attack.

The Cold War is over. Even if the worst case scenarios were realized and China subsumed Taiwan, harm to U.S. interests would likely be minimal. Are there any core U.S. interests threatened by a Chinese invasion of Taiwan? Like you said, they need trade as much as we do - so they won't blockade any main water passages... and if they did, then it would be a navy-on-navy contest in which we'd win handily.

At 11:56 AM, Blogger Doug said...

Taiwan is not worried because it knows the danger of an actual attack is low.


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