The big news since I landed in Melbourne that everyone wants an answer to is, “When do they begin bombing?” The answer everyone seems to want to hear, to quote senile American idiot and monkey-lover Ronald Reagan is, “We begin bombing in five minutes”. Sorry I can’t drop napalm on the whole mess in loving memory of Vietnam like the Australian International Airshow does. So for those of you who want answers from your local China/Taiwan expert, here’s the dirt: when the con-artist waves his hand in your face, his accomplice is lifting your cash.
Being an avid time-waster and purveyor of fine Asian smut, I’ve read about this crisis alot over the past few weeks by people far more qualified to discuss it than I’ll ever be, so in true blogging form I think you should follow the links. Failing that, here’s what Running Dog, always the clear voice of rational cynicism in a world of sugar-fuelled melodrama has to say:
China blusters and the world quakes
Rumours of an imminent cross-Strait conflict are exaggerated
WE AT Running Dog are prepared to bet our houses that the much-hyped Anti-Secession Law, which was passed by an ‘overwhelming majority’ of delegates at the National People’s Congress today (there were two abstentions – who were they?), will not lead to war with the rogue province of Taiwan. It isn’t so much the fact that the current leadership would have to be crazier than a squirrel monkey to risk conflict without any guarantee of victory, and nor is it entirely to do with the qualms the government will inevitably feel about becoming an international pariah after years of painstaking efforts to become an active member of the community of nations. In the end, our conclusions are formed on the basis of the almost hallucinogenic hysteria with which it has been greeted in certain sections of the international press.
Most of them say that the law amounts to a ‘declaration of war’. Most repeat the not entirely accurate assertion that the law was passed ‘a day after Hu Jintao told the military to prepare to war’. Most bring in experts and analysts and assorted rentaquotes to discuss what war would mean for the region, and unanimously, they conclude that it would be a Bad Thing.
For example, Associated Press hack Joseph Coleman puts forward the astonishing hypothesis that war ‘would be a severe blow to stability’. Meanwhile, despite the headline, ‘China votes for strike against Taiwan’, Reuters at least concedes that war is unlikely in the immediate term.
It seems obvious that the Anti-Secession Law is just another burst of bluster from the Chinese government, rather like the various statements implying that it would give up the Olympics in order to prevent Taiwanese independence. The perception of power is crucial, especially if it enables China to hector the Taiwanese electorate into voting Chen Shui-bian out. In any case, if China actually had the capability of attacking and defeating Taiwan, no one could seriously believe that they need a law to do so.