Prof. ST Hsieh
Director, US-China Energy Industry Forum
August 14, 2022
We should respect the lessons of the past, but we also should accept the world has moved along and come up new strategies that could address the future needs of the world. Of course, it is easily said than done. Especially in a democratic and open society: ideas are freely advocated. Voters are impatient and demand instant gratification most of the time. Politicians mostly craters to “public opinions” and makes cheap promises or without any idea or intention to carry out any of the “campaign pledges.”
In order to hang on to their jobs and privileges, politicians often create/propagate a foreign threat scenario shifting voters’ attention to “something foreign” that local voters have little understanding or control. The advancement of information technology, numerous contents, true or false, instantly flooded the world. This information overloading further confuses people’s ability to “think” and “react” sensibility.
The following articles by academics are worth our time to “slow read” and “think before jump into judgement” We do not advocate that anyone should follow their thoughts blindly. If readers can come up with different ideas, it would be even better.
Dr. Kissinger is a well-known scholar of international relation and foreign policy designer/practitioner. Our point is that Dr. Kissinger is not against change course, but he is concerned about current global issues. Because the US is leading the world but without a defined direction. In fact, the US is even divided domestically. The future of the world could be a rule-less disintegration.
Professor Pfister’s article is a historical account of Taiwan, which is a part of China. Of course, not everyone agrees with Professor Pfister’s conclusion. But anyone does not agree with the UN’s Taiwan resolution should try to find justices in UN. The “foundation” of US engagement with Taiwan has been based on the Taiwan Relations Act, or TRA, passed by the US Congress on April 10, 1979. TRA is a US Domestic Law, and it “applies” to Taiwan, without challenges, is strictly based on US hard and soft power. In order for the US to “support” Taiwan based on TRA, US must strive to remain as the world’s utmost singular power. Of course, US must also have the highest moral ground and it is the challenge!
Kissinger: US foreign policy ‘very responsive to the emotion of the moment’
Julia Mueller Sun, August 14, 2022 at 6:30 AM
Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said in a new interview that modern U.S. diplomacy is “very responsive to the emotion of the moment.”
“I think that the current period has a great trouble defining a direction. It’s very responsive to the emotion of the moment,” Kissinger told The Wall Street Journal.
The 99-year-old Kissinger noted that U.S. leadership is focused on condemning ideas it disagrees with, instead of negotiating and engaging with adversaries’ thinking.
He also cautioned against what he sees as disequilibrium in the international power balance as tensions between the U.S. and fellow world powers Russia and China escalate.
“We are at the edge of war with Russia and China on issues which we partly created, without any concept of how this is going to end or what it’s supposed to lead to,” Kissinger said, adding that the U.S. ought “not to accelerate the tensions and to create options.”
“How to marry our military capacity to our strategic purposes, and how to relate those to our moral purposes—it’s an unsolved problem,” Kissinger said.
His remarks came after China bristled when Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) visited Taiwan earlier this month, despite warnings from the Biden administration and threats from Beijing that the trip could worsen U.S.-China tensions.
Beijing maintains that Taiwan is part of the mainland under its “One China” policy while the U.S. has remained strategically ambiguous about its policy toward the self-governing democratic island.
“The policy that was carried out by both parties has produced and allowed the progress of Taiwan into an autonomous democratic entity and has preserved peace between China and the U.S. for 50 years,” Kissinger told the Journal, urging caution “in measures that seem to change the basic structure.”
Kissinger’s new book, “Leadership: Six Studies in World Strategy,” analyzes the work of Konrad Adenauer, Charles de Gaulle, Richard Nixon, Anwar Sadat, Lee Kuan-Yew and Margaret Thatcher.
U.S. interferes with Taiwan, endangers peace
James W. Pfister Sun, August 14, 2022 at 1:00 AM
Japan took Taiwan from China in 1895 as a result of the Sino-Japanese War. During World War II, China was promised a return of Taiwan upon Japan’s defeat. What happened? How can the U.S. now have a One China policy with the People’s Republic of China (herein PRC) having sovereignty over Taiwan but the PRC cannot possess it? It’s like having title to your house and land, but you cannot be there yourself. The answer, I think, is systematic American interference from World War II up to and including the effects of the Taiwan Relations Act of Jan. 1, 1979.
Mao’s Communist faction won the civil war and announced on Oct. 1, 1949, the PRC is the successor government to the Republic of China (herein ROC). The U.S. did not recognize the PRC as the government of China. The U.S. continued to recognize Chiang Kai-shek’s ROC, which had fled in defeat to Taiwan, until Jan. 1, 1979, 29 years later, which must be a record of false legal fictions.
On June 20, 1950, the North Koreans attacked the South Koreans starting the Korean War. On June 27, 1950, President Harry Truman made an important statement which shaped American foreign policy for years. Regarding the PRC, he said: “In these circumstances the occupation of Formosa (Taiwan) by Communist forces would be a direct threat to the security of the Pacific area and to United States forces. … Accordingly I have ordered the Seventh Fleet to prevent any attack on Formosa.”
Thus, the U.S. blocked by force any attempt by the PRC to govern Taiwan.
Truman also stated that any resolution of the Taiwan issue “…must await the restoration of peace in the Pacific, a peace settlement with Japan, or consideration by the United Nations.”
We’ll look at the latter two issues.
Regarding the peace conference with Japan, it was held during the Korean War, signed Sept. 8, 1951, effective April 28, 1952, in San Francisco. The conference was dominated by the U.S., we can assume. Japan transferred sovereignty regarding Taiwan out of itself, but it was ceded to no one (John Foster Dulles, Department of State). By law, I believe, it should have gone to the PRC, but in the context of the Cold War, such would have been hard politically when at war with the PRC in Korea (Gen. Douglas McArthur had aggressively taken the U.N. troops up to the Chinese border in Korea, bringing the PRC into the war).
Regarding the Cold War, the U.S. did not accept the Geneva Settlements to end the French war in Indochina; thus, it adopted the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) on Sept. 8, 1954, a defensive treaty against communism. Just 85 days later, the U.S. entered into a Mutual Defense Treaty with Taiwan, signed on Dec. 2, 1954, effective March 3, 1955. This was the ultimate interference with the PRC’s sovereignty and possession of Taiwan. In Article VIII, the treaty purported to be in the context of the Charter of the United Nations.
Thus, critically, regarding the United Nations, in 1971 the U.N. seated the PRC as the sole government of China, including Taiwan, and removed the ROC. Today, only 15 of 193 states recognize Taiwan. Also in 1971, President Richard Nixon was preparing his trip to the PRC. Out of that meeting came the Shanghai Communique of Feb. 28, 1972, in which the U.S. stated: “The United States acknowledges that all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China. The United States does not challenge that position. It reaffirms its interest in a peaceful settlement … by the Chinese themselves.”
Then, on Jan. 1, 1979, the U.S. finally recognized the PRC as the sole legal government of all of China, including Taiwan. President Jimmy Carter terminated the Mutual Defense Treaty with Taiwan. Now, finally, would there be a settlement by the Chinese themselves?
No, the Taiwan Relations Act, April 10, 1979, created by conservatives, was born, a functional equivalent of the former Mutual Defense Treaty, but with more detail and scope, to be examined next time.
James W. Pfister, J.D. University of Toledo, Ph.D. University of Michigan (political science), retired after 46 years in the Political Science Department at Eastern Michigan University. He lives at Devils Lake and can be reached at [email protected].