Oy Vey over Taipei


The Cold War casts a long shadow, and in Asia it never really ended. India and the Philippines have localized maoist rebels. There are still two Koreas. As many tend to forget, there are still two Chinas as well. Thanks to President Trump’s recent chat over the phone with the president of Taiwan, America’s geographically illiterate are learning that.

Chinese history is long and complicated so I will spare you most of it; the short version is that China’s colossal civil war in the first half of the 20th century ended without Total Celestial Victory. Communists took over the mainland and ejected the nationalists/republicans to the island of Taiwan. Both sides still exist, in the People’s Republic of China (Chynah) and Republic of China (Taiwan), respectively. The problem, naturally, is that both countries claim to be China and want the world to recognize their side as the one trve China. The PRC goes as far as to claim it in fact governs Taiwan.

In the immediate aftermath of the second world war, most of the world considered Taiwan to be the de jure China. But then and now, to hold “Taiwan” to be China and the PRC to be not-China is an ideological choice, one that requires rejecting the reality of a communist victory. The Republic of China was and is a rump state, and in the 1970s after the Sino-Soviet split and republican China losing its UN seat to communist China, President Nixon recognized the People’s Republic of China as China. Thus American objections to the legitimacy of communist China were settled.

This left the Republic of China in limbo as Taiwan, since no superpower recognized it as China. And why would anyone if not for ideological reasons? Look at a map and tell me which country you think is the actual China. Moreover, Taiwan has no ability to press its claims against China. China on the other hand… does. So Taiwan remains closer to the Pacific countries (including the meddling United States) than it does to mainland China. It’s a geopolitical necessity given that China would annex it if allowed to. And many of those countries fear domination by China, which logically places them in the Taiwanese camp.

President Trump’s actions broke a longstanding precedent of the American and Taiwanese heads of state not communicating directly with one another. To do so amounts to diplomatic recognition: I agree that you are the leader of the government you say you are the leader of, and that your government represents the territory it says it does.

Well, in theory. In practice, President Trump is hardly signaling that he supports Bonnie Prince Taipei’s claims to the Celestial Kingdom. Rather, I see it as him trolling the country he made an object of vitriol during the campaign season, Chynah. Bigly. Because what better way to mess with a bunch of hivepeople than to tell them that their sacred consensus is wrong?

America First means looking at things from the perspective of what the interests of the United States are. Does it particularly matter if China thinks other countries should not directly communicate with the government of Taiwan because it hurts their prestige? How dare they presuppose they have the authority to decide who we as a country communicate with. Are we a Chinese tributary? The decision to directly communicate with Taiwan is as much a way to snub the communist Chinese as it is to signal an independent foreign policy. If President Trump wants to treat Taiwan as a sovereign state and its government as existent, which it has been de facto for decades, then China’s problem is less other countries recognizing Taiwan and more that Taiwan is recognizable as a distinct state from China.

But again, I don’t think President Trump’s action is meant to recognize Taiwan’s pretense to sovereignty over all of China. He’s going by instinct or by advice, and theimperative is just to do as one pleases. It’s a big f–k you to a rejected node of authority. Like the entire campaign was. It also means the apoplectic, anti-Trump press now has to defend communist, “job-stealing,” currency-manipulating China. I don’t think the populists will like that very much.

Is it 4-D chess? (((Alinskyite))) tactics? A decades-long rivalry with the business class of Eastasia?

Maybe it’s just President Trump.

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4 Responses to Oy Vey over Taipei

  1. Brittius says:

    Reblogged this on Brittius.


  2. The Bagman says:

    A Taiwanese fellow I knew back in the early 00s was fond of pointing out that Taipei has all the good art. While it takes more than a museum to make a nation, the museum gap between PRC and ROC nicely highlights that communism is a non-Chinese imposter in a country that has a long history of self government–and under native forms better suited to their national character.

    Other than the museum attached to the 9/11 Memorial, I don’t see any in which Trump has been photographed. He’s no sinophile, but it would be a troll of the first water for him to stop at the national palace on his way to or from China sometime. You know, just for the art.


  3. Steel T Post says:

    Soon a Pepe ornament will adorn the White House Christmas tree, rather than a slimy communist shit twinkle-toed cocksucker’s Mao ornament; it’s the most wonderful time in 8 years.

    In those days came Pepe the Frog, meming in the rustbelt of the Midwest, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of Trump is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Coulter, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Trump, make his paths straight. And the same Trump had his raiment of golden hair, and Italian wool cloth about his loins; and his meat was steaks and gorgeous honeys.

    Liked by 1 person

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