Monday, May 09, 2005

Far Gone Green III

Chapter XV, in which Ms. Wang realizes that the U.S. is omnipotent and has limitless resources, but perversely declines to use these powers to build good and vanquish evil.

“Dictator Chiang Kai-shek's pro-Washington policy made it deliberately lenient about his atrocities curing the White Terror period.”That's not all: “Why do you (America) call for a war on terror but at the same time allow China, the world's greatest terrorist, to target 720 missiles at Taiwan and use oppressive terrorist tactics against political dissidents and Falun Gong practitioners?” But that's not all:“The strategy of the U.S. has always been two-faced. On the one hand, the U.S. supports regimes (even authoritarian ones) which are obedient to it, while on the other, it raises the banner of righteousness in seeking to obliterate hostile forces that are seeking national liberation.”

America does not have a“two-faced strategy". It has a foreign policy balanced between two poles stressing, respectively, realpolitik and promotion of democracy. "Allow China?" It's hard to see how the U.S. could get China to change these two policies quickly except through war. The U.S. doesn't want a war with China. Martial law era Taiwan? Iraq demonstrates just what a colossal expenditure of money,lives and diplomatic capital is involved in invading a state gone bad and trying to create a democratic culture almost from scratch. What the U.S. did do was make several overtures over the years to General Sun Li-ren about the possibilities for a coup. The time was never right, because Chiang's dictatorship was, in fact, quite efficient. Ultimately, Sun was purged for his contacts with the Americans. What was plausible in the way of change at the time was explored by the Americans and found not to be possible.

The Cold War involved a tilt toward the "pragmatic" in U.S. policy, but ultimately the "containment" strategy did manage to free the occupied peoples of Eastern Europe without a major, nuclear world war. Allying with regimes like Franco's Spain, Pinochet's Chile and Chiang's Taiwan represented a moral compromise, but in fact those regimes have subsequently been able to evolve into prosperous, democratic countries, while Russia, Cuba and Vietnam have not. What's striking about Ms. Wang's vision of how the U.S. should act is how sanguinary it is: War with China? Bring it on! Next week, no doubt, she'll be flying to Paris to wave a Palestinian flag and participate in a Peace March.