|Forecasting America's Destiny ... and the World's|
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China and America are both planning major military exercises near Taiwan later in July. The two major military events are:
This all comes on the heels of a report to Congress last month by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission which stated that relations with China are unsatisfactory in many respects, and in particular the historical "One-China" policy, which states that Taiwan is part of China and will be reunited with China, is not working and should be reviewed.
The One China policy is a classic political compromise that's kept the peace between China and America over Taiwan for over 50 years. After the Chinese civil war ended in 1949, with the Nationalist faction escaping to Taiwan, it's been Chinese policy that Taiwan is still part of China, and America's policy that Taiwan will, at a suitable future time, rejoin China as a province. (See Taiwan's Wild Election Battle).
But the USSC report (see excerpts below) says that the entire One China policy is no longer working and has to be reviewed. The report notes that China has been isolating Taiwan internationally and marginalizing Taiwan economically, while appearing to abandon its commitment to a peaceful approach.
If you look carefully, you can almost feel the generational dynamics at work here. China and America are both entering generational crisis periods, with leaders who have no personal memories of the major world wars of the 1940s. As usual during crisis periods, brinkmanship is taking place, leading to increasing risk of conflict on both sides. China is acting too belligerently towards Taiwan; the Committee notices this, and concludes that the the solution is to act belligerently back.
What makes this so extraordinary to watch is that neither side has any choice. Neither China nor America want war with each other, but it's as if China, Taiwan and America are puppets being controlled by some great generational puppetmaster in the sky to move, step by step, towards war.
So the situation is extraordinary, and I can't see any way that it can end in anything but war between America and China. If anyone else can, I'd willing to be educated.
Excerpts from the USCC report to Congress:
Growing Tensions Across the Strait and in Hong Kong China has not offered win-win political solutions to Taiwan and Hong Kong. China has been building missile forces and positioning its military to deter Taiwan from taking political steps Beijing considers unacceptable moves towards independence and to coerce Taiwan to end the island's continued separate status. Further, China is using its political clout to keep Taiwan out of regional and bilateral economic arrangements and to otherwise economically marginalize the island. Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian's recent reelection and Chen's plan for constitutional revision have heightened China's anxiety regarding Taiwan and heightened the near-term prospects for conflict. In Hong Kong, China's National People's Congress has undercut Hong Kong's autonomy and self-governance by its recent unilateral decisions to rule out near-term direct elections for Hong Kong's chief executive and Legislative Council. Moreover, Beijing has engaged in a systemic campaign in recent weeks to intimidate the democracy movement in Hong Kong by depicting its leaders as unpatriotic toward China, directing an unprecedented visit of eight Chinese warships to Hong Kong's harbor, and prohibiting legislative debate on electoral matters in Hong Kong's legislature.
China's recent actions toward Taiwan and Hong Kong call into question its commitments to a peaceful approach toward Taiwan and to preserving Hong Kong's autonomy and self-government. These developments merit a fresh look at U.S. policies in these areas by the Congress and executive branch. In particular, recent developments across the Strait are putting increasing stress on the United States' one China policy, demonstrating the need for a new assessment of this policy that takes into consideration current realities.
Recommendation: Congress should enhance its oversight role in the implementation of the Taiwan Relations Act. Executive branch officials should be invited to consult on intentions and report on actions taken to implement the TRA through the regular committee hearing process of the Congress, thereby allowing for appropriate public debate on these important matters. In this same context, Congress and the administration should conduct a fresh assessment of the one China policy, given the changing realities in China and Taiwan. This should include a review of: