Saturday, April 30, 2011

Strait Jacket

If the generally pro-independence DPP candidate Tsai Ing-wen wins next year's presidential election, it will be bad for Chinese-Taiwanese relations? But even if KMT incumbent President Ma Ying-jeou wins, it could be bad, too?

If Mr. Ma can’t continue to improve relations with Beijing, “we are going to see tensions in the strait spike up again,” Mr. Hammond-Chambers said.

But even if Mr. Ma stages a miraculous recovery, polls still show the majority of Taiwanese support the current status quo under which Taiwan has de facto independence, meaning the political costs of pushing for what Beijing wants – new talks on politics and military relations – are likely too high for any Taiwanese leader to risk.

So, regardless of who wins the next Taiwanese election, the winner will provoke worse relations with China and tension in the Taiwan Strait? It's like Taiwan is expected to live in a strait jacket that inhibits movement in any direction but getting closer to China.

Maybe the real issue that causes problems is that China's Communist rulers want to control Taiwan regardless of what the Taiwanese want. Maybe the problem is that Taiwanese voters choose their own leaders, which isn't something that Peking wants to encourage.

Maybe we should stop blaming the democratic victim of a giant aggressor that continues to threaten Taiwan's freedom with increasingly capable military forces even as Peking's rulers smile and pretend that not mentioning their ultimate goal counts as better relations that those pesky Taiwanese keep upsetting.