The Dragon Awakes

Howard French has reposted a very good article on China’s military buildup and the corresponsing politics written by Ian Bremmer for The National Interest. Still, can we finally stop using such cliched titles? Let’s just all accept that ‘the dragon’ is already awake and stop beating a dead horse.

The whole thing is good reading, but this quote really jumped out at me.

The “Taiwan lobby” in the U.S. Congress is also sounding an alarm. On February 16, Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate proposed a joint resolution to resume diplomatic relations with Taiwan. The proposal would have proven political dynamite if it had any chance of passing. It did not. While the Bush Administration resolutely opposed the move as a dangerous encouragement of Taiwan’s independence movement, China treated the resolution as a grave insult.

Does anybody have more info on this? In particular, the resolution in question and its voting record. I’m a little surprised that this didn’t make the news when it hit the senate floor.

Another question:

Nor was Washington able to dissuade Beijing from going ahead with a March “anti-secession law”, which provides a quasi-legal basis for invasion should Taiwan declare formal independence.

Now, Taiwan’s international status is at best ambigious. Were it universally considered an independent, sovereign nation than any invasion by China would be a clear violation of international law, but is their any actual standard for acceptable behavior regarding breakaway territories? Clearly nobody seems to be bothering Russia about their campaign against the separatist Chechnyans, but on the other hand East Timor had fairly broad international support in their independence movement. Are there any other noteworthy cases in the past 30 or so years?

5 thoughts on “The Dragon Awakes”

  1. Strength of arms always surpasses strength of convictions. There were denunciations of the Russian war in Chechnya, but a HRW pamphlet is hardly enough to dissuade the Russian army. That Indonesia was balked in its war over east Timor by the west shows the weakness of the Indonesian state. Essentially Russia is strong enough to tell the west to piss off when it comes to domestic affairs, Indonesian really isn’t.

  2. I can think of a few incidences where truly sovereign states have been claimed by other states, but no other incidences where the claim was recognized by the international community in general. It’s pretty pathetic that the world lets China get away with its fantasies at Taiwan’s expense.

    Why does Taiwan even need an “independence movement?” It’s BEEN independent for the past sixty years! Come on, China, come join the reality-based community.

  3. Some other examples on both sides…Goa, Eritrea, US trust territories, Namibia..

    The resolution info is here:

    Sponsors: Rep. Thomas Tancredo (CO), Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL), Rep. John Shimkus (IL), Rep. Mark Souder (IN), Rep. Edolphus Towns (NY)
    Summary A resolution expressing the sense of Congress that the United States should resume normal diplomatic relations with the Republic of China on Taiwan, and for other purposes. Click here for a link to the full text of the legislation.
    February 16, 2005: Introduced. Referred to the Committee on International Relations.

    There is a link there that gives the text in more detail. The bill must still be in the Committee.

    Michael Turton

  4. umm no Joe. Taiwan has been part of the Republic of China for the past 60 years. That the rest of the world recognizes Taiwan as part of China is because during the Cold War, Taiwan was claiming itself to be part of China. Taiwan’s independence movement is the result of political friction between the then dominant KMT and localist elements who resented the privileges of the “mainlanders”.

    Taiwan may have autonomy at present, but it is not independent.

  5. Michael, thanks very much for providing that information.

    Jing, I wouldn’t exactly say that Taiwan has been part of the ROC so much as comprised the entirety of the ROC. Yes, for the first half of the post-WW2 period the ROC still held onto their silly claim of sovereignty over the Chinese mainland, but that has been completely abandoned, and the only thing holding back Taiwan’s abandonment of the obsolete ‘Republic Of China’ name and a formal declaration of independence is the threat of invasion by the PRC.

    I also think that you underestimate other sources of Taiwanese nationalism. Yes, part of it was a resentment of KMT, but Taiwanese national consciousness also has roots in the Japanese occupation period, where it began to develop in opposition to colonial rule, and with no connection to the mainland. I don’t see more than a tiny portion of people born in Taiwan having any sense of being ‘Chinese’ in a political sense.

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