Writing in the New York Times, former Harvard Kennedy School fellow Paul V. Kane argues that giving up military support of Taiwan will reduce American debt, make China happy, help Obama win re-election, and generally just make things peachy-effing-keen for all parties involved:
There are dozens of initiatives President Obama could undertake to strengthen our economic security. Here is one: He should enter into closed-door negotiations with Chinese leaders to write off the $1.14 trillion of American debt currently held by China in exchange for a deal to end American military assistance and arms sales to Taiwan and terminate the current United States-Taiwan defense arrangement by 2015.
…Today, America has little strategic interest in Taiwan, which is gradually integrating with China economically by investing in and forming joint ventures with mainland Chinese firms. The island’s absorption into mainland China is inevitable.
…There will be “China hawks” who denounce any deal on Taiwan as American capitulation, but their fear of a Red China menacing Asia is anachronistic. Portraying the United States as a democratic Athens threatened by China’s autocratic Sparta makes for sensational imagery, but nothing could be further from reality.
The battle today is between competing balance sheets, and it is fought in board rooms; it is not a geopolitical struggle to militarily or ideologically “dominate” the Pacific.
We’re aware that there are plenty of arguments that America is a country that’s often motivated by pure self-interest, but this new proposal to leave Taiwan to fend for itself is one tough McNugget to swallow.
Sure, plenty of other states and international organizations ditched Taiwan ages ago in favor of you-know-who, but for America to do it means something else entirely.
Regardless of how selfish America is or isn’t, it will be a chilly day in Hell before the American public broadly accepts the idea that the defender of liberty and freedom will allow Taiwan to go it alone, which would be conceding that American Exceptionalism is just so much hot air.
Questions regarding the soul of the country will be tossed around if Washington really decides it’s okay to cut and run on a democratic country and longtime ally, simply for the sake of political and economic expediency.
Imagine how incensed voters would be after they first found out that anti-Commie Taiwan exists, and then discovered just how minuscule the island looks on a map, next to its enormous undemocratic neighbor. Debt is hard to grasp, while the identity of America as a sheriff-protector of democracy in the world is far more visceral and crucial to the country’s sense of itself.
More on Taiwan here.