Had a lengthy discussion today about the China/Taiwan issue.
Simple question: Do you support the US militarily backing Taiwan if China invades?
Had a lengthy discussion today about the China/Taiwan issue.
Simple question: Do you support the US militarily backing Taiwan if China invades?
R.I.P One Dollar -Aug 2003-
Ouch this gets so complex here
On one hand we have to help defend democracy and maintain our treaties with Tawian
On the other hand, China is both an emerging giant in the economic sector as well as militarily
Do we really want to risk A) a major conflict with China and B) losing a major market?
I realized many years ago that wars are only fought if they are economically feesable (except for Vietnam, that was just stupid)
So therefore, I say no, there is too much economic gain to lose in defending Tawian
The hotter the heat, the harder the steel, no pressure no diamonds, we compete, we win
We are the next decade of the Washington Redskins
Very interesting topic.
Not only would we lose a major market, but China also holds over $250 billion in accounts receivable. They are also an enormous holder of t-bills and other financing.
Hypothetically, if they were to sell off their t-bill stakes, it would likely cause a US monetary crises because the other huge Asian banks would likely follow suit and in turn our currency would plummet in value.
This is not to mention the potential for world war and/or nukes. China's military is roughly twice as large as ours. And they can draw from a far larger population.
I don't know that letting Taiwan fall to the Chinese would be good, but going in unilaterally wouldn't be good either.
Tough one to call, and way way to complex of an issue. I do not even want to give an opinion because I am pretty ignorant on a majority of the details. We are aligned with China way to much in terms of our economy, and I don't know if we could possibly back Taiwan without destroying out own economy. But then again, China is just as tied to us in terms of growth, so they'll suffer if we do. A really nasty and complex problem.
Carter really blew this one for us.
Instead of recognizing the mainland and declaring support for the "One China" policy, he should've negotiated recognition of PRC as the true China, and the ROC as a separate country. Taiwan was never a part of China, and its indigenous population is ethnically closer to Filipinos than the Chinese. Pity the poor Formosans who were massacred by the Kuomingtan, and now that they've finally regained power through democracy, can't even discuss their de facto status as a sovereign nation without threats of being invaded. The PRC was painted into a corner by US policy - if they relent on Taiwan now they lose face, which is a cardinal sin in the Oriental world.
"It is our true policy to steer clear of entangling alliances with any portion of the foreign world. The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible." George Washington.
"Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations,entangling alliances with none." Thomas Jefferson.
For better or worse, we and China are economically tied together. They hold a lot of our debt and we buy a lot of rubber dog *****.
Fortunately for everyone, China is right now economically a socialist/capitalist economy. Socialsit in that the government retains control of a lot of stuff regarding business, capitalist in that they now make a lot of stuff for the free world.
What they have to get past is the old school commies that still run the government and still subscribe to the one China theory that includes Taiwan. Once the old guys die off, I think things will cool down. Trick is to get to that point.
I'm going there in a couple of weeks. I'll tell them to back off the Taiwan thing
If China attacks Taiwan there's no way that we will do anything. They don't have the ability to attack us across the Ocean... thus it is this "war by proxy" if we do anything.
Sarge has nailed the economics... although. Eventually I imagine China is going to have a problem with the Islamists at some point as well.
Okay, a number of misstatements here...Originally Posted by Riggo-toni
Let's examine Nixon's joint communique of 1972, which stated, "The United States acknowledges that all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China. The United States government does not challenge that position."
As that statement shows, neither Nixon nor the Kuomingtang wanted Taiwanese independence at that time. In 1979, when Carter recognized the PRC, the Kuomingtang still did not want Taiwanese independence. It would have been pretty hard for Carter to declare Taiwan independent when Chiang Ching-Kuo wouldn't even support it.
The reason Taiwan did not become independent in 1979 had nothing to do with Carter and everything to do with the Kuomingtang, who still claimed they governed all of China. This did not change until Taiwan became a democracy and Lee Teng-hui moved the Taiwanese government away from its claims over the mainland.
President Lee was born on Taiwan and was of Hakka descent, as are about 15% of the population on Taiwan. These people are more Chinese than Filipino and in fact migrated to Taiwan primarily after the fall of the Ming Dynasty. 70% of Taiwanese are of Fujianese descent, and the language now known as "Taiwanese" is most similar to the language spoken in Xiamen and other areas of southern Fujian province. These people are also ethnically closer to Chinese than to Filipinos, and almost all of them came to the island after the fall of the Ming Dynasty, where they remained independent from the mainland for almost 50 years before falling to the Qing. About 14% of the population descended from Chinese who came with the Kuomingtang in 1949. Only the remaining 2% are Taiwanese aborigines who are in fact closer to Filipino than Chinese.
The racial divide in Taiwan right now is not between aborigines and Chinese, it is between the "waisheng ren" that came to Taiwan in 1949 (the 14%) and the "bensheng ren" that were in Taiwan already (the Hakka and Fujianese - 85%).
