在美國總統大選中，唐納‧川普（Donald Trump）打敗了希拉蕊‧柯林頓（Hillary Clinton），獲得出乎意料卻決定性的勝利。台灣能否重回國際社會，成為受重視的一員，取決於台灣人如何看待此事，這是個微小卻重要的一步。
10 NOVEMBER 2016 ARTHUR WALDRON FOR UPMEDIA TAIWAN
Another in the series of small but important steps that will bring Taiwan back as a respected member of the international community—that above all is how people in Taiwan should understand the unexpected but decisive victory of Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in yesterday’s presidential election.
We are about to see a complete change of characters in Washington. From Taipei’s point of view, most important will be the final departure from the government and from influence of those who, in their hearts, wished Taiwan would disappear somehow in order to improve United States relations with China.
The influence of such people has been clear, most recently, in the South China Sea, where the commanding Admiral wanted to do far more to warn and constrain China—but was ordered by President Obama not to. We do not yet know who will be Mr. Trump’s security team, but they will have little time for such public announcements of weakness (though Obama, not understanding, saw his actions as gestures seeking peace).
Two Carrier Strike Groups are already in the region. My expectation is that they will now start to move: sailing through waters China has illegally claimed, as the International Court made clear. Some in China will want to attack these American forces, but that would be madness.
As Liu Yazhou 流亞洲 son in law of the late 李先念 has recently written in 當代世界, hate the Japanese as he does, “the Japanese navy [as it is right now] is capable of sinking the entire Chinese East Sea Fleet in four hours.” As Liu notes, this is “not a joke” but an important fact. If that is what Japan can do now imagine what devastation two US Carrier Strike Forces could wreak!
This fact-- that although China sees herself as strong (and she is stronger than ever before though still not strong enough to take on Japan)—frames the new context that will govern Taiwan’s future.
Taiwan will no longer be a solitary and isolated place, shunned by countries free and unfree alike, humiliated by the United States in small and big ways. The reason is that American Asian policy making will no longer contain the damaging faction that counsels: “It is all about China. Sooner or later Beijing and Washington will be fast friends,” as we planned during the Nixon Administration almost fifty years ago.
The truth is dawning that in 1969, when today’s policies began, the mighty Soviet Army had just deployed along China’s borders, which in those days included the southern border of Mongolia, a state run from Moscow. Had war broken out, the USSR would have inflicted a terrible defeat, not so much on China, but as on the then still living Mao Zedong and his Party. Beijing eventually calculated that a tactical alliance with the US was the best option: better than mending fences with Moscow. Taiwan became a problem, an obstacle, as one US Admiral put it with supreme crudeness “the turd in the punchbowl” of US-China relations which without Taiwan would be smooth and problem free. Hence the Nixon diplomacy, which continued to exert influence, albeit more and more wraith-like, until Trump’s victory was clear.
This American diplomacy –which sought eventually to force Taiwan to join China--isolated the island; it closed her out of important deliberations; it took her for granted—in a few words it pulled her by the roots from her immediate Asian environment, where she has such importance, instead placing her into a kind of diplomatic Twilight Zone. Now with China actively harassing and attacking her neighbors, Taiwan must be brought into the picture once again.
I expect the Trump administration to lift a host of insulting and needless restrictions that prohibit the flying of the ROC flag, that prevent Taiwan diplomats from having regular or even any meetings with our top officials, and prevent those same officials from visiting Taipei (Mr. Kissinger has of his own accord never set foot on Taiwan. He tells friends he would “have to check first with my Beijing hosts”). The end of this pettiness is in sight.
More seriously, the defense of Taiwan will now be addressed professionally. Even the outgoing administration was beginning to worry: they urged Taiwan to “pay more attention to security” after decades of supplying random near-obsolete American equipment at high price, while somehow never considering aircraft, submarines, deterrence—the key issues (and all the time depending upon Taiwan for China intelligence).
Most importantly, the new administration will begin to normalize relations with Taiwan, a difficult task given all the plethora of misguided pledges we have made to China, treating her manner of factly, just like Japan or Korea or Indonesia or India or Singapore, or any number of other countries that are also gradually forming Asia’s new security network. Taiwan will join the club.
Now we may expect realism about China, Russia, Taiwan, and a host of other issues. Trump is a businessman. He dreams no sugarplum drams. He can detect the flaws and traps concealed in sweet sounding talk. But when he makes a deal, it is on the level: you give, I give. If we agree, neither of us violates the agreement. “Atmosphere” and “good feelings” have no more place in his way of thinking about international politics than they do in his cold-eyed assessment of the true worth of a building for sale.
The most likely immediate challenges: Korea, the South China Sea, Hong Kong, and for Taiwan in particular: who will visit first? The secretary of state or defense? If Trump chooses instead to send a worthy person who long ago held high office, then the optimism I have expressed so far should be doubted.
The deadlock will be ended in government between those who are very soft and nice with China, hoping to win friendship, and those who think newly militaristic China must be warned and deterred now before it is too late. China’s dreams of hegemony and power over Asia must be put to bed.
The new policy will most likely start with a strong secretary of state who lacks illusions. The last offices at Foggy Bottom and elsewhere held by the pro-China types, will soon be packed up as they depart.
The surprise: China will react with acceptance dusted with a bit of simulated outrage—they have no interest in alienating Mr. Trump. They are furthermore realists, though they constantly test the limits of what they can get away with.
So: a few more important steps toward rejoining the world for the impressive democracy of Taiwan, a country with a higher educational level and a far lower poverty rate than the United States. An unexpectedly acquiescent attitude from China. Stronger regional security, Taiwan included; a greater likelihood of peace and thus of the prosperity that China not least still so desperately needs. And the final exit of Washington’s China dreamers, who still chase the chimera of Beijing-Washington alliance. They will be replaced by China realists who want peace and mutual benefit, but will not stand for cheating or empty talk.
Viewed from my office at the University of Pennsylvania,, from which Mr. Trump graduated forty eight years ago, the prospects are good. No miracles, but steady progress propelled by intelligent and realistic policies.
Lauder Profesor of International Relations
Department of History
208 College Hall
University of Pennsylvania