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Pol/Econ Diplomacy
Pol/Econ: Taiwan and the West's Double Standards
Saturday, 14 July 2007 Written by Henry Midgley
China expresses its views
on self determination for Taiwan
Taiwan is not a topic that comes up often in the news- columns are not written about in newspapers and the rightwing blogosphere seldom shouts about it, whilst the left generally ignores it. But its more plausible that a nuclear war would errupt over Taiwan than one would errupt over the Golan Heights. Equally the issues in the Taiwan straight are much more straightforward than they are in Palestine or Iraq- in Taiwan a large Empire is claiming the right to stop a small group of people even hold a referendum about independence, a large Empire that previously held the territory as a colony and seeks its return no matter what the inhabitants of the Island think.

You would think that Western nations that pride themselves on Democracy and Freedom would stand foursquare behind the Taiwanese government- but of course not. The European Union recently rebuked Taiwan for even thinking of holding a referendum on whether to apply for United Nations membership- and the Americans have done similar things- one might almost think the much vaunted commitment to liberty, human rights and justice was merely that an idealistic commitment and not a policy.

Taiwan's position within international politics is an anomaly- almost anyone who knows anything about the situation acknowledges that a referendum is not a threat- and yet both the Americans and Europeans treat the Taiwanese as though they are destabilising the situation. Of course it is China who treats the incipient exercise of democracy as the excuse to build up troops and point nuclear weapons- whereas Taiwan merely is asking its people their view on their future. Such an act may provoke but it shouldn't.

The end of this crisis will be like the end of so many of them- the withdrawel of Chinese forces and of the referendum- but it would be nice to see some peeps of support from the Western press for Taiwan. If there is any case of appeasement before vast military and economic force today its in the South China Sea- where our policy seems to be to tell the Taiwanese to keep quiet about democracy and to acknowledge the imperialist designs of the totalitarians in Beijing. Its not a happy situation- nor is it one whose solution appears to be obvious any time soon- at least while Beijing's attitude is that votes are for the communist party, China is what the mainland claims it is and the Taiwanese people have no rights to self determination.