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War or Peace Over TAIWAN?(一)

作者:神马 整理:本网站论文网 录入时间:2011-12-13 23:07:43

  The likelihood of a military conflict in the Taiwan Strait,not soon but afterone or two decades,may be judged by answers to several questions:1)Will China'stop politicians discount the high cost of using force to assert their claim to Taiwan?(This may be unlikely until after the first decade of the new millennium ,butit more probably could happen after the year 2010.)

  2)At an earlier time ,in the near future ,do mutually beneficial termsexist for an interim truce across the strait,allowing a period of political evolutionon both sides that would enable a peaceful full settlement later?

  3)Even if mutually rewarding terms for such a truce exist,do the elitesin Taipei and Beijing have structures that can bring them actually to negotiateit?

  4)Would Taiwan's defense capabilities at each relevant time be able(or unable)to deter the most likely kind of attack against the island,which could perhapsbegin with marine mines and Beijing's announcement of an economic blockade?

  5)Would the United States help defend the island at those times,even ifChina evolves a more open political system and/or offers Taiwan conditions for aunification with autonomy that would be credibly enforceable and stable ?

  Leaders of the People's Republic of China (PRC )have never forsworn use ofthe People's Liberation Army(PLA )to assert their claim of ownership againstthe Republic of China (ROC )。This essay will argue,however,that fair termsexist for an interim truce lasting several decades.To give the reader a sense ofthis essay's direction,possible terms of such a truce can be suggested beforethe reasons for them are explored :The unofficial negotiating agencies of thetwo sides might agree that Taipei forswear declaring independence from China,andBeijing forswear pursuing force against Taiwan,for a long time(such as 50years)。To head off misunderstandings about truce violations,they could note a third party'slist of countries with which each side claims current diplomatic liaisons ,withoutfully legitimating these.The unofficial negotiating "foundations"could reaffirmtheir present commitments to continue talks toward further agreements.This essaywill also argue ,however,that crucial leaders in both Taiwan and China gainshort-term domestic political benefits from cross-straits tensions.So in practice,they are unlikely to negotiate even a temporary truce.Under these circumstances,the United States will probably help to defend Taiwan's democracy as such untileither Beijing also becomes democratic or offers Taipei very credibly enforceableterms under which Taiwan's democracy could be maintained within a unified China.But because of America's broader global interests —and major concrete interestsin the mainland's potential democracy —if Beijing offers Taipei terms for unificationwith practical autonomy that can be credibly enforced by multiple means includingthe island's army ,then America's leaders are likely to consider their commitmentto Taiwan fulfilled.The US premise that China and Taiwan will resolve their disputein peaceful negotiations,however,is increasingly na ?ve.So the US may be drawninto a war whose effect would be to keep Taiwan politically separate from China.That would be a disservice to America's larger democratic and security interests.Exploration of the five questions listed above will show the shape of this situation.1)Will China's Leaders Use Force to Continue their Taiwan Claim?

  This first question is easy to answer ,because Beijing's leaders have alreadyused force symbolically to assert this interest several times ,as in 1995and1996when they held military exercises and fired missiles near Taiwan.They oftenavow a national right to take Taiwan with force ,not just symbolically.Further,Beijing politicians predict in public that their influence over world politics willgrow in coming decades.Even though they no doubt exaggerate the rate of increaseof their power,in the long run they are probably right.China is finally "awakening,"as the adage says.The PRC now has an economy more than four times the size ofTaiwan's,expanding haltingly but quickly.It has a population 60times that ofthe island,and a territory more than 260times larger.The growth of China's economicproduct has been faster than of its military power,but China will become relativelystronger in the world during coming decades ,partly because of its economic size.Beijing leaders'proud expectation of this change is a basis for possible PRC patienceabout resolving its territorial claim on Taiwan.It is also the basis of a certaintyin Beijing that Taiwan must some day become part of the Chinese state.The timingand speed of China's future empowerment for specific purposes can be subject todifferent reasonable estimates.Many scholars -including some in both Beijing andTaipei -expect China to remain clearly unable to use force to assert its Taiwanclaim for more than a decade at least.Recent journalism in Taipei cites the date2010as a likely time of crisis in island-mainland relations.By about that time,many researchers of various political viewpoints think China's military shortcomingswill have changed to strength vis-à-vis Taiwan (though not vis-à-vis the UnitedStates)。China's ability to raise the non-military costs to countries aiding Taiwan—even if the PRC's own costs are greater —will also rise.,in Japan or Indonesia)could alter this prospectus somewhat.But by some period after 2010,China willbecome able to assert its Taiwan claim far more effectively than at present.Thiseffectiveness is delayed currently by specific military difficulties the PLA wouldface in winning a conflict it might start ,by US knowledge of the PRC's illiberalism,and by Taiwan's military and economic prowess.The near-certainty of China's future"superpower"status does not mean that the wishes of its leaders will then prevailautomatically.As the US discovered in Somalia and earlier in Vietnam ,superpowersare not always supremely effective.But Beijing's top politicians think over timethey will become increasingly capable of realizing their wishes in their own neighborhood.If China becomes relatively stronger and if PRC politics pluralizes ,other powerssuch as Japan and the US can be expected to weigh their overall interests in decidingwhether to commit resources to oppose Beijing then.The US will pay these coststo defend Taiwan's liberals irrespective of any increase of PRC strength,but notafter Chinese politics become more representative or the PRC offers Taiwan a dealfor political autonomy within China whose terms can be guaranteed by Taiwan's ownforces.Some on Taiwan hope that Beijing may eventually rescind its assertion thatthe island is Chinese.Taiwan nationalists cite the fact that post-revolutionaryRussians allowed the Soviet empire to break up,although few outside observershad predicted this.But barely half the people in the USSR were Russian.In China,over nine-tenths are ethnically Han —as are Taiwanese(by language ,kinship structure,religion,and other anthropological measures )。The chance that PRC elites willforget this is extremely low,now that they think their power will increase.Thisprediction that the China's claim will continue does not necessarily presume theCommunist Party will rule in Beijing for a long time.The Party may go on ,orit may be over.But practically all mainland elites -in government or in dissent-agree that Taiwan is Chinese.Very few in the PRC challenge this view.Taiwan'srecent democratization is seen by some mainland conservatives as a threat to theirown status that requires a continuance of Chinese claims to Taiwan.Mainland reformists,however ,may view Taiwan's democratization as important only if the island isChinese.Many in China are keenly envious of Taiwan's economic,political,andcultural successes.Taiwan's TV comedians and torch singers (e.g.,in the pastthe late Theresa Teng Li-ch ün )were surely worth an aircraft carrier group.But this PRC awareness of Taiwanese wealth and freedom probably undermines the CommunistParty ,more than it persuades mainlanders that Taiwan is not Chinese.State patriotismhas historically come in many forms ,and in China (like Germany,Russia ,andJapan )nationalism has generally been collectivist and authoritarian.In Taiwan,with its traditions of rough pioneering on an island that was put under rice cultivationby Hans only a few centuries ago without help from the Chinese state,authorityamong local leaders has been more individualistic than in north China especially.The Beijing-centrism of most PRC intellectuals,by contrast,strikes many Taiwaneseas a severe affliction.The Taiwanese people,according to a foreign scholar ,increasingly "detest the bigots from Beijing,who think that being born in theshadow of the Forbidden City gives them the right to boss around Chinese peopleeverywhere."About 1.2billion Chinese,however,do not live in Beijing ,eventhough attitudes in the PRC government scarcely reflect this fact.Popular mainlandviews as surveyed by questionnaires show that ordinary PRC citizens'views of state(guojia)and nation (minzu )are dividing very slowly.Nationalisms are allcontested ;and Liah Greenfeld shows they change because of "ressentiment,"aprocess by which one group envies what another has.If this drift in China is sluggishwhile PRC military strength rises ,war might win its race with envy.Chinese constructtheir national identity continuously and in many ways.Mainland entrepreneurs ,Southerners ,and just a few of China's dissidents (those who have given up hopesof careers in Beijing )press for unification with Taiwan less ardently than militarists,Northerners ,and statist intellectuals.Still ,this is mainly a difference ofapproach,a tactical disagreement rather than a strategic policy difference.Manyaspects of this issue about China's possible use of force against Taiwan can berephrased in a question about domestic PRC politics.Will growth-oriented reformistsOR patriotic conservatives dominate in Beijing?This factor seems to vary overtime,and it is likely to set the maximum terms that Beijing will consider forunification.When such terms are sufficiently favorable to peace,they could giveTaiwanese leaders a chance to solve the island's security problem.Alternatively,at a time when Beijing's xenophobic conservatives may be in power ,this factorcould mean blockades,the mining of ports,and other attacks against Taiwan.Thedirect costs of such actions by the PLA may be decreasing ,and the less certainbut high indirect costs may be irrationally discounted by PRC leaders who are ferventpatriots.This variable could be sufficient to bring long-term(25+years )Chinesesovereignty on Taiwan ,although it would not do so in the short term(c.5+years)。

  Reformists are currently in charge of PRC practical administration.PresidentJiang Zemin heads a rather uncharismatic group of technocrats ,and Premier ZhuRongji's most public interests are economic.Taiwan raises issues of patriotic identity,however.These leaders are rationalists ,and they may have some tendency to delayunification with Taiwan until they think the process can be cost-effectively engineered.But some authorities in Beijing or their patrons in the PLA could underestimatethe costs of war against Taiwan.Nationalistic zealotry (which among the classiczealots led to deaths at Masada )is also evident in statements by fervent Taiwanesenationalists.Vilfredo Pareto ,in his work about the circulation of elites,explainswhy a distinction between hardline conservatives and flexible reformers is a hardyperennial of all politics.Lion-vs.-fox politics is not limited to economic andtechnical matters ;it also affects identity.Growth-oriented PRC reformist elites(Southern,local-entrepreneurial,and some technocratic leaders)may come torepresent a greater diversity of their huge country.If that process continues,Taiwan might later be able to get along well with a mainland stronger than itself.These are the most probable eventual conditions of peace,and negotiations forit is most likely when the Beijing side is composed of technocratic reformists.If so ,the next question would concern the presence or absence of conceivablespecific terms.2)Do Mutually Beneficial Terms Exist for a Preliminary Truce ?

  On the mainland ,most people are not eager for a war against Taiwan.On theisland,roughly four-fifths of the people wish to leave the question of Chineseor Taiwanese ultimate sovereignty undecided for a long time.These stances are compatiblewith a temporary truce between Taipei and Beijing ,by which the mainland wouldnot pursue force while the island would not pursue independence during a cooling-offperiod.Their unofficial foundations might agree to note a third party's list ofcurrent diplomatic ties (without legitimating these formally ),so that neitherside could later claim the other was breaking the truce because of old diplomacy.Cross-straits negotiations on all other topics could be more fruitful if a "timeout"were called on both the island's implicit threat of non-Chinese sovereigntyand the mainland's military threat.If a truce were to be negotiated,which agenciescould do that ?For once ,the answer is easy :Unofficial foundations representingeach side already exist ,and they regularly contact each other(often by fax)。They can do so only because they studiously avoid all questions of sovereignty anddipomatic status.They are the PRC's nominally non-governmental Association forRelations Across the

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