Monday, March 14, 2005

They've gone and done it

China's new "anti-secession" law, which provides to the moral cowards who run the PRC a statutory justification for a war they'll probably never have the courage to launch, will provoke some concerned murmuring in Washington, some hot rhetoric in Taipei, and lots of bilious propaganda in Beijing. Beyond that, what's it likely to change?

I'll argue somewhat cavalierly that only the following events can cause meaningful change in the Strait:
  • China develops into a liberal democracy -- or, just as usefully, implodes;
  • The US decides to recuse itself from proceedings in the Pacific;
  • Taiwan declares formal independence without the US' blessing; or,
  • Taiwan, in a fit of national psychosis, agrees to unify with China
That's a pretty narrow set of circumstances -- which is why we're at an impasse to begin with -- and China's masturbatory legislative process has nothing to do with any of it. Hu Jintao will daydream a little more boldly now about ordering a missile strike on the Presidential Office, about putting that little demagogue Chen Shui-bian out of his splittist misery, but daydreaming is as far as he'll get.

All that said, I look forward to March 26 -- when Chen has called for a million people to pour into Taipei's streets to protest the "anti-secession" law. A banner day for Taiwanese identity! I'd thought that Chen could ride that pony no further for the moment, but here comes reliable old China to the rescue, figuring out yet again how to antagonize the Taiwanese people, proving as if more proof were needed that Beijing doesn't know democracy from jelly doughnuts.

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