Taiwan’s March 2008 referendum will evidently take place without much support from the United States. Per the BBC:
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says Washington is strongly opposed to Taiwan’s plan for a referendum on United Nations membership.
Ms Rice said applying to the UN in the name of “Taiwan” was a “provocative policy” – it raised tensions in the Taiwan Strait “unnecessarily”.
Taiwan has failed to join the UN under its formal name, Republic of China.
Beijing regards Taiwan as its territory and has blocked its bid to regain a UN membership the island lost in 1971.
It’s a sad thing to see one’s country fail to honor a friend and ally, even if circumstances make it seem necessary.
Communist China has claimed sovereignty over democratic Taiwan since the Chinese civil war ended in 1949, and Beijing has threatened to use force if the island formally declares statehood.
Obviously the U.S. is not in much of a position to help Taiwan militarily even if we were so inclined. Are we? I doubt it. Even our obligations are unclear:
Washington switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979, recognizing “one China,” but remains Taiwan’s biggest ally and is obliged by the Taiwan Relations Act to help the island defend itself.
Ah, another glorious artifact of the Carter years. I simply cannot understand so-called progressives’ mad desire to return to the glory days of military, political, and economic disaster their last president watched over. But be that as it may…
In the present it certainly seems clear that the U.S. ought to back Taiwan’s bid for independence on principle alone. The right to self-determination is, at both a personal and national levels, the most fundamental of all rights and the one on which the U.S. was founded. I would have thought our president would have understood that.
After 60 years of living in the shadow of Communist China, Taiwan deserves to choose its own destiny with the support of all free people, President Bush’s opinion notwithstanding, and without the brandishing of weapons on the part of its gargantuan, bellicose, bullying neighbor to the west.