NeoCon on Taiwan’s election

Written by John R. Bolton a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Bolton on Ma’s victory

Ma’s strong support for closer economic ties with China reflects the widely held expectation that such ties will improve Taiwan’s economic position. Moreover, in pursuit of those ties, he will downplay Taiwan’s political challenge to China, not because, as many Europeans and Americans mistakenly believe, he ultimately seeks to lay the basis for reunification, but because he believes that enhancing Taiwan’s economic strength will lead to increased political strength for whatever negotiations come later with China. That is entirely sensible. An economically weaker Taiwan is hardly well-positioned to stand up to the rapidly growing Chinese economy.

On recognizing Taiwan as a sovereign state,

Recognition would bring stability and certainty, thus actually lowering the risks that Beijing will misinterpret the U.S. position and threaten or actually commence military action to regain Taiwan. Extending diplomatic recognition would no more prejudice the U.S.’ “one China” policy (itself an exercise in confusion and ambiguity) or the ultimate issue of reunification than did U.S. recognition of the two Germanys during the Cold War.

Read the whole thing

umm… I am all for peaceful independence, but…
Wouldn’t America’s support for Taiwanese independence encourage Taiwan to amendment the constitution and declare de jure independence from China and subsequently trigger Anti-Secession Law of the People’s Republic of China. In such an event, at best, PRC leader would refuses to act non-peacefully against Taiwan and be removed from office causing a power vacuum and struggle, at worst military invasion against Taiwan follow by an American-Japanese military intervention leading to NUCLEAR WAR?!?!?!?!?!?!

NeoCons, haven’t they got the world in enough trouble?

Why is Taiwan so desperate to get into the United Nations?

I met a couple of politically opinionated people tonight and had intense political discussions. During our conversation about how Taiwanese culture were susceptible to patriarchialism, i made an interesting pitch. I asked, is Taiwanese desire to be recognized by the United Nations a manifestation of Taiwan’s patriarchal trait?

In Taiwan, family with father at its center is perhaps the strongest social institution. parents invest heavily in their children in return for obedience. Political, people respect authority (police, teachers and government) and looks to the government to solve their problems. Is Taiwan’s desperate desire to be accepted as a member of the United Nations an extension of that culture trait? Are the Taiwanese trying to be an accepted child to the international father figure?

It is somehow reveling that the pursuit for UN recognition is an agenda that is at the heart of the Taiwanese independent movement, which by there nature is contradictory. Why is it the that the triumph of independence rely on others to consent? That just defeats the purpose. The only way to reconcile independence and peer recognition is to see it as an international legal issue, but thats just silly its like saying international law worth something.

International law really don’t mean much, an UN membership does not provide better trade condition, nor will membership prevent foreign aggression (just ask Iraq, Serbia, and any states that has been victim of illegal military interventions). Whats the big deal? Why is Taiwan spending millions of taxpayers money in its doomed pursue of an UN membership that really yield no real benefit at all. Is Taiwan’s patriarchialism really manifested diplomatically?

Furthermore, is the pro-China radicalist’s desire to reunify/realign Taiwan with mainland China and a small advocate group’s push for Taiwan to become America’s 51st state also base on patriarchy mentality?

Is this experience unique to Taiwan? To Confucius society like Japan and Korea?

Base on my limited knowledge of those two society, Both Japan and Korea had in significant part of their history been satellite states, subordinate them self to the most powerful state in their sphere. Before the arrival of the European powers in 19 century, Japan and Korea were tireless in their effort to learn the latest trends and fashions in art, clothes, literature, religion, politics and philosophy from their Chinese parent state. And after the Europeans defeated the Chinese, Japan quickly switch its target of imitation and import anything that is Western (including colonialism) and tried very hard to be recognized by the new powers. Ian Buruma one of my favorite writer of culture wrote a very insightful report on Japan’s satellite mentality.

So, does this mean, this phenomenon is unique to cultures that had been expose to Confucianism? Or is this just a universal weak state strategy/mentality. When the Australians were given a chance to sever its symbolic subordinative relationship with the British Crown, more than 55% voted “no”to the 1999 Australian republic referendum.

