By Alain Brossat and Juan Alberto Ruiz Casado
Good news: there is a new US proconsul in town, in Taipei. His name is not Pilatus but Turton, Michael Turton, and Taipei Times is the official organ through which he issues his instructions and guidelines. On March 1st, at the end of a long statement on the Shenkakus (only Beijing’s thugs use the Chinese name of these Islands, Diaoyutai) reaffirming that they do belong to Japan (as the US decided on it at the end of WWII and Taiwan is firmly requested to keep a low profile on that issue), he writes this, in the tone of sovereign authority that suits to his position:
« With the likehood of war rising wherever China has frontiers, Washington needs to work to ensure that the party that takes power in Taipei in 2024 is not one that aligns itself with Chinese territorial claims, and foments trouble with Washington’s allies. It’s never too soon, Washington, to think about where you want to be when the shooting starts. »
In other terms, Taiwan – not to be mistaken with the ROC, the proconsul (governor, prefect…) warns – is a colony of the US. The best definition of what a colony actually is becomes at this moment clear and distinct: a so-called allied or protégée country where free, democratic elections consist in bringing to power subalterns of the tutelary power while excluding mercilessly those who can be suspected of colluding with « the enemy ».
This is what these people call « vibrant democracy » and they contrast with authoritarianism, dictatorship, totalitarianism – the other side of the Strait.
There was a time when the media in the West were obsessed with the alleged « interferences » of Russia in the US’ domestic political affairs and in particular the last but one presidential elections. But when the self-appointed novice proconsul of Washington in Taipei decides that the KMT should never come again to power in Taiwan, this in the English speaking daily paper of the island, it has nothing in common with « interference », meddling in a so-called « sovereign » country – it’s just democratic vigilance! As simple as that! Where is let the “Anti-infiltration Law” envisaged to stop Chinese interference in the case of Taipei Times and its acolytes? Is infiltration only negative when it comes from those who do not support our political opposition, i.e. the KMT? What a liberal democracy then.
Subsequently, Turton argues that if President Tsai “quietly reiterated ROC sovereignty over the islands” antagonizing Japan, it is only because the malign KMT pushes in that direction, because “it wants to push the Tsai government to take a harder position and annoy Japan”. That is to say that President Tsai would like to forget about the Diaoyutai islands, and, if she cannot, it is a consequence of the ROC/KMT/China tandem, and it has nothing to do with the Taiwan/DPP/US alternative and immaculate reality.
Mr. Turton, as a good proconsul, sometimes has to act as a propagandist. He argues that the CCP instrumentalises the law and justifies the need to increase its presence in the island chain as “merely another way Beijing legitimates the conflict it seeks to its own people, always a problem for authoritarian states” – as if “democratic” states, however, do not have any problem to legitimate any conflict to its own people, so Biden can just drop a bomb anywhere he wants, normalizing his “first strike” as if it was the first beach bath of the summer. Contrarily, if he is so worried about conflict justifications, he should question why the US and he, as the proconsul, has so much interest in revolving Taiwan against China. Is not his opinion piece in Taipei Times “merely another way” the US finds to legitimate his final claim, that the US should intervene in Taiwan and the Taiwanese elections? What Mr. Turton applies to China could also be applied to the US: wherever China has a border there is an immediate US national interest.
What comes first, the US intervention in the Chinese sphere or Chinese aggressiveness in the face of the threat of a new colonial humiliation? Who has historical reasons to fear abuse and bullying by foreign colonial forces, China or the US and Japan? If law is so important, why redrawing maps intending Taiwan to be a separate country, the same that is criticized when China wants to do it in with the Senkaku islands or the South China Sea? Why not to support the sovereignty of China over Taiwan (or the status quo), same as they support the sovereignty of Japan over the Senkaku, rather than promoting the independence, militarization and political intervention of Taiwan, which would be then equivalent to “simply naked territorial expansion, rife with the possibility of war”, as Turton criticized in the case of China in the Senkaku? Why “the usual US position, which is that the US takes no position on sovereignty disputes”, claimed by Mr. Turton, does not apply in the case of Taiwan? Why does the US keep sending military ships to the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea when China is criticized for sending ships to the Senkaku?
In the same issue of Taipei Times, a US military expert, named Mr. Fisher, writes a column under the following eloquent title : « Either we arm Taiwan or we die trying ». This has a name: to call trumps, that is to lay one’s cards on the table. The amount of weapons Mr. Fisher, member of a “think-tank” called “the International Assessment and Strategy Center”, suggests to sell to Taiwan is overwhelming. Who do you think is behind that organization? It is not difficult to guess. The military industry lobby always pushing for further and larger weapon sales… while also pushing for conflict in the Strait if needed, which would solve the “China problem” for good (if Taiwan gets destroyed in the process it would be a reasonable price to pay for keeping US hegemony in the world and isolating China out of the world order). Not to mention the suggested sales of new weapons still in development, turning Taiwan into a military testing ground that reminds the civil war in Spain before the IIWW.
Mr. Fisher says: “One price of losing Taiwan to the CCP/PLA would be its turning Taiwan into a massive base for projecting maritime and missile forces around the world”. Which is to say that, unless China is kept under the thumb of US and its allies, it could do the same thing as the US is doing right now: projecting its military power around the world. And what is the consequence of China’s projecting its military power around the world? “This then would condemn future US generations to multiple wars with China to preserve US economic access and political freedom”. So, no wonder that military threat by the US and its allies all around China, doing the equivalent parallelism, condemns Chinese to multiple wars with the US and its allies to preserve Chinese economic power (“access” is just an euphemism) and its political sovereignty (“freedom” is another euphemism for hegemony –i.e. the free world- and national sovereignty).
The funny thing is that a few days ago, when the Mainland decided not to import pineapples from Taiwan anymore, a gesture (measure) of political retaliation obviously, the spokesman of the Taiwanese government called it « an unfriendly decision »… Why should the neighbor who is continually branded as the archfoe behave as a friend? This is what that softheaded official forgot to tell us…