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US to ‘Cheesy Chen’: “Sit down and shut the hell up”

Hello again World Watchers! Had to toddle over to Taiwan to check out their totally titillating and 'Cheesy Chinesy' Chen Shui-bianturbulent fifteenth attempt to join the UN: an attempt causing Chinese consternation and American aggravation. The President of Taiwan is Chen Shui-Bian…I call him ‘Cheesy Chen’…and he is a master at pissing off world leaders. What? How can a single little island nation simultaneously snub two of the biggest powers on the planet? I’m glad you asked friends, because this is a tricky tale that has potentially explosive repercussions on the global stage. How explosive? Well, just so you know, this little Cheesy Chen possesses the power to initiate a world war.  Sound fanciful? Well, dig this first, and then I’ll explain:

Taiwan in fresh UN membership bid

U.S. steps up pressure on Taiwan to drop U.N. referendum

US should consider Taiwan’s need

Taiwan’s Chen seen likely to defy U.S. pressure

Taiwan Leader Riles China, U.S.

Taiwan loses Costa Rica’s support

President Chen Shui-bian is the current elected leader of Taiwan. He is also from the Taiwanese political party that is very, very pro-independence for Taiwan. Just so you know, Chen and his party barely squeaked through the last election with the win–meaning that they don’t have overwhelming support in the country.  Most folks in Taiwan are not pro-independence, and in fact the majority just want to maintain the current nebulous status quo.  The masses are not fighting mad for Taiwanese independence. But Chen and his cheesy chinesey crew are…

But wait…Taiwanese independence? Are they not already? Isn’t Taiwan already in the UN? What is the deal?  Many of you probably erroneously assume that Chen: Taiwan is already a sovereign state with a seat at the UN…and of course many of you would be wrong.  Taiwan is not a sovereign state.  And that is what the stories above are about; President Cheesy Chen is petitioning the UN for the fifteenth time to allow them into the country club. But it is not going to happen.  Not now. Not ever. Never. And everybody knows it.  So why the hell is Chen still trying? And why does the attempt piss everybody off? 

Here it is: the isle of CheeseFor most of its history, Taiwan was an island territory off the coast of China that was of no great significance. (Sorry my Taiwanese friends! You know its true!) However, Taiwan immediately became a Cold War hotspot when the Chinese Nationalists (Kuomintang), after losing the Chinese Civil War, retreated to Taiwan and set up a government called the Republic of China (ROC). Meanwhile, Chairman Mao and the Communists controlled mainland China and called themselves the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Acronym reference guide:

  • ROC: pro-democracy, pro-capitalist, leaders of Taiwan
  • PRC: communist (well, they used to be), leaders of China…yeah, the real China

The leaders of both ‘countries’ have long subscribed to the one-China policy (that there is only one China and Taiwan is part of China), each insisting on their own government’s legitimacy. Of course, all this went down during the Cold War, when capitalists and communists weren’t allowed to hang out. So, depending on where you hailed from, you could recognize either the PRC or the ROC as the legitimate Chinese government. Capitalist democracies originally recognized the ROC as the legitimate government of China and communist countries recognized the PRC as the legitimate government of China. So back in the 1950s and 60s, the US, most European countries and even the UN recognized the ROC (Taiwan) as the legit leaders to have diplomatic ties with.  Hell, Taiwan held the ‘China’ seat at the UN!

