Getting Real About Taiwan

Bartering Taiwan for better ties with China is a mistake. Ambitious powers see such concessions as an appetizer, not dessert.  Read the article in The Diplomat here:

Writing off Taiwan for the sake of Sino-American amity probably qualifies as optimism of a kind—unless you have the misfortune to actually live on the island. Writing in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs, George Washington University Prof. Charles Glaser maintains that to date, ‘the China debate among international relations theorists has pitted optimistic liberals against pessimistic realists.’ The former, he says, believe today’s liberal international order can accommodate China’s rise, building on economic interdependence. The latter point to China’s mounting economic and military strength, prophesying that power will impel Beijing ‘to pursue its interests more assertively, which will in turn lead the United States and other countries to balance against it.’

For realists of such leanings, this cycle of action and reaction is apparently apt to produce ‘at least a parallel to the Cold War standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union, and perhaps even a hegemonic war.’ Times of transition bring established powers intent on preserving their privileged positions into conflict with rising powers determined to remake the system to suit themselves.



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