S. 4428 will be a major undertaking by Congress on foreign policy at a very critical juncture of world security. The bill contains nine titles with a long draft text boiling down to three main points. First, Congress wish to support Taiwan diplomatically, militarily and economically. Second, Congress tempt to violate the One China Principle (which is the foundation of the U.S.-China official diplomatic relations). Third, Congress explain the justification of the bill’s legitimacy in the name of U.S. interests, value and security concern (in view of China’s rising influence in the world). As a Chinese American who has witnessed the evolution of U.S.-China relations since 1949 and how the U.S. has acted on major foreign relations (for example, siding with U.K. and suppressing N. Ireland separatists pursuing independence and siding with Ukraine against Russia’s defending Russian speaking Ukrainians from discrimination), this author feels that S. 4428 has no legs to stand on justice nor on American value and interest. Mainland-Taiwan unification has been a Chinese domestic issue since 1949, but Mainland China had never attacked Taiwan in the past 72 years other than a skirmish in 1996 provoked by the U.S. (permitting then Taiwan’s pro-independence ‘President’ Lee Deng Hui visiting the U.S. - stepping across the redline of the above cited One China Principle.) Mainland China has allowed Taiwan to transform politically towards democracy in the past three decades so long as Taiwan recognizes One China Two Systems Principle. The draft text of S. 4428 essentially tells us that the U.S. has adopted a double standard. (Her support of U.K. against N. Ireland seeking independence versus supporting Taiwan’s separatists and turning a peaceful Taiwan Strait into a war zone.) The Congress must carefully analyze the changing world (the rapidly changing foreign affairs and changing views of the global citizens) and understand what are the real interests of the U.S. that can be realistically pursued or maintained. S. 4428 would actually hurt the U.S. interest, if executed, based on careful assessment of the pros and cons of this foreign policy. In this paper, the author presents his view on why our Congress should focus on U.S. domestic issues (infrastructure, energy, revitalization of manufacturing industries, etc.) rather than promoting S.4428 - ideologically driven with no clear evidence of being beneficial to the interest of the U.S.
The present U.S.-China relations is no doubt falling off a cliff. By an honest assessment, the U.S. was the initiator of the escalating tension, if we put vague “ideological’ differences aside. China never exported or advocated as much ‘my way’ as the U.S. did to the rest of the world. China focuses on self-development and lifting her people’s living condition from poverty to middle class - a no fault and admirable goal. China has risen to be the second largest economy by being diligent in manufacturing (productivity) and trading (business relations), eventually becoming a major trading partner with over 136 countries or regions. This is a fact today, not just a possibility, for anyone to deny. No doubt China and the U.S. will continue to develop which will make two nations to compete for world resources, talents, and capitals. This puts pressure on both China and the U.S. Again no doubt, the U.S. desires to maintain her number one world leadership position, measured by economical power not military power. (Evidence: the collapse of the mighty military Soviet Union was due to her failure in economy.) The U.S. Administration of course recognizes the current situation, hence is under pressure to revitalize her economy and to impede China’s fast development in order to compete or keep up with China’s continuous growth in economy (China will compete in military power as well if she is threatened or provoked by U.S. military actions or from other nations, but China and the U.S. should bear the Soviet collapse as a lesson.) It is based on the above reasonable logic, we analyze whether the U.S. Congress should work on S. 4428. The Administration although not yet taken a clear position on S. 4428, but it’s current China Policy charged with bias and hostility is encouraging Congress to waste its energy on S. 4428.
S. 4428 is a provocative plan using China’s domestic separatist problem to de-stable China and impede China’s economic development and wishfully hoping to gain U.S. economic growth. The bill contains three major acts, pertaining to political, military and economic goals. We shall analyze these three arrows and conclude why Congress should stop working on this bill:
- Political Arrow
Basically the U.S. is trying to renege on the One China Principle by encouraging, promoting even helping the separatist Taiwan government to engage in international organizations where Mainland China is the legal representative. This arrow may provoke the CCP government and its 1.4 billion people but it will not give Taiwan much real benefits since China enjoys the support of the majority of the UN membership making any such political attempt (arrow) futile. In fact, it will waste the U.S. resources and political capital and hurt the U.S. own political standing on the world stage since the effort more than likely will fail. The people on Taiwan are tired of the humiliation and spending to buy a few votes in any such useless political maneuver, for example seeking membership in WHO, RCCP, etc. People in Taiwan have also become wiser with the following rhetoric question: if the U.S. were so helpful, why didn’t she just recognize ROC, which the U.S. did recognize before 1979. The U.S. would have to spend enormous diplomatic resources to lobby Allie’s support to push for this political attempt, but SEATO, EU even South Korea and Japan had already showed resistance since they wisely recognize that there was no historical ground to stand on nor any political brownie point to gain but economic loss.
2. Economic Arrow
This bill contains an economic plan to impede China’s development and to enhance the U.S. economy. The most critical plan is the technology sanction plan, starting a semiconductor or chip war. It is correct that semiconductor is a vital industry for the entire economy. However, expecting Taiwan (and S. Korea and Japan) to jeopardize their own semiconductor industries (which are heavily dependent on China’s enormous market), to move to the U.S. and help her to gain control of the world semiconductor business (supply chain) so she may choke China’s economic growth is as unrealistic as Aladdin’s lamp. The strong coupling of R/D/M of technology product with market/size/location is an outcome of economic principle. This arrow can only stimulate China to accelerate the development of her entire semiconductor supply chain to become self-reliant. China’s enormous market needs will draw world capital to come since a healthy investment return can be expected. On the contrary, the U.S. semiconductor industry could not recover easily since high-tech products are subject to sanctions to be exported to China and low-tech products face small domestic market size and price competition on low end products from China.
3. Military Arrow
S. 4428 contains a plan to sell military equipment to Taiwan in the name of providing Taiwan’s defense capability. The Pentagon and their military commanders have repeated warned that any Taiwan Strait War is to Mainland China’s advantage. Of course, selling military gear does bring revenue to the U.S. defense industry, to the size of $45B, but it is a drop in the bucket of the U.S. defense budget. Expecting people in Taiwan fighting to last soldier and citizen is a fantasy. Despite of DPP government’s tight control (propaganda, shutting down TV stations and enacting anti-spy laws), the Taiwanese media are full of proposals of peaceful solutions and rational analyses of island defense (difficulties, islands are easily crippled with insufficient reserve in energy and food under air and sea blockade). Same reason for U.S. carriers to stay 600 miles away from Taiwan Strait under the threat of missiles. The recent Pelosi’s visit to Taipei have essentially verified the above scenarios, making the PRC military exercise fait accompli in demonstrating how the PRC forces could easily cross the Strait median line and surround the entire Taiwan with real fire exercises for days extending to weeks.
Instead of working on S.4428, Congress should begin examining and exploring any win-win China Policy. For example, the U.S. still has advance leads in semiconductor design, software tools and a few key technologies. If the U.S. took an approach to partner with China in the semiconductor industry, say with a 49% : 51% or better partnership relationship, one can imagine what profit the U.S. will gain with a 49% participation in the Chinese semiconductor market. The U.S. advance technology companies will have the profit return to sustain high- tech R&D whereas China can have employment positions for her 1.4 billion people. This will keep a peaceful and mutually beneficial relationship for decades if not centuries. Likewise, in Electric Car industry, cooperation can yield benefits to both sides by efficiently using precious materials (RE), sharing engineering design (AI) to satisfy a global market and common standard. In aeronautics and space research, again cooperative benefits are plenty, joint space station program, collaboration on moon and Mars exploration as well as manufacturing airplanes and drones for transportation rather than war applications. Furthermore, in climate and healthcare areas, both nations could join hands to deal with drought, wild-fire and floods as well as joint research in medicine and healthcare to raise life expectancies.
In conclusion, the U.S. Congress should not waste time and energy to process S. 4428 to hurt itself, the arguments are easy to understand. Let the two great powers to cooperate for the benefit of mankind.