Monday, 5 April 2010

Robinson, VDH, Arquilla & The Taiwan Strait

Again with Victor Davis Hanson - Peter Robinson, over at National Review, has another interview with him but this time VDH is joined by John Arquilla, a professor of defense analysis for the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. The subject of the interview is how the U.S. ought to prepare for wars both now and in the future. Segments three and five of the interview are particularly relevant to me as they discuss the Taiwan Strait laced with new mines and Chinese subs firing new kinds of torpedos and so on. There were several things I noticed in this interview that were of some interest to me.

Firstly, Arquilla pointed to the operation of what would be Chinese nationalists of some stripe or another in fomenting a revolution on the island prior to the use of any military assets. Could those "netizens", as J.Michael Cole so disparagingly referred to them, calling for the assassination of President Ma count as such a group? Is infiltration of the Democratic Progressive Party and the wider independence movement a possibility? Such things may or may not be happening, and for sure, I wouldn't want to see a party for the revolution about to kick off with some idiot eyeing up military assets like a kid in a fireworks shop. Yet at the same time, I will not allow the wider context to recede from view - the scorecard of who will get to control Taiwan in the future, totalitarian Beijing or democratic Taipei - is only a proxy for the more important issue of whether I get to live under some resemblance of freedom or not. The assumption that democratic Taipei will remain in control of Taiwan for the forseeable future does not necessarily mean that I will get to live in freedom. For one thing I am sure about is that the habit of Taiwanese administrations to imitate the imbecile policies of western governments (the instituting of a nationalized education system, the central bank monopoly over currency, a national health insurance scheme, the outlawing of private firearms ownership and so on) are destructive of individual freedom. I've said it before and I'll say it again - Beijing is not the only threat to freedom on this island. Nevertheless, I have no doubt that here in Taiwan we - or those of us who value our individual freedom - must be prepared to pay for the military and other assets necessary to resisting an attempt by the Chinese to overrun Taiwan.

Another aspect of the interview I found interesting was the way in which Robinson seemed to be trying to tease out some form of disagreement between Arquilla and Hanson and yet there didn't seem to be much of that at all other than Hanson putting Robinson's questions back into a political context. So although Arquilla sounds an opimistic note in segment five with his insistence that he has converted the current cohort of naval captains and majors to his philosophy of "small and many" rather than "large and few", it is countered by Hanson's insistence that any major changes in naval policy are politically untenable under the current U.S. administration. Speaking for myself, I hope that the Chinese have, and continue to have doubts about just what this Obama guy is capable of. And we know that Obama is a fucking cunt. War has not disappeared and it will come again. This is a frightening time to be alive if you have a brain in your head.

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