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Dec 3, 2009

Obama, the US, the M.E., and Taiwan

The Obama's decision to double down for a year in Afghanistan, before trying to set up SOME functional central and local governments before we inevitably and finally get the #%^@ out of Dodge, was pretty predictable. Progressives were disappointed, and Conservatives get to use the word "quagmire" for once.

But the "surge" call reinforces my belief that the US is so deeply involved in these ugly, costly wars in the Middle East that most of the East Asia agenda is on hold for now, and our priorities for that region are shifting in the mean time.

I feel that by the time the US really has the inclination to turn an eye to the Taiwan issue again, they'll have written-off the effort to maintain the island's ever-dwindling de facto independence as a lost cause.

This, of course, reinforces that the Taiwanese must actively take their destiny into their own hands. But now, they must do so with one guy aimed at them and little int he way of reinforcements. That's a delicate place to be.


Raj said...

TBH there's not much that Obama can do. He can't pull out of Afghanistan in short notice - that would create mayhem.

Taiwan's just unlucky to be in dispute with a super-big, super-important country like China and its best friend to have so many responsibilities that its hard to focus on just one.

Anonymous said...

I disagree. I sleep better at night knowing a country like the United States has the courage to confront a totalitarian regime like the Taliban or a criminal maniac like Saddam Hussein.

Robert R. said...

But neither Saddam or the Taliban were much of a threat. And they only take on the "easy" regimes, not the tough ones like China, Sudan, Myanmar, etc.
(not that I want invasions of any of those countries)...

Shane said...

I didn't say Saddam or the Taliban were a threat to America (though I believe, to varying extents, they were).

I said I slept well knowing that there may be a superpower which is liberal enough, with balls big enough, to use force not just to defend itself, but to unshackle millions of people living the most desperate lives in the world (next to those in North Korea).

Anonymous said...

The United States supplied the criminal maniac of which you speak with biological and chemical weapons in the 1980s for its war with Iran... and which was also used to murder countless Kurds. Think about that before you sleep soundly tonight.

And another thing, the United States acts in its best economic and strategic interests. It does not give a flying fuck about those millions of people living under oppression. If it did, it would not have supported authoritarian regimes throughout the world including the Koumintang ROC when it was repressing the Taiwanese. In other words, its okay for our friends to oppress their people, but not our enemies.

阿牛 said...

No one is presuming that the US is acting on anything other than its perceived self-interest, or that the US has been pretty bad at advancing its real interests lately.