I am not a train sociologist, but a quick google using relevant key words turn up with this:

From Gordon J. Schochet “Patriarchalism, Politics and Mass Attitudes in Stuart EnglandThe Historical Journal

“It is increasingly becoming a commonplace to assert that non-political activities engaged in during childhood play determinative roles in shaping individuals’ attitudes toward and perceptions of the political order. A large part of the early “political socialization”, as it is now called, takes place within the family. which in the words of one commentator, “incubates the political man”, whether or not there is a conscious attempt to inculcate political beliefs. As T. D. Weldom remarked, “Basic political creeds may not be imbibed… with mother’s milk: but children are none the less indoctrinated in practically every other day.” This socialization plus later experiences (including reading, conversations, and direct encounters with government) will help to implant notions of political legitimacy; that is, the grounds on which a political authority is held to be entitled to rule.”

Does this mean, my hunch is good?

But, i also find a note of caution from Gary G. Hamilton “Patriarchalism in imperial China and Western EuropeTheory and Society

“…Weber’s typology of domination – the cluster of patriarchalism, charisma, and law – does not fit Chinese history as it does European history.”

Atheist on Obama’s March 18th speech

Critical atheist Christopher Hitchens, the author of “God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.”

It’s been more than a month since I began warning Sen. Barack Obama that he would become answerable for his revolting choice of a family priest. But never mind that; the astonishing thing is that it’s at least 11 months since he himself has known precisely the same thing. “If Barack gets past the primary,” said the Rev. Jeremiah Wright to the New York Times in April of last year, “he might have to publicly distance himself from me. I said it to Barack personally, and he said yeah, that might have to happen.” Pause just for a moment, if only to admire the sheer calculating self-confidence of this. Sen. Obama has long known perfectly well, in other words, that he’d one day have to put some daylight between himself and a bigmouth Farrakhan fan. But he felt he needed his South Side Chicago “base” in the meantime. So he coldly decided to double-cross that bridge when he came to it. And now we are all supposed to marvel at the silky success of the maneuver.

You often hear it said, of some political or other opportunist, that he would sell his own grandmother if it would suit his interests. But you seldom, if ever, see this notorious transaction actually being performed, which is why I am slightly surprised that Obama got away with it so easily. (Yet why do I say I am surprised? He still gets away with absolutely everything.)

Read the rest.

Tolerating atheist Sam Harris, the author of “The End of Faith” and “Letter to a Christian Nation.”

Obama was surely wise not to mention that Christianity was, without question, the great enabler of slavery in this country. The Confederate soldiers who eagerly laid down their lives at three times the rate of Union men, for the pleasure of keeping blacks in bondage and using them as farm equipment, did so with the conscious understanding that they were doing the Lord’s work. After Reconstruction, religion united Southern whites in their racist hatred and the black community in its squalor–inuring men and women on both sides to injustice far more efficiently than it inspired them to overcome it…

…Despite all that he does not and cannot say, Obama’s candidacy is genuinely thrilling: his heart is clearly in the right place; he is an order of magnitude more intelligent than the current occupant of the Oval Office; and he still stands a decent chance of becoming the next President of the United States. His election in November really would be a triumph of hope.

But Obama’s candidacy is also depressing, for it demonstrates that even a person of the greatest candor and eloquence must still claim to believe the unbelievable in order to have a political career in this country. We may be ready for the audacity of hope. Will we ever be ready for the audacity of reason?

Read the rest.

Most accurate reporting on Taiwan’s election by a foreign media

I have scan the web for sound analysis of Taiwan’s recent election, but the Economist was the best i seen so far.

If only the Economist did not endorse George Bush in 2000 and advocate for the invasion of Iraq in 2003, I would have had more praises for the mostly excellent weekly.

Scion of a KMT family, Harvard-educated lawyer and a former mayor of Taipei, Mr Ma, 57, had always been marked for the highest office, and the KMT’s famously ruthless machine did everything to get him there. Yet more than anything, he was helped by the DPP. Mr Chen had won the presidency in 2000 by articulating the grievances of native Taiwanese whose voices had long been stifled by the KMT, a party historically dominated by mainlanders who had fought—and eventually lost—the civil war with the Chinese Communists. Mr Chen emphasised a new Taiwanese identity.

Yet Mr Chen soon appeared to insist on this identity at the expense of anything else. His agitation for formal Taiwanese independence riled not just China, but the United States, Taiwan’s protector. Under Mr Chen, economic initiatives always seemed to play second fiddle, and even then, DPP forces sounded discordant. Charges of corruption spread to Mr Chen’s family and close circle, which in the campaign did Mr Hsieh no favours.

The DPP’s mudslinging during the presidential election seemed to be final confirmation that the DPP, once a beacon of change and moral authority, had lost its way. Even in the DPP stronghold in the southern part of the island, Mr Ma made stunning headway, winning the city of Kaohsiung, Mr Hsieh’s political base. Perhaps Mr Chen, in one respect, had done too well in his fight for a Taiwanese identity. For while the DPP played up the politics of ethnic division between mainlanders and islanders—insinuating that Mr Ma would sell Taiwan out to China—the KMT’s candidate showed that it was possible to campaign as if the divisions had been healed: we are all Taiwanese now.

Read the rest.

Why Vote when it wont affect the outcome?

Just voted today in Taiwan’s presidential election, why did i vote when i know perfectly well voting wont effect the outcome of the election?

According to a research cited by Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt, “Of the more than 16,000 Congressional elections, in which many more people vote, only one election in the past 100 years – a 1910 race in Buffalo – was decided by a single vote.” and as they correctly argue the closer the election is the more likely the winner will be decided by a lawsuit. therefore they add people who spent the effort to cast their vote are properly “not very bright and therefore wrongly believe that [they] will affect the outcome.”

Although i mostly agree with their argument, i do want to add a few point.

In a presidential election, while the candidate with the most votes wins the election, the margin of his/her victory will have an effect on how powerful his/her administration may be. The larger the margin is in each individual electoral districts will have an influence on how much the congressperson from those districts will cooperate (or antagonize) with the president on issues the president campaigned on.

For example, a congressperson is unlikely to vote against a pro-choice bill if the his/her district voted heavily in favor of a president who ran on a pro-choice campaign platform, because the presidents victory signals a pro-choice majority in the district.

Furthermore, the act of voting in a group, as i did today with my family is not a bad way to encourage and make sure those people in the group actually go out and vote. Its an excise of peer pressure and cheater detection.

Are these sufficient reason for an rationally thinking economist to vote? I don’t know, properly not, lol.

A Chinese Propaganda on Tibet

I am not a historian, I am not going to dispute the “facts” stated in this video.
Nor will i defend the now indefensible European imperialism, Japanese imperialism and Han-Chinese imperialism of the past.
(yes China was and still is an empire forge together by conquest over neighbouring nations)

I just have one thing to remind viewers,

If there is only one moral principle that is universally share among all people on earth, it would be freedom. As demonstrated by the fall of Soviet Union, application of democratic governance by all cultures and voice of oppressed people, the principle of freedom is as true to the heart of man and woman as it was the day American Declaration of Independence was written. All other moral principle that supposedly legitimise Beijing’s rule over Tibet come second to the principle of freedom and self determination. Set Tibet free.

And, if Dalai Lama’s regime was so awful, and Chinese rule is great, then there is nothing Beijing need to worry.

So, let the people of Tibet and all oppressed people of the world decide freely how they want to live their life and how they want to be governed, if at all.

UPDATE: Found this analysis on how Beijing strategies against Dalai Lama and Tibet.

By linking the Dalai Lama to the unrest—which he opposes (and the Chinese know he opposes)—the Chinese are forcing the Dalai Lama either to repudiate the Tibetan militants and split the emigre Tibetan movement, or endorse the insurrection and permit the Chinese to portray him as an impotent captive of extremist forces.

For those unfamiliar with the Chinese pattern of denunciation, polarization, division, and destruction this is a classic tactic–call it Police State 101–intended to isolate the target of a purge by forcing him to denounce his associates—or force the target to incriminate himself by not forswearing alliance with a vulnerable, isolated, and discredited element that the Chinese government is about to land on like a ton of bricks. […]

The most immediate result of Tibetan militancy will be to unite the Chinese and isolate the moderates on the Tibetan side, while undermining the political standing of Tibet’s most effective political figure, the Dalai Lama, as spokesman for a unified, internationally popular political and diplomatic movement.

That’s bad politics and dumb tactics…and it’s exactly what the Chinese have been trying to accomplish for the last five decades.

The worst case is that the Tibetan unrest and toothless Western censure unite Chinese elite and Chinese public opinion in favor of another one of those major security actions against Tibet’s isolated people and fragile institutions that seem to happen every twenty years.

This one might end up destroying the Dalai Lama’s authority as a leader, encourage the Chinese to further interfere in Tibetan politics and culture by aggressively inserting itself into the search for the next reincarnation, split Tibetan Bhuddism between a PRC-sponsored Dalai Lama in Lhasa and an untested child in Dharamsala, redefine the emigres as a collection of secular, angry–and vulnerable–dissidents, and put the Tibetan regions securely under Beijing’s thumb for another generation.

That’s a potential win big enough to compensate for some embarrassment at the Olympics.