Share this

May 12, 2009

Shelley Rigger, making sense

I missed this panel discussion last January, but I found this answer from Shelley Rigger on the whole Taiwan/China/ethnicity/sovereignty question to be good. I really couldn't say it any better myself:

Shelley Rigger: Yes, I would just thank Mike for making those points because I think that's really important. And we need to understand, and I didn't do a very good job of explaining why people in the DPP and throughout Taiwan's society have such suspicions. And your mention of Steve Chen's speech in London, I mean, there were some really old school KMT talk in that speech, so yes.

But I guess what I would say is that this is precisely why it's so important for the DPP to get its act together and to figure out what it wants to -- where it wants to position itself and how it wants to position itself, particularly in relation to Chen Shui-bian because having a strong opposition in Taiwan and having a very clear and a resolute voice for this other point of view is, it is essential to raise the cost to Beijing of erring on the side of overreaching.

And I think one of the biggest perils Taiwan faces is for the Beijing government to sort of become complacent and to think well, we don't have to make these concessions. We can insist on the comma because the Taiwan side is not going to put up a fight. So when the Taiwan side does put up a fight, whether the society or the leadership, that drives home the point that it's not going -- it's not easy and that Beijing is not going to get everything it wants.

And I guess that's my -- as someone who has done a lot of work on the DPP and cares very deeply about it, my anxiety comes, in part, from the feeling that they need to get their act together so that they can play that role as successfully as they need to because these are perilous times.

Donald Rogers later makes what has to pass for a great insight, since so few commentators are making it:
You know, it's a difficult thing. The last thing I would say about this, and Lien, when he was, through his years, actually, has advocated this notion of moving from zero sum to win-win, that we can move from a zero sum, kill-each-other game, to a win-win game in negotiations and relations between China and Taiwan. That is possible within certain parameters. In other words, good economic relations certainly can help both sides.

But in the end, the Chinese want and will accept only one thing, and that is the
unification, the absorption, or whatever term you want to use of Taiwan into China. And so the win-win can be a win in short term, narrow terms, but in the big term, in the big sense, it's almost impossible to envision a win-win at the present time, with the attitudes of people in Taiwan versus the attitudes of the Beijing government. And so this concession thing fits into that. Maybe we can get these small concessions, but it's not what we really are looking for.

No comments: