Saturday, May 12, 2007

John Tkacik on China--Taiwan--US; "China Alarms Ringing"

Like I did regarding Dr. Jerome Keating two weeks ago I wish to now introduce Travis Monitor Blog visitors to John J. Tkacik.

John J. Tkacik is senior fellow in Asian studies at the Heritage Foundation and was chief of China analysis in the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research from.

John Tkacik is a great American and good friend to Taiwan. More often than not I find that I agree 110% with his assessment of the tender box that defines the triangular relationship China--Taiwan--US. He is a conservative voice who has the interest of freedom loving people in mind every time he communicates on the subject.

I commend you to his recently published book, which I purchased from Amazon.com and gifted to Congressman Michael McCaul and Senator John Cornyn:

Reshaping the Taiwan Strait

John J. Tkacik, Jr.
Sold by: Amazon.com
Paperback; $9.50

Here is Mr. Tracik's recently published Washington Times article on China:

China Alarms Ringing
By John J. Tkacik

Published May 10, 2007
Washington Times

Fifteen years ago, the U.S. intelligence community judged that the People's Liberation Army of China was more than 20 years behind the West. In January, the PLA brought down a satellite with an ultra-sophisticated "kinetic kill vehicle" weapon. Today, no one views China's nuclear or missile capabilities as anything other than cutting-edge.

In the last five years, China has brought 20 state-of-the-art, super-quiet, diesel-electric submarines on line, increasing its fleet of modern subs to 55. Now there is speculation the Chinese are developing Polymer Electrolyte Membrane fuel cells that allow their subs to stay submerged far longer and eliminate any detectable mechanical noise. This would explain how a Chinese submarine was able to surprise the USS Kitty Hawk battle group last October by popping up in its midst and immediately disappearing without a trace. Apparently, the U.S. Navy can't track China's newest submarines.

U.S. intelligence predicted none of this. Last year, Assistant Defense Secretary Peter Rodman admitted, "We are caught by surprise by the appearance of new systems that suddenly appear fully developed." Former Clinton administration defense expert Kurt Campbell has noted, "You look back on those studies, and it's only been a decade, China has exceeded in every area military modernization that even the far-off estimates of the mid-1990s predicted."

With the Soviet Union's collapse in 1992, America cut its defense budget by more than 10 percent during the Clinton years while China boosted arms spending by 10 percent to 20 percent every year since 1992.

The Central Intelligence Agency calculates Beijing now spends 4.3 percent of its gross domestic product on the military. China's military sectors will get about $430 billion -- in purchasing power parity terms -- this year.

Even observers who remain generally complacent about China's military build-up admit "alarm" at China's recent anti-satellite test and its mischief in Darfur. But China's behavior toward Taiwan should sound the alarm bells just as loudly.

Yet, when the debate turns to Taiwan, some urge the U.S. to "chill." We must not be too eager to defend Taiwan, they argue, because the "legitimacy" of the mainland Communist Party would be "severely undermined" if the international community questioned its claim to the island.

But is supporting the Chinese "Communist Party's legitimacy" in America's interests? Must we stand by while the world's largest dictatorship bullies Asia's most vibrant democracy into a relationship Taiwan's people have consistently rejected? Must Taiwan's democracy be stifled in the interests of "peace" in the Asia Pacific region?

Henry Kissinger once noted an international system for which peace is the highest priority is "at the mercy of the most ruthless, since there [is] a maximum incentive to mollify the most aggressive state and to accept its demands, even when they [are] unreasonable." The inevitable result: "massive instability and insecurity." Western democracies learned this lesson the hard way in 1938 Munich and in 1990 Baghdad.

Humoring threats from dictatorships invariably results in catastrophic miscalculations. And Taiwan is not Beijing's only illicit territorial claim.

Last November, the Chinese ambassador in New Delhi informed a surprised Indian television audience that "the whole of what you call the state of Arunachal Pradesh is Chinese territory." This February, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said "China will not accept any representations by Japan on the premise of territorial claim" over the Senkaku Islands. No Chinese live in Arunachal Pradesh, and Japan has administered the Senkakus for 112 years.

All Asia is watching to see if the U.S. is committed to President Bush's vision of "the global expansion of democracy." If Washington won't stand up for democracy in Taiwan, where would it? And how would Beijing know Washington was serious?

No responsible person wants war in the Taiwan Strait. But the best way to avoid war, to keep our legal commitment to defend Taiwan's democracy and to maintain Asia's stability is to demonstrate steadfast resolve against Beijing's territorial demands.

The United States may no longer be strong enough to defend freedom beyond our shores. The "global expansion of democracy" may not be feasible as we face a Chinese Superpower intent on legitimizing illiberal forces lurking in the shadows of Asia's fragile new democracies. If so, Washington should admit it, so our allies and friends can start making other plans for their security.


2 comments:

dan said...

China, tear down this gate!

by Dan Bloom, in Taiwan
reporter.bloom@gmail.com

Longtime observers of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) have said,
"The China question is open as long as the CCP rules China." And as
long as the gate of freedom in China remains closed, as long as this
scar of a gate is permitted to stand, it is not the China question
alone that remains open, but the question of freedom for all
humankind. Yet, today there is a message of hope inside China, a
message of triumph, where slowly people are trying to take matters
into their own hands and set up a democratic movement inside the
country that can finally replace the CCP. It can happen and it will
happen.

Leaders of democratic countries around the world understood the
practical importance of liberty -- that just as truth can flourish
only when the journalist is given freedom of speech, so prosperity can
come about only when the farmer and businessman enjoy economic
freedom. China will learn that soon enough.

In fact, even now, in a limited way, the current leaders of China may
be coming to understand the importance of freedom. We hear much from
Beijing about a new policy of reform and openness. Some political
prisoners have been released. Certain foreign news broadcasts and
Internet sites are no longer being jammed. Some economic enterprises
have been permitted to operate with greater freedom from state
control.

Are these the beginnings of profound changes in the CCP? Or are they
token gestures, intended to raise false hopes in the West, or to
strengthen the Chinese system without changing it? We welcome change
and openness; for we believe that freedom and security go together,
that the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of
world peace. There is one sign the Chinese communists can make that
would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of
freedom and peace.

President Hu Jintao, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for
China and Hong Kong and Macao and Taiwan, if you seek liberalization:
Come here to this gate of tyranny, and replace it with a gate of
freedom! Mr. Hu, replace this gate! Mr. Hu, let freedom ring!

I understand the fear of war and the pain of division that afflict the
leaders of China today -- and I know that my country will use all its
efforts to help overcome these burdens. When freedom finally comes to
the Chinese people, they and their leaders will be surprised how
wonderful it feels.

Today represents a moment of hope. We in the West stand ready to
cooperate with China to promote true openness, to break down barriers
that separate people, to create a safe, freer world.
The totalitarian world produces backwardness because it does such
violence to the spirit, thwarting the human impulse to create, to
enjoy, to worship. The totalitarian world finds even symbols of love
and of worship an affront.

As one looks at China today, from across the sea, one can perhaps
catch a glimpse of some words crudely spray-painted upon the gate,
perhaps by a young Bejinger: "This gate will fall. Beliefs become
reality." Yes, across China, this gate will fall. For it cannot
withstand faith; it cannot withstand truth. The gate cannot withstand
freedom.

dan said...

travis, email me and introduce my tear down this gate "speech"

good idea?