The China Desk
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Stand Up for Yourselves
September 29, 2005
According to a September 21, 2005 Taipei Times news article entitled "Stand Up for Yourselves, Lawless Tells Taiwanese":
US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia Richard Lawless yesterday issued a blunt statement on Taiwan's blocked arms-procurement bill, implying that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the People First Party were threatening Taiwan's security and urging Taiwanese to have the determination to defend themselves and hold lawmakers to account. The comments, delivered in a speech by Defense Security Cooperation Agency Director Edward Ross, which sources said relayed Lawless' original speech, were an appeal to the Taiwanese public and included some of the strongest criticisms of the pan-blue camp by a senior Bush administration official.
Richard Lawless's comments were yet another deeply offensive example of the Bush II regime's imperial arrogance.
Ironically, in a sense he never intended, Lawless is right. "Taiwanese" (Chinese people on Taiwan) should have the determination to defend themselves. Chinese people on Taiwan should have the determination to hold lawmakers to account.
Unfortunately for the Bush II regime, the Chinese people on Taiwan have expressed their determination in a way Lawless never intended. They have refused to pay protection money disguised as "arms procurements" to the American Empire.
When George Bush Senior entered the White House, he promised American taxpayers a post-Cold War "Peace Dividend". Bush successors Bill Clinton and Bush Junior, as well as Bush Senior himself, made a mockery of that promise. Chinese people on Taiwan however, have enough common sense to realize that with the Cold War long over, they deserve their own "Peace Dividend."
The comments were in a keynote speech at a US-Taiwan Business Council defense industry conference in San Diego, California. Lawless was unable to personally deliver the speech on Monday as he was in Beijing for talks on the North Korean nuclear program.
Lawless, a mere "Deputy Assistant Secretary" couldn't even be bothered to deliver his message in person. I guess we know where Taiwan stands in the eyes of the New Rome.
After acknowledging President Chen Shui-bian and Minister of National Defense Lee Jye for their attempts to facilitate passage of the arms package, the speech noted that nothing has happened in five years, despite the package being approved in April 2001 at the beginning of the Bush administration.
Translation: The protection money you owe "il Padrino" (the Godfather) is long overdue. Pay up now, or else.
The special budget has become a "political football," Ross said. "In fact, a neutral observer could draw the conclusion that this battered ball has been kept in play more to entertain the players -- the politicians -- than to serve the real needs of Taiwan," he said. The speech then urged the people of Taiwan to understand that national security is not simply a political platform and that no specific defense issue should become a football for partisan purposes. "Rather, national security is a political responsibility and the people of Taiwan should hold elected officials accountable for what they are doing, or more correctly, not doing," he said.
Ross's yammering about a "political football" is neither here nor there. It is a smokescreen. It is a diversion. It is a thinly-disguised, really can't be bothered effort to soften the impact of Lawless's peremptory demand that Taiwan cough up the money, PDQ.
The speech argued that Taiwan could take several steps to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of its defense posture "without breaking the bank." "Taiwan is particularly vulnerable because it is an island in close proximity to a threat, possesses limited resources and relies heavily on advanced technology to meet its defense needs," he said. "For these reasons alone, it is important Taiwan minimizes its vulnerabilities and maximizes its strength."
Will wonders never cease? A leg breaker who appeals to fiscal responsibility and cost effectiveness! Don't think of the protection money you pay us as extortion. Think of it as a wise investment in your own future!
He said that under the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), the US is "obligated to `enable' Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense." "[B]ut the reality is, it is Taiwan that is obligated to have a sufficient self-defense," he added. Taiwan has to "fulfill its unwritten, but clearly evident obligations under the [TRA] by appropriately providing for its own defense while not simply relying on the US' capacity to address a threat in the Strait," he added. He also stressed that "the people of Taiwan and their elected officials [must] understand that when it comes to defense, they ... are in the first instance accountable," and not the US or anyone else.
Translation: Here's the deal. You pay through the nose to take our obsolete, unwanted hand me downs off our hands. When push comes to shove however, we can't promise you that we'll do "whatever it takes." But hey, what choice do you have? You pay up, maybe we'll "ride to the rescue." You don't pay up, maybe we won't. Get wise to your situation.
"We cannot help defend you, if you cannot defend yourself," the speech concluded. "We encourage our Taiwan friends both Blues and Greens, and more importantly I urge the people of Taiwan to think very hard about the future of Taiwan -- how should it look, how should it feel, and what is it worth?"
Guess what? The "people of Taiwan" have thought very hard about the future of Taiwan -- how should it look, how should it feel, and what is it worth.
The "people of Taiwan" have decided they are no longer willing to be Imperium Americanus' obedient watchdog against their own countrymen on the Chinese mainland. They have decided they are even less willing to pay for that dubious privilege. They are, to quote the immortal Paddy Chayevsky, "mad as hell, and not going to take it anymore."
If the New Rome expects Taiwan to be its watchdog against mainland China, it can damn well reach into its own pocket to pay for the dog food. Who ever heard of a watchdog paying for his own dog food in order to continue protecting his master?
The "people of Taiwan" have decided that the future of Taiwan is with mainland China, and that it is not worth one cent in tribute, meekly remitted to Imperium Americanus.
The problem isn't that the "people of Taiwan" haven't thought very hard about the future of Taiwan. The problem is Lawless is having trouble hearing their conclusion.
The problem isn't that the "people of Taiwan" haven't stood up for themselves. The problem is they have stood up for themselves against the New Rome and just said "No!"