Thursday, June 03, 2004

The middle line

Is China looking for an excuse to attack Taiwan? This editorial from the Taipei Times suggests that it may be. There is no doubt that Taiwan has zero reason to provoke China by crossing the "middle line" in the Taiwan Straits. China's claims about Taiwanese planes trying to cross the "middle line" sound ominously like Hitler's claim that Poland had attacked Germany on August 31, 1939.

The American military is distracted and stretched right now. And, the American public is (possibly) war-weary. Would the US really defend Taiwan against Chinese aggression? I doubt it. Embargoes and other trade restrictions would be about the full extent of the American response I suspect.

Will the EU rush to Taiwan's defense? Sure it will. Okay, I'm back from that parallel universe. The EU will rush to the UN, where Taiwan is not a member and China can veto any UN response through its position on the Security Council. The EU's hands will be tied as China's war on Taiwan will be "strictly an internal matter". You know, like Rwanda or Saddam's attacks on the Kurds.

China wants to prevent any further moves by Taiwan towards independence. Taiwan's President wants a new constitution by 2008, which is why some Chinese are advocating taking a tough line with Taiwan now.