In particular, during the Cold War, the US wanted to help promote the Taiwanese government because they were on our team…you know, Team Democracy/Capitalism! The US made economic and military and strategic ties which helped protect Taiwan from Chinese aggression and also helped make them a fully modern, rich nation. As such, America‘s policy has been, “If China invades Taiwan, we will defend Taiwan, by force if necessary.” And many other countries around the planet supported this endeavor by recognizing the legitimacy of the ROC.  But times changed…

Since around 1970, support for ROC as the legit leaders has hugely diminished. Why? Well, because even the US and others had to finally recognize that the communist Chinese were here to 1972: Nixon mets Mao, and the 'One China Policy' takes effect….stay.  They couldn’t go on pretending that the 3rd largest country with the largest population in the world simply didn’t exist. In other words, everyone had to stop being dumb.  So in 1971 the UN to shifted its ‘China’ seat from Taiwan to China proper. In 1972 the US initiated their ‘One China Policy’ which states that “the United States acknowledges that 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.” In 1979 the US switched their diplomatic recognition to China proper, but still maintained their strategic ‘protection’ alliance with Taiwan. This strategic alliance is underlined by the fact that the US sells Taiwan shit-tons of military hardware; a situation that continues to the present.

Since the 1980’s, as China’s economic clout has grown bigger and bigger, country after country around the globe has switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China. The most recent was Costa Rica a few months ago. Taiwan now only has 24 countries which still recognize it as legit, as opposed to China which has 170. It should be noted that those 24 include powerhouses like El Salvador, Kiribati, and Swaziland. Getting the picture here? The number continues to dwindle because China refuses to do business with any state that recognizes Taiwan…and no country can afford to not do business with China anymore.

Thumbs up for World War 3! Let's get this shit on!!

So what’s all this got to do with current events? Just this: in a strange twist of history, this crazy Cheesy Chen dude is in a position to start a major regional war by his whack-ass UN-seeking antics.  How?

A scenario not unlike pre–WWI Europe has evolved:

1. The US has been committed to helping defend Taiwan if China attacks. Some administrations—like the current Bush administration—have sometimes outright declared this to be a fact. In other words, the US will counter the attack if the Chinese invade. Maybe.
2. China passed a law in 2005 that legally binds them to attack Taiwan should Taiwan ever declare independence. They claim there is no decision to make, no choice to contemplate. They will attack.
3. The current president of Taiwan is both a lame-duck president and avowedly pro-independence for Taiwan. He’s got nothing to lose. He might want to play high-stakes poker, where the ante for the game includes his whole damn country. The Plaid Avenger also thinks the guy has a serious screw loose too; Chen was shot a few years ago in what appears to be a ‘staged assassination’ just two days before the presidential election in order to gain a sympathy vote. You let someone shoot you? Dude….you are whack.

See where this could go . . . and fast? One yahoo in office in Taiwan now has the ability to launch two of the biggest world powers against each other. One false move in the middle, and everybody is pulled into the game.

Chen with grapefruit hat: a veritable mix of fruits and nuts!So these completely bullshit attempts at UN recognition are just another big stunt by Cheesy Chen to rile up the world.  Of course you now understand why his moves piss off the Chinese, but have you figured out why Chen bugs the US too?

Answer: if you haven’t noticed, the US military is kind of busy right now. Afghanistan, Iraq, possibly Iran, the War on Terrorism, the War on Drugs, and of course all those military air shows are keeping the US armed forces busier than ever. The US simply does not have enough ass right now to send over to defend Taiwan if a war were to break out. 

And increasingly, many in the US aren’t sure they want to fight a war with the Chinese, even if they had nothing better to do. The US and Chinese economies are inextricably linked at this point, and no one would stand to gain from a war of any kind between these two heavyweights.  And for what? An island that virtually everyone on the planet agrees is Chinese territory. Man, no one wants to get pulled into a pissing match over Taiwan.  And that is why the US response to Chen’s words have been “Please sit down and have a tall glass of shut-the-hell-up’. Can you dig it?

Oh by the way, you may have wondered how the Plaid Avenger knows that the Taiwan resolution to the UN won’t pass? Because both China and the US, as members of the UN Permanent Security Council, have veto power over any resolution. And everyone knows that both of them would veto it. That resolution doesn’t have a snow cone’s chance in Sumatra to pass. 

What’s that? You don’t know what the Permanent Security Council is? Well game on then! I’ll travel to UN headquarters in New York by tomorrow morning and tell you all about it.  Until then…

Party in plaid!

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