Thursday, 16 June 2011

Dennis Hickey

Was I the only Taiwan blogger who didn't get upset by this Hickey fella? He says he got hate mail: even I've never had that (if you don't count the comments sections here and at other blogs, and the bannings, and the attempt to have my blog removed, and the idle threats of legal action, and the letters against me in the Taipei Times).

I re-read his first letter again, and it seems to me the obvious opinion for a pragmatist on the left to hold (all that jazz about "cooperation" with China - on the environment etc).

It's somewhat amusing (and interesting) to see the anger of so many foreigners on this, as if they really believed that someone like Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama could ever take Taiwan's "freedomanddemocracy" seriously. I think they all knew deep down that Hickey was drawing the (somewhat) correct conclusion from some of the same basic premises they probably hold; and I think there's a partisan slant to it as well because it's amazing how many foreigners in Taiwan are leftists, cheered the election of Obama etc, all while it has been obvious for years now that overt, substantial support for Taiwan and against China was never likely to come from the Left.

Hickey may be just another pragmatist, but his letter did us all (or at least me) a service by allowing us to observe the partial insanity of reaction it generated (e.g. those letters by Don Cropper and Richard Kagan).


  1. Oh, but I dislike Hickey's argument from the non-Left, and consider it unrealistic that better relations would come from the United States backing away on Taiwan. Hickey may be an "expert," but his belief that somehow US relations with China will become even better once US actions in the Western Pacific can be--and are--even further constrained is complete bunk. All there would need for further heightening of tensions, then, would be some contingency elsewhere, and the Chinese will not relent on the East and South China Seas. I don't consider Hickey very realistic at all--unless the United States is willing to allow China to fill the vacuum left after a US retreat. He may be describing the reality of a bunch of broad generalizations that have become truth, but he has no central point beyond that except for it would be utilitarianly (is that a word?) least painful. This is why, if you take a look at my post today, I make Hickey the equivalent of Nietzsche's Last Man. But I certainly wouldn't count anything I've written as hateful. Perhaps he needs a thicker skin as well.

  2. But you are right: most who support Taiwan from the Left can't understand why the Left is often so pussy when it comes to Taiwan in general. Usually, at least from my experience, it gets blamed on other elements of the US government--or the military, of all places. Or Nixon (sure, sure, Nixon deserves it, but Nixon was also in an enormous bind, and he had--puke--Kissinger as his aide, and Nixon was anti-communist from a defeatist period). I most certainly won't defend Nixon, but it was *Carter* who decided to follow through, and it took Reagan to add any real teeth to the TRA. But no, no, it must be the military. Or what Turton has called Bush's war against Islam that distracted the Bush administration from Asia. Idiots.

  3. "I don't consider Hickey very realistic at all--unless the United States is willing to allow China to fill the vacuum left after a US retreat."

    With Comrade Barry running the White House for another four years after the next election, would you bet against it?

  4. Nope, I wouldn't bet against it. But I'd protest the sh*t out of it and be the first to point the finger and condemn after it inevitably proves a complete and total blunder.


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