The corner that Taiwan is painted into was not wrought by US policy. Without US support in the waning stages of the Chinese Civil War and Truman's naval patrols of the Taiwan strait, Taiwan would not likely have survived this long. US policy is arguably the only thing that has kept Taiwan alive this long and the only thing keeping it alive right now.
The only reason Taiwan is not now independent is that the Kuomingtang never sought independence during its rule over the island. Western interests in keeping Communist China out of the UN Security Council seat certainly supproted this stance, but it was the delusional idealism of the Kuomingtang, who believed they could one day retake the mainland, that put Taiwan in the limbo it is in now.
Sarge didn't nail the economics. If we were having this discussion 15 years ago he would have, but as of now they're pretty much a capitalist economy. It can be confusing because they have a paltry Chinese-owned private sector. Most of the businesses in China are funded by foreign investment. There is very little in the way of governmentally owned major businesses, and just as few Chinese backed private companies. Regarless, that has nothing to do with why they're capitalist. They're capitalist because they rely heavily on FDI, rely even more heavily on international exports, and they are currently phasing out the remaining aspects of the socialist economy. They're quickly becoming a world player.
As far as the situation with Taiwan goes, Bush kind of shot to hell our chances of remaining neutral. I believe it was only a couple of years ago that he compromised the longtime American position of "we believe in a Chinese unity that is worked out between the two parties" when he publicly said that we would take Taiwan's side militarily if anything were to happen. Hell, we even sent over aircraft carriers when China staged military exercises off the Taiwanese coast. Not that I necessarily disagree, but come on, I mean, way to show them our hand, smart guy...
I don't really know how I would feel if it came down to it. I know how we WOULD react, I just don't know how I would WANT us to react. If you leave out the part about the Chinese's conceivable ability to successfully wage military and economic war on us, then obviously you take Taiwan's side. But China could just be waiting for an excuse to come to blows with us. It's no secret they want to and will eventually challenge us (and India may even be a player in this) for the hegemony. The first step is the replace us as the dominant power in Asia, and that starts with Taiwan. I doubt that the next fish they'd want to fry is the US, but if pressed into it, they may be more willing and able than most would think to take us on.
Overall, I'd say we should just wait and see. Immediate reaction could be catastrophic, and complete inaction could render us powerless against them. Either way, even though it's shadowed by Islamic terrorism now, China will become the major foreign threat of the future. Keep in mind, a hegemony has never really lasted longer than a couple hundred years. We've only been there since after WWII. We really should be looking over our shoulders at China (and India).
It's the ****ing Catalina Wine Mixer...
I only meant the first two lines of Sarge's post.
Congress and others wants to cut all of the "cold war" programs because we're not fighting Russia, but China is still looming down the road, and waiting very patiently. Now that we have pretty much taken up the War on Terror we're tied down right now in the Middle East. I don't think China has the capability to exploit that just right now, but they don't have happy feelings towards us in the long run. If we keep pouring money into the War on Terror and neglect building up Weapons Systems that will help us deal with the Chinese threat we could be screwed. It would be very bad for us if China took Taiwan because we have given them a lot of military technology.
For now China needs us to grow, but that could change in the future.
You know the Chinese have ICBM's, right? You know who gave them that know how, right?Originally Posted by Fergasun
And they already have a problem with islamists in their Western provinces. However, unlike us they go in and merciliessly kill crazies that make problems for them
Uh, that's what I said, with emphasis on the socialist part, although they will still say they are communist if you ask them. Don't fool yourself into thinking that there are no restrictions on businesses that set up there, because there are. What they basically do is call any system that works for them communism. Currently that's capitalism.Originally Posted by Chopper Dave
You need to read up on the Taiwan Defense Act. Read the date.As far as the situation with Taiwan goes, Bush kind of shot to hell our chances of remaining neutral. I believe it was only a couple of years ago that he compromised the longtime American position of "we believe in a Chinese unity that is worked out between the two parties" when he publicly said that we would take Taiwan's side militarily if anything were to happen. Hell, we even sent over aircraft carriers when China staged military exercises off the Taiwanese coast. Not that I necessarily disagree, but come on, I mean, way to show them our hand, smart guy...
And it was actually clinton that sent the carrier group into the Strait of Taiwan.
I know, completely out of character for him to stand up to saber rattling, but it was the one time he actually did something right in that department
Chopper Dave: part of what you've written is not true as I understand the situation--specifically in reference to the financial sector. In a WSJ article I read either yesterday or on Monday, there were several discussions about how the Chinese restrict foreign direct investment into Chinese financial companies (at least of banks) at 25%. So while it might be true that in the retail sector or in various other sectors, there's no cap on foreign direct investment, that's not true when it comes to Chinese Banks (all of which, I believe are either directly or indirectly tied to the government).
That they are restricting this kind of foreign investment is, I think, more telling than th e fact that they are letting people control the businesses. When someone controls the big banks, of which there are three in China (could be wrong about the number), then that person controls the money supply and if war were to break out could freeze the assets and/or domicile the deposits somewhere other than in China--which could pose far reaching financing problems for a sustained war effort.
In any case, I think we all agree that going to war with China, as the fact stand at this point in time, is not likely to happen barring some substantial, material change to each of our economic dependencies.
DjTj: very interesting post.
I am actually taking an international law class related to this issue right now, so here are my thoughts:
On the economic issue ... if China is a capitalist economy, it is one of the most corrupt capitalist economies in the world. It is highly regulated although the government can be bought off, which in some sense, is a form of capitalism.
The people who raise red flags about the Chinese holding our debt are being alarmist in my opinion. If they stopped buying our bonds, the value of Chinese currency would start to inflate, their goods would become more expensive, and it would be a serious hit to their economy. We are the biggest market for their goods, so if trade stopped, their economy would take a huge hit - it's not like we can't make our own cheap crap if we had to. Any kind of economic warfare goes both ways, and since both China and the U.S. have very strong natural resources, we're not going to be trying to starve each other to death.
The Taiwan question, in my mind, is a political and military issue. On the political side, we need to make it clear to China that we will in fact support Taiwan - this will serve to deter any aggressive moves on their part. We also probably need to make it clear to Taiwan that this support is not unconditional - they shouldn't just up and declare independence or fire missiles into China without talking it over with us first. For the United States, the status quo is the best situation, and we should do what we can to keep it that way.
If something happens though, this becomes a military question, and as such, it would be heavily dependent on circumstances. When you say, "China attacks Taiwan" what do you mean exactly?
When China was shelling the outlying islands held by Chiang Kai-Shek during the 50's, the Eisenhower administration threatened nuclear retaliation, and China backed down. When the Chinese fired a few missiles around the outlying islands in 1995, Clinton sent a carrier battle group through the Taiwan Strait. If Chinese aggression takes this form, I would expect the United States to respond with the same kind of resolve as it did before. If the Chinese fire a warning shot, we should respond with a serious show of force.
If we are talking something more serious, it could come in a few forms. First, China might fire a few missiles at military targets in the Taiwanese outlying islands or even Formosa itself. I can't see this happenning unless we chickened out on their first warning shot. A tactical strike of this kind should probably be met with a carrier group setting sail from Guam and immediate ending of all trade with China. Hopefully they back down, but if they continue with their actions, we could move a carrier group into the Taiwan Strait to at least prevent an actual invasion. The Chinese will likely negotiate at that point.
Basically, if an invasion of Taiwan has to proceed in a few steps - tactical strikes, bombing, securing a port, then invasion, that will take long enough for the U.S. Navy to stop it. Right now, the Chinese Navy can not hold a candle to one carrier group, and I can't see them risking all-out war by sinking a U.S. Navy ship, although accidents do happen...
The Chinese could instead go for an all-out surprise attack, D-Day style, but the thinnest part of the Taiwan Strait is about 75 miles across, which is about 3 times the distance from Dover to Calais in the English Channel. An amphibious invasion of Taiwan would be far more difficult than a landing at Normandy. It would also be much harder to keep it secret, because the U.S. has a lot of satellites and spy planes watching the area. The plane that had to crash-land in China in 2001 wasn't lost, it was keeping an eye on coastal Chinese forces. If we saw the Chinese preparing for an invasion, we would definitely start mobilizing some of the Pacific fleet, and we would start asking a lot of questions - at its worst it could end up much like the Cuban Missile Crisis.
As long as we retain naval superiority, I don't think there's much for us to worry about. We just have to stand up to the Chinese if they start making any moves and trust that they're not stupid enough to try to start an all-out war. If they are that stupid, we'll probably be in too deep already anyways, and we probably wouldn't want to write off the Pacific Ocean ...
Overall though, I don't think this is realistically anything to worry about. People love to worry about the rise of India or China, but the reality is that neither of those countries is going to turn into Japan or Germany and try to invade its neighbors - they are both rich in their own natural resources and have never been very interested in expanding their borders beyond a few border disputes in Kashmir and Taiwan. Neither of these countries is going to turn into the USSR either, because as strong as the communist party is in China, it does not seem very interested in spreading its communism to other nations. India and China are both inward-looking countries, which imho makes them far less dangerous than our competitors in the 20th century.
They have very little socialism left in their economy. Your post seemed to me like you thought it was still fairly socialist. If that's not what you meant, sorry about the misunderstanding.Originally Posted by Sarge
And about the aircraft carriers, I'm pretty sure it was Bush, because weren't the Taiwanese elections in 2001? If not, again, sorry.
As far as our position with Taiwan, it was always the stated position that there was no stated position. That doesn't mean that it wasn't on record, but hell, we have invasion plans for Canada on record, that doesn't mean that we're planning on invading them. Bush was the first president to ever state what we would do if China invaded, and he tipped our hand.
It's the ****ing Catalina Wine Mixer...
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