Monday, November 21, 2005

Bush Visit

Some pundits seem to be upset that President Bush hasn't done more to upset the Chinese. He gave his biggest pro-democracy speech in Japan. He gave his big anti-communism speech in Mongolia. Many think both speeches should have been given in China even at the risk (or due to the prospect) of riling the Chinese. Additionally, he attended a state-sanctioned church instead of a "house church." Two Republican Congressmen have a plan to cure all that.

From the Taipei Times:
Two pro-Taiwan members of the US House of Representatives proposed that President George W. Bush take advantage of his current trip to Asia to visit Taiwan as a token of US recognition of the island's outstanding achievements in promoting freedom and democracy. Representatives Tomas Tancredo and Robert Simmons, both Republicans, made the appeal in a joint letter dated Nov. 15 to Bush, who is attending the 2005 APEC informal leadership summit in Busan, South Korea.

That would surely rile up the Chinese. Why do such a thing now?
The congressmen said in the letter that if Bush were to make a brief visit to Taiwan following the summit, he would be able to meet with Taiwan's leader to lay an emphasis on the importance of arms procurement for the country's future, in addition to reaffirming US commitment to a free and democratic Taiwan.

That would send entirely the wrong sign to Taiwan. I have previously pointed out differences between the American and Taiwanese arguments for procuring this weapons system. Starting from the