The "Duh" Awakening of the US State Department on China and Taiwan

  Previous  |  Next  

Saturday December 11, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

Those of us who watch Taiwan-US-China Relations closely are mildly amused at what we call the slow "Duh" awakening of the US State Department. What is the Duh awakening? The Duh awakening is observed in the past ten years of the US dealing with China with a misguided policy formulated on wishful thinking and fantasies instead of experience; US policy is influenced by panda-hugger opportunists who search for a gravy train in the lucrative markets of China.

Remember how for eight years (2000 to 2008) we had to endure all the pundits saying that the real problem in the triangle of US/China/and Taiwan relations was the irascible nature of Chen Shui-bian? How Chen's insistence that Taiwan have recognition of its dignity, space, identity and nationhood was too challenging? Chen's insistence on Taiwan's rights was supposedly the fly in the ointment? The pundits had their ready made scapegoat in Chen.

Then in 2008, Ma Ying-joke, or Ma Ying-jeou was elected and the pundits cheered. Ma the Placator immediately did what the pundits said needed to be done. Ma began his "policy to defuse" the troubles in the Taiwan Strait. Now that China was not irritated by the irascible Chen, China could show its true face of its so-called "peaceful rising." China would help in restoring peace in Asia; China would be a responsible player. Well for two and a half years we have had Ma bowing and scraping to China and doing everything that the pundits said was necessary. Here comes the Duh experience.

After two and a half years even a blind man can see that the problem in the triangle of US/China and Taiwan relations was never Chen Shui-bian; the real problem is, was, and continues to be the hegemonic desires of China and the wishful thinking of the State Department that it would go away if only everyone joined in feeding the gorilla.

Has China helped with containing the rogue state of North Korea? No. Just recently a South Korean corvette was sent to the bottom of the sea in what in any other situation would be called an act of war. Did China chastise North Korea etc? Duh. North Korea is China's pawn, its bargaining chip. Duh.

Then there was the recent assertion by China that the South China Sea was its Mare Nostrum. To put it mildly, this not only alarmed Vietnam but also all the other nations in that area. To follow up, China in true hegemonic fashion said that on this problem, it wanted to deal with each of these states individually and not collectively. Was this Chinas peaceful rising where the only flaw in the ointment was Chen Shui-bian on Taiwan? Duh.

It is amusing to see the pundits now falling all over themselves not only in trying to find another hobby horse to ride but also in searching for another scapegoat now that Chen Shui-bian has been gone for two and a half years. When Ma could not deliver on the US Beef Scandal should have been the wake up call. Now, Bonnie Glasser, a long time front piece of what the US State Department wants people to hear, is hinting that the US State Department does not find that Ma (their presumed rescuer) is not being open or across the board with them. Ma is not being what they in their fantasies wished he would be. Duh. There are many other examples of the duh experience, suffice it to say the realities are beginning to sink in.