See A. Mantnieka Apgads , p. The Chinese on Taiwan deserve an opportunity for self-determination, to join the mainland or remain free of it as they wish. There is little doubt today that they would seek freedom from the mainland. On the other side of the impasse, the Chinese political tradition assumes that China is a single centralized state embracing all persons of Sinic culture, who are united under a common social order and a common political dispensation, with no exceptions.
This Chinese polity is the oldest continuous one which has survived among a single people since ancient times. The Son of Heaven has been supplanted since , with increasing vigor, by Sun Yat-sen, Chiang Kai-shek, and Mao Tse-tung in succession, each of whom has met certain old and certain new criteria while claiming the central personal role in reuniting China. This Chinese tradition of the unified empire, ruled from one central source which claims a monopoly of all political organization, is still a factor in Chinese politics.
As for thirty years past, it drives Chiang Kai-shek and the Nationalists to cling tenaciously to their claim to rule all China and so today to represent all China in the UN. It also motivates Peking to extirpate its rival. Previous changes of the ruling power in China have all seen a determined effort by the new rulers to annihilate any remaining vestiges of the preceding dynasty, no matter how long it might take or how feeble the defeated claimant to the central power might have become.
Thus the Mongols of the Yuan Dynasty finally wiped out the last Chinese claimant to the Sung throne off the southeast coast, in , the Chinese founders of the Ming Dynasty led their armies across steppe and desert to destroy the remnants of Mongol power before and after , and the Manchu conquerors who founded the Ming Dynasty demolished the last Chinese naval resistance, based on Taiwan, in , forty years after their seizure of Peking. In looking at Peking today, of course, we will be in error if we see only a repetition of the motifs of Chinese history, such as reunification under a new dynasty which merely "happens" to be Communist.
On the contrary, the age-old patterns have been disrupted and mixed into a new amalgam which is both Chinese and Communist. Modern nationalism and industrialization overlie the age-old ethnocentrism. The resulting revolution is comparable in scope and significance to the French or Russian revolutions--one of the "great" social changes of all time.
Not only are the Chinese almost a quarter of mankind situated in a strategic area: the uprooting and reshaping of their social, political, and economic institutions during the modern century have constituted one of the most arduous and cataclysmic processes in the whole human record, more change within a shorter span than anything ever experienced in the West.
Only a century ago China was still "all under Heaven," the immemorial center of culture and politics within the four seas of its known world. Within a lifetime this Middle Kingdom was invaded, humiliated, condemned as backward and proved impotent, while all the ancient balances of the Confucian family system and bureaucratic empire were upset and destroyed. Sun Yat-sen ruefully had to call his countrymen "a sheet of loose sand.
This disintegration and rebirth of Chinese state power in modern times has been neither easy nor kind, but we can no longer doubt that it has occurred. Riding the revolution, Peking now makes use of new forces as well as old, particularly a modern nationalism which is one of the strongest in all history anywhere. The explosive capacity of this new nationalism stems from the ingrained tradition of Chinese superiority and its frustration by repeated foreign humiliations and "semicolonial" subjection ever since the Opium War of The result has been, I think, to leave a deep sense of grievance in the Chinese mind, which the Communists can focus upon "foreign imperialism" and by distorting history the U.
Taiwan, for Peking's purposes, is a built-to-order irredentist grievance, an invaluable focus of patriotic anti-American resentment. What issue could be more spectacularly useful? Taiwan is 10, miles from the United States but only miles from the Chinese mainland. Far enough offshore to explain the mainland's not seizing it by force, it is still too close for strategic comfort or public apathy whenever Peking wants to sound the tocsin.
Its independence preserved only by our Seventh Fleet, Taiwan is a vivid reminder of earlier Japanese imperialism, a present self-proclaimed military threat, a constant challenge to Peking's prestige, a concrete example of American "imperialism" and its alliance with the "traitorous Chiang Kai-shek clique.
For us, the organized wrath of million people in China is not something to go out and seek; yet by our principles we have little alternative. It takes an effort of imagination for us to recognize what we are really defending and confronting in the Formosa Straits.
Our hardest task in evaluating the Peking regime and updating our policy is to transcend our experience of China in the past. The recent century of treaty port privileges and missionary benefactions has left us with happy memories of a China which, however, no longer exists. During the century from to the unequal treaties put the most ordinary American in the status of a member of the Chinese ruling class, not subject to local law or ordinary police action.
This arrangement helped our various forms of enterprise and subtly contributed to the charm of foreign life in China. Even the least responsible young seaman in Shanghai and the humblest missionary far in the interior had this superior status thrust upon them. Extraterritoriality let the foreigner buy and sell, preach and teach, travel and study, shielded from the reality of Chinese judicial practice, insulated from the normal despotism of the Chinese state.
From to that state was weak; now it is strong and again despotic. During the past century of backwardness and weakness vis-a-vis the West, China acquired a reputation for easygoing pacifism among the populace, corrupt incompetence among administrators, and general disorganization, which is no longer true.
Twenty centuries of training in bureaucratic government and Confucian ideological orthodoxy seem to have left the Chinese people susceptible to large-scale organization by modern totalitarian methods, even though our modern minded Chinese friends may deplore both the old laxness and the new rigor as unrepresentative of the best in the Confucian tradition.
If we can hardly overestimate the potential vigor and persistence of mainland opposition to our Taiwan policy, neither can we overlook the Stalin that Taiwan represents in power politics: it stands on the trade lanes to Japan and in Communist hands could mount sea-air power capable, with Russia, of squeezing the Japanese islands and their vital commerce.
The military potential of Japan, particularly its trained industrial manpower, once under Communist control could soon upset the world balance of power and oblige us to fight or acquiesce in Communist hegemony. Thinking along this line, one cannot help speculating whether the current relaxation of Far Eastern tension may not sometime be climaxed, dialectically, by a Communist squeeze play. Suppose that we continue to have no UN consensus mobilized in formal support of our Taiwan position.
Suppose that on a Saturday midnight Peking announces that the coastal islands now in Nationalist hands, Quemoy and Matsu, are part of the mainland, as any map will show, and that Soviet-built Chinese jets will provide air cover for an armed recovery operation, which is proclaimed to be no threat to Taiwan but only a local police action.
It is not altogether fanciful to suppose that this might leave us the alternatives of holding Quemoy and Matsu by dropping A-bombs again on Asians, thereby losing the rest of Asia from Fukien to Suez, or taking our loss by turning the other cheek. Such speculations suggest that our position in Taiwan, confronting mainland China's new Communist-led nationalism, is seriously exposed and isolated and may become steadily more vulnerable, so long as it stands on the one leg of American power and lacks the diplomatic support of other and particularly the Asian nations.
Indeed we cannot overlook the possibility that, as the mainland builds up, its power of attraction by promise and threat may undermine Taiwan's capacity for independence, which is an American conception, as I have tried to indicate, more than a traditional Chinese conception. Our policy failure today is less one of purpose than of execution, less the fault of diplomats than of national leadership and the public opinion it represents.
The extremist positions, that we can solve our Chinese problem with the toughness of a nucleated MacArthurism, or on the other hand merely by being friendly and admiring like the fellow travelers, are both bankrupt.
Yet a policy in the middle of the road is no good unless it goes forward. Our support of an independent Taiwan must rest on principles we hold in common with neutralist Asia. The first of these is self-determination: that if the Chinese of Taiwan so desire, they may remain independent of the rest of China. This is not an open-and-shut proposition.
By Peking it can be compared with the Confederate doctrine of secession rejected in our Civil War, and it is true that India in the case of Kashmir and Indonesia in western New Guinea Irian are opposing self-determination in their peripheral areas. Nevertheless on balance the new post-war democracies of non-Communist Asia cannot easily renounce this principle which gave them birth.
Its application to Taiwan is justified from another angle of practical morality: out of concern for the 10 million people there, whose standard of living, thanks to Japan's material development of the island, is undoubtedly higher than that of the mainland. Meanwhile the thousands of trained and patriotic administrators, scholars, and other leaders of modern China who are refugees with the Nationalist Government are a key group in world strategy--chief fruit of Chinese and also Western efforts at modernization, custodians of liberal values now spurned on the mainland, capable of training Chinese talent and pursuing scholarly studies on a non-Communist basis.
Theirs is the only Chinese government outside the Communist orbit, the only rallying point where free Chinese political institutions can be developed. Thus it is understandable that if the United States, because of deep political conviction, has nurtured Philippine independence, defended South Korea, and supported South Vietnam, we should similarly seek the independence of Taiwan, which has hardly been under mainland rule in this century.
For Taiwan to have self-determination, including the right to join the mainland if it wishes, is a concrete application of the general rule of law and government by consent on which our society is based and on which we hope the new multistate, international order can be based.
This view also expresses our belief in freedom and diversity rather than conformity. Why should there not be an alternative, albeit small, focus of Chinese political life, creative scholarship, and socioeconomic development, separate from the mainland? How will mankind be better served if all the cultural tradition and creative talent of the Chinese race are monopolized and manipulated from Peking? These questions, which need no asking in the United States, are intelligible to neutralist Asia and also to the Chinese trading communities of Southeast Asia.
But can this idea be realized in Asia, where even the strongest Western doctrines may wilt and wither? Chiang Kai-shek, it seems safe to predict from our very considerable experience, is not likely to accept our view any more than Mao Tse-tung's. He claims all China, nothing less. The eight years of Communist rule have been no longer to date than the eight years of the earlier Japanese occupation. He has survived both, and his supporters retain their hopes. Yet one thing is sure: if the Peking regime unexpectedly collapses, it is more likely to be followed by a new government born on the mainland than by an old government returning from Taiwan.
Perhaps we can agree realistically, as was decided during the Korean war, that no American policy can be dedicated to putting Chiang back on the mainland by force. We might well say so more explicitly. We hold a veto over his use of our aid to mount an assault. How do we engineer an independent Republic of Taiwan, guaranteed as such by the United Nations, when the ruler of Taiwan, the Nationalist Government, will have none of it and claims to rule all China?
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