MAD LOGIC OF EMPIRE
may laugh, but David
Chou, a Taiwanese citizen, is perfectly serious. As the
founder of the "51 Club" an organization
that probably doesn't have many more members than the original
51 present at its founding Chou embodies the absurdity
of the American stance on the question of China and the mad
logic of empire. Ever since Chiang Kai-chek fled the mainland
and established a military dictatorship in what had been a
backwater province, his Nationalist government has endured
only because it has been sheltered under the protective wing
of the American eagle. Of Taiwan's political figures, to my
knowledge Chou is the only one with the courage to say this
mind all this nonsense about "redefining" Taiwan's
status in terms of "state-to-state" relations with
the mainland, begone with this illusion that Taiwan
is a separate "nation" with its own cultural and
national identity and history. "Special state-to-state
relations, yes, as a U.S. state," says Chou. "That's
the only state we should want to be, the state of Taiwan."
Chou is a true citizen of the new world order we are fighting
for from Kosovo to Taipei, and its perfect spokesman: "I
know a lot of Taiwanese have reservations about this,"
he avers. "They may worry that they'll lose their culture.
But I tell them, you can still eat rice; no one will force
you to eat hamburgers." All that old-fashioned stuff
about history and cultural identity boils down to a question
of cuisine. In the brave new "progressive" world
Bill Clinton and Tony Blair are building for us, culture,
nationalism, and the very concept of national sovereignty
are the artifacts of a bygone era, and hardly matter. What
matters now is money and power.
AMERICANIZATION OF TAIWAN
Nationalist government would never admit it, but it has certainly
been acting like a state government for the past fifty
years, lobbying quite successfully for more federal funding
in the guise of "foreign aid." The Nationalists
had barely set up shop in Taipei before they launched a huge
publicity campaign in the United States. It was the height
of the Cold War and plenty of conservatives were ready to
believe that if they paid the price of globalism and perpetual
war they would one day live in freedom.
They never realized, of course,
that this freedom was doomed by their decision or,
if they did, cynically dismissed it as part of the tragic
paradox of life on this earth. In any case, they were willing
to go to war to defend a place they had never seen and a cause
they barely understood. The Nationalists, who lorded over
the native people of Taiwan and ruthlessly suppressed all
opposition, did not want to be understood and so it
was a useful alliance. The dictatorship of the Nationalists
was dressed up in the glamorous figure of the mediagenic Madam
Chiang, who toured the country and whipped up support for
the Nationalist cause the way any American politician would
naturally take to the hustings.
OLD CHINA LOBBY
day someone will write a book-length account of how the old
China Lobby infiltrated and influenced our political system
and established a full-fledged American protectorate, or colony,
overseas. It was an well-organized and very well funded enterprise,
encouraged if not entirely created by the Taipei regime. A
magazine, Plain Talk, was established by the wealthy
silk merchant Alfred Kohlberg, that specialized in the "who
lost China" bout of agonizing then taking place among
conservatives. (How could we have "lost" China,
if it was never ours to begin with? But never mind.) Amid
a spy scare in which Alger Hiss and other prominent Commies
were exposed in the highest levels of the US government, and
the seeming relentlessness with which the Soviet balloon was
expanding almost to its full size, the Kohlberg propaganda
outfit did a bang-up business. Until Nixon went to China,
Kohlberg and his confreres had the field pretty much to themselves,
and they made the most of it.
PRICE OF BETRAYAL
When it came time to recognize
the inevitable, and even their Washington sponsors could no
longer maintain the fiction of Taiwanese "independence,"
the China lobby was ready with the Taiwan Relations Act as
the price of betrayal. It would be an amicable divorce, but
the obligation on our part would never end: it was a de
facto annexation dressed up as a bill of divorcement.
What is so delightful about Chou is that he has ripped the
mask off the formalized pretensions and airs of the Taiwanese
leadership, who pay lip service to the patriotic myth of One
China. By being more royalist than the king, by openly naming
and advocating what has in fact been the program of the ruling
clique in Taipei all along, he underscores the inevitable
logic of Empire with every word he utters. "If we were
a state, our most serious problem security would
be solved," says Chou. "The current government can't
solve it; neither can the opposition. But statehood can."
CONGRESSIONAL MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM
for one, am in favor of it. For one thing, we won't have to
give them any seats in Congress they already have more
than enough. Between Ben Gilman and Jesse Helms, that alone
is enough congressional firepower to shoot down any incoming
political missile. The Democrats would no doubt back the idea,
if not in the name of "human rights' and "inclusiveness,"
then because the Republicans in Congress have so alienated
both Taiwanese and mainlanders in their persecution of Chinese-American
scientists (such as the unfortunate Wen Ho Lee) that these
voters will be driven into the waiting arms of the DNC.
SPARK THAT WENT OUT
dormant at the grassroots level, the China Lobby is trying
to make a comeback, although nothing like the first time around.
With the Cold War just a memory, and dreams of reviving it
not quite a reality, the crusading fervor and sense of outrage
is lacking. While the mighty "Committee of One Million"
against the admission of "Red China" to the United
Nations engineered by the energetic ex-Communist-turned-conservative
Marvin Liebman in the 1950s was a huge political and
financial success, today's China lobby is a pale shadow of
its storied past. David Horowitz's outfit, the "Committee
for a Non-Left Majority" (CNLM) which specializes
in scare stories about Chinese "subversion, has turned
out to be a non-starter. Announced as an ambitious plan to
raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to promote the cause
of more military spending and warmongering in the Republican
party, the CNLM started out with high expectations. In preparation
for the bales of cash he expected to rake in, Horowitz made
sure that the online form contributors have to fill out lists
the smallest contribution at $1000. But from the sad
and somewhat abandoned look of the CNLM website the
only thing that has changed beyond the initial postings a
month ago is the date Horowitz's "Hate China"
campaign seems to have fizzled out before it ever began. The
Spark, as the CNLM calls its online newsletter, has failed
to catch fire.
with the illogic of their own position, which mandates war
on behalf of the breakaway province of Taiwan but not
in the cause of the breakaway province of Kosovo, many if
not most conservatives show every sign of learning the main
lesson of the post-Cold War era: they always knew Communism
didn't work. Now they are learning that all form of
globalism are similarly flawed.
NOW OR NEVER!
am perfectly serious about the prospect of Taiwan statehood.
If the people of Taiwan are going to fall under the protection
of US armed forces, if we are bound to them forever because
of a treaty authored and signed by none yet living, even against
our own strategic and economic interests, then let them help
pay for it. If the United States government is going to make
life and death decisions for the people of Taiwan, then let
them have a voice and a vote in their fate.
My answer to Taipei's amen-corner in the US, conservative
"anti-Communists" who demand that Taiwan must be
recognized as independent from China and that the US must
guarantee it, is identical to the one given by the redoubtable
Colonel Robert Rutherford McCormick, the "isolationist"
(i.e. pro-American) publisher of the Chicago Tribune,
when he took up the cudgels against those Anglophiles in America
who pushed for a Trans-Atlantic pact, whether it be the UN,
NATO, or the "Union Now" movement for merger with
Great Britain. His editorial, entitled "States Across
the Sea' [April 25, 1943], reads as if it were written yesterday:
it is difficult to see why those who say their goal is integration
of the free peoples have consistently neglected the most obvious
method of achieving it, and the one that would be most readily
acceptable to the American people." No need to form transnational
alliances and sign endless treaties, "the method is found
in the Constitution of the United States," specifically
the provisions of article IV, "which are not all that
onerous." It's really very simple, he explained, "all
they need do is adopt written constitutions and apply for
membership and all we need do is accept them as we once accepted
Texas." Great Britain, he suggested, could be admitted
as four states: England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. McCormick
despised the Eastern Anglophile elite whom he blamed for dragging
us into two world wars, and took great pleasure in his needling.
He caused an international uproar when he wrote: "Certainly
the handkissers and Tories in this country should welcome
the closer relationship if only because it would strengthen
their representation in Congress. They should look forward
pleasurably to more intimate social and political ties with
their English friends, particularly as the new relationship
would be one of equals."
I say, with the Colonel: let Taiwan petition Congress for
admission to the Union. Surely they can count on their good
friends Ben Gilman and Jesse Helms to push it through. But
why stop with Taiwan? Kosovo, too, deserves some consideration:
after all, didn't Bill Clinton go there and pledge that we
would not abandon the Kosovar people? Or are we going to be
guilty of the horrible sin of "discrimination? And what
about the rest of our protectorates around the globe? Israel,
Egypt, Colombia, and Kuwait are they to be left out
in the cold?
this would change the political and social composition of
the "American" electorate, but perhaps it will be
for the better. With so many Muslims incorporated into the
SuperUSA, American conservatives may live to see prayer in
the public schools. (Will they change their minds when their
children are asked to face Mecca?)
GOT THE WHOLE WORLD IN HIS HANDS
this multicultural stew will please the Left: not only will
we have an administration that "looks like America,"
but an "America" that looks like the world. Indeed,
America, at this rate, will become the world, with
only a few "rogue" states holding out for independence.
And this, as Murray Rothbard pointed out in a famous essay,
is the ultimate endpoint and logical goal of the interventionists:
the annexation of the entire earth!
PILE OF BONES
mad "logic" of interventionism leads us straight
down the well-trod path of empire, a road littered with the
bones of Romans, Englishmen, and others guilty of the same
fatal hubris. They thought they could rule the world, when
they could not even begin to control themselves and their
own worst impulses. Will we end up on the side of the same
road, a sad pile of bones weathered by wind and sun?