Thursday, 20 January 2011

Hu Jintao's U.S. Visit

The Taipei Times' William Lowther yesterday:
"Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) arrived in Washington on Tuesday to find demonstrators outside his bedroom window and a stream of condemnation flowing from Capitol Hill. At the same time, the mainstream media was full of criticism."
Good; no totalitarian leader should ever be allowed to visit the U.S. and enjoy the silencing of any protests against him, or of the regime he stands for, or of criticisms of the policies of that regime.
"The Washington Post condemned China for continuing to “deny its citizens freedom and the rule of law.”
Yes and no. The contingency of that association between freedom and "the rule of law" ought to be brought to light; in support of the requisite principles of a free society, any body of law must be both (a) internally coherent (i.e. non-contradictory), and (b) consistently applied without fear or favour. Yet it is only that latter aspect, consistency of application, which may admit of degrees - the coherence of a body of law is a binary matter; either it is coherent and non-contradictory or it is not. And though the criticism of the PRC on these grounds is just and thoroughly warranted, that it should come from a supporter of contradictory laws in the U.S. such as the Washington Post is ridiculous. Also in yesterday's leader, Lowther wrote:
"Analysts believe that... Obama would reiterate US policy to sell arms to Taiwan. Some analysts also say he would urge Hu to cut back on the number of missiles now threatening Taiwan."
For the PRC to "cut back" on the number of missiles, though it would be a start, would still be nothing more than a limp half-measure and even then an unrealistic one - and, in addition to the intractable nature of the PRC's internal power dynamics, one very salient reason why such a measure is unrealistic is because the U.S. government, especially under the previous and current administrations, has put itself into a position of weakness vis-a-vis its political (not military) competency to project serious force against serious enemies should it need to. Hu Jintao and the future leadership of both the CCP and the PLA know this - and so long as that fact does not change, then the growing short to medium term confidence of the PRC will become increasingly dangerous for the people of East Asia.

In today's leader in the Taipei Times on the Hu visit, Lowther writes:
"...Obama may have told Hu that the US intends to continue selling arms to Taiwan and that Hu would have registered a strong objection, leaving both sides to simply agree to disagree."
That Lowther, and other such reporters and analysts, are forced into speculating on what the President may or may not have said just goes to show the growing political weakness of the U.S. in relation to the PRC. No U.S. President, genuinely and sincerely convinced of the ideals expressed in the Declaration Of Independence and of the necessity for caution by which the U.S. Constitution was drafted, should ever have to fear publicly and openly confronting and condemning a totalitarian thug like Hu.


I continue to put this point time and time again to supporters of Taiwan Independence in relation to U.S. foreign policy - it is in the Democratic party where the PRC is most likely to find its supporters (e.g. the vile Barbara Boxer), whereas the cause of continuing, de facto Taiwanese independence more typically finds support among conservative Republicans. Though the following excerpt from another good Lowther piece does not, of course, prove this point, I think it is probably indicative of how the Taiwan question is viewed across U.S. party lines:
"Republican Representative David Rivera described Taiwan as “a bastion of democracy surrounded by a fortress of tyranny.”

Representative Gerry Connolly, a Democrat, asked if there was any reason to believe that Taiwan was not capable of defending itself in case of an invasion."
There you have it: a show of moral support for the defensive needs of the people of Taiwan from the Republican, but questioning of whether Taiwan really needs help from the Democrat. I am certainly not opposed to criticism of the government in Taipei's defensive procurement policies - not by any means, and I yet maintain that the way Taiwan's military is funded and organized ought to be reformed so as to encourage popular and voluntary support from the public, but for a senior Congressional politician to be so apparently ignorant of Taiwan's defensive circumstances is appalling.


  1. . . . Especially because most of those missiles--some say up to 2,000+--are highly mobile and, if moved out of range, can be moved back within range in a matter of days--if not hours.

    Also, you hit American politics (in all its smoke-but-no-fire) right on the head.

  2. It's an absolute disgrace... Reagan's example in Berlin was only two decades ago, and yet the last few U.S. Presidents (not just Obama) have apparently been terrified of similarly confronting the PRC.

  3. Too much corporate business there to threaten re-election. You know the drill. . . .


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