President Chen Shui-bian (陈水扁) concluded his trip to Taiwan's diplomatic allies in Central and South America yesterday, ending a tour tainted by the fiasco of where his flight would make a transit stop. The transit locations suggested, and conditions imposed, by the US State Department were a slap in the face for Taiwan, raising the anger of the Taiwanese people and giving the press a field day.
How could the US, the world's flag-bearer of democracy, act in this way? Of course one should look at this in its wider context. We live in a world seriously lacking moral values: Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡锦涛), as leader of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), has brought so many disasters on the Chinese people, and yet he was invited as an honored guest to the US, and given a 21-gun salute and lavish banquet.
Chen, Taiwan's democratically elected president, by contrast, has been refused the right to visit the US, and was not even given the opportunity to make a short transit stop on US territory.
Communist China, a state built on violence, is a permanent member of the UN Security Council with the right to veto resolutions whereas Taiwan, a democracy, has been shut out of the UN completely, and is not even allowed to be a member of the General Assembly. Not only that, but the nation is also made to endure the threat of 800 Chinese missiles targeted at it.
In the past the US has granted a visa to Gerry Adams, the leader of the the civilian wing of the Irish Republican Army, a terrorist organization, and has also received the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, himself suspected of terrorist activities, as a guest to the White House. All this, and yet Washington refuses to receive senior government officials from Taiwan.
Leading US China specialist Arthur Waldron has expressed his exasperation over the fact that the international community, including the US, has yet to take any concrete action against North Korea, a country with 15 percent of its population starving and which poses a serious nuclear threat. Waldron asks where the morality is in this situation, a conclusion that could just as easily be applied to the situation Taiwan currently finds itself in, with the way that the US is treating its democratically elected government.
The specific context is related to the political left in the US. As everyone familiar with the situation there is aware, the left is strong in the US State Department. Many of the bureaucrats are slippery individuals more interested in improving their lot than keeping to their principles. They want to cosy up to communist China just as in the past they cosied up to Soviet Russia and even former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.
Despite the fact that the right-wing Republican Party is in power at the moment, the technocrats in the State Department have always tended to lean to the left. They are always at odds with the White House, whether they are opposing the communists or terrorists. Former US secretary of state Colin Powell was made to leave, as was deputy secretary of State Richard Armitage, but nothing has really changed even since the appointment of Condoleezza Rice.
According to the Washington Times, Middle Eastern specialists in the State Department have nothing but good to say about the governments in that part of the world, emphasizing the status quo or the importance of geopolitics rather than sticking to their principles. In the same way, State Department China specialists not only favor communist China and put pressure on democratic Taiwan, they actively pander to the Beijing authorities. It is not an exaggeration to say that the State Department is one of the major obstacles preventing the US from spreading democracy in the world today.
President Chen was right not to transit in the US on this trip, a decision which allowed Taiwan to maintain its dignity. In the past Israel bombed Iraqi nuclear plants despite fierce opposition from the US, and yet the US could not abandon Israel, as it could not abandon its strategic interests in the Middle East.
As far as the US is concerned, Taiwan is still an unsinkable aircraft carrier, and it is unlikely to want to give that up. When the time comes, the Taiwanese people should stand up and make their voice heard in this world devoid of morality.
Cao Changqing is a freelance journalist based in the US.
Friday, May 12, 2006,Page 8