I Recognize Taiwan

Dec 12, 2016
By: Jerry A. Goodson
In: Politics

Taiwan is a country, and it's led by President Tsai Ing-wen.  There.  I said it.  Furthermore, I support it.  To hell with China.

I have all but completely worn out my East Asian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month t-shirt I got while I was stationed at Al Asad, Iraq in 2009.  Our brigade "Equal Opportunity Liaison" (EOL) had one job, and he took it quite seriously.  He scheduled some kind of major base-wide "flavor of the month" event that usually involved ordering t-shirts.  He would assign the equal opportunity leader (EO) from a different battalion to run the event.  I was the EO for the 2/142nd IN Bn, and I got the East Asian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

SSG Jerry A. Goodson MC for East Asian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month in Al Asad, Iraq, May 2009
SSG Jerry A. Goodson, 2/142IN Bn, MC for the East Asian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month Special Event
in May 2009

Yea, me.  Unlike the brigade EOL, I didn't have just one job.  Battalion EO was an additional duty appointment.  The EOL didn't seem to think so, however.  My additional duty was to serve the soldiers in my battalion and report to the battalion commander.  The EOL liked to think I worked for him.  

I had to give a presentation on East Asia/Pacific Islands.  The only thing I knew about Taiwan when given that assignment was where I read that little oval gold foil sticker on a lot of cheap toys I'd buy for the kids that said, "Made in Taiwan."

Of course, Taiwan was just one of many islands in East Asia, but my research on the country had me captivated.  The other countries in the region received a very brief overview, but the focus of my presentation was on Taiwan.

The small country has a substantially healthy economy, extremely low poverty level, and a low crime rate.  As well as the country is doing domestically, they face trouble on the international front... China.  Specifically, the One-China Policy.  Any nation that wants diplomatic relations with China must cut off any official relations with Taiwan.

The U.S. has gone along with China since 1979 because President Nixon wanted diplomatic relations with China, and he signed the agreement.  China has laid claim to the country for decades, and in the interest of U.S.-China relations, we have gone along with it.  

Taiwan was one of the original founders of the United Nations, but upon China's insistence, Taiwan was expelled from the Union.  The U.S. ceased official recognition of Taiwan as a sovereign nation by working with a private company as a liaison between the U.S. government and the Taiwanese government.  The Taiwanese Government has fought for official recognition from the rest of the world, and has yet to obtain it.  

On a side note:  A good way to gain favor with military officers and senior enlisted personnel does not include spelling out what's wrong with U.S. foreign policy in a presentation that's supposed to promote an image of equal opportunity.  

Taiwan has always been "out of sight, out of mind" on the diplomatic front.  I imagine most people in the U.S. were just as oblivious as I was to U.S.-Taiwan relations until the infamous phone call between President-elect Donald Trump and Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen a couple of weeks ago.  

China is upset about the phone call, and have lodged complaints with the Obama administration.  China has threatened economic sanctions if the U.S., under the Trump administration, pursues official diplomatic relations with Taiwan.  That has sparked some concern in the big business and industry sector as well as outrage from the DNC.  All of that is understandably so, as there would be a substantial initial negative impact on the U.S. economy should China follow through on their threats.

Beyond the economic impact, there's the potential military impact.  The U.S. has been supplying Taiwan with military hardware, and if things go south with cross-strait relations, the U.S. will undoubtedly be obligated to provide Taiwan with military support should China decide to attack.  China already has over two thousand missiles aimed at the small country, and China pulling the trigger would devastate the country in just about every way imaginable.  The U.S. would get sucked into another Vietnam.

I support Taiwan's independence, and I hope China will recognize Taiwan as an independent sovereign nation.  I hope that recognition comes on the diplomatic front, and not the military front.  While the impact on the U.S. economy would initially be substantial, I speculate it would be even moreso devastating for China.  For that reason, I don't believe China would continue their bullying tactics.  They need us more than we need them.... and they sure don't want to go to war with us!

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