Friday, March 26, 2004

International Insecurity

It's not that BushCo. were ever all that interested in happenings around the world - except in Iraq - at the best of times. But while being bombarded from all sides by former administration members turned critics and the 9/11 commission, I have to wonder how much attention anyone at the White House (or The Pentagon for that matter, what with all the distractions they are dealing with right now) is paying to Taiwan and China.

Seems that a long-simmering cross-straights fracas is heating up in the wake of contentious and close elections. China is making some rather frightening remarks and nobody in Shrubby's administration has said a word about it. From Reuters:

China, in its strongest statement yet on the political crisis convulsing Taiwan since its controversial election, warned on Friday it would not stand idly by if the situation on the island spirals out of control.

"We will not sit by watching should the post-election situation in Taiwan get out of control, leading to social turmoil, endangering the lives and property of our flesh-and-blood brothers and affecting stability across the Taiwan strait," Beijing's policy-making Taiwan Affairs Office said in a statement.
Reading "official remarks" out of China is an art more than a science, but seemingly subtle statements can carry rather ominous meanings. "Not sit[ting] idly by" sounds perilously close to "we will intervene" to me in Beijing-speak. It's no secret that mainland-China has been looking for a good excuse to "reunite" China for years, yet there was not wide-spread reporting on who might be behind the "assassination attempt" on the current and re-elected President Chen Shui-bian. It would seem to have been the perfect "Sarajevo incident" regardless of the outcome for China to use to step in to "help" out their "flesh-and-blood brothers."

Shortly after the vote, Beijing condemned Chen for holding the island's first referendum in tandem with the presidential vote, but said only that it was closely monitoring post-election developments. On Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry stressed that no matter who won, Taiwan belonged to China.
The repercussions, should China intervene in Taiwan, are immense. Distracted by other matters and a quagmire in the Middle East, would BushCo. honor our military commitments to Taiwan? If we did, where would the troops come from. If we refuse to draw down troops from Iraq to help Taiwan, would we send in units too small to be of real help? Would China use non-conventional weapons if the US were to "interfere?" What then? Would BushCo., ever eager to try out the latest and greatest weapons systems, retaliate? With what type weapons?

The potential for this situation to spiral out of control is high. The amount of attention being paid to it by the current squatters in the White House is miniscule as judged by public remarks and the amount of energy being spent on launching ad hominem attacks on Richard Clarke.

Feeling warm and fuzzy yet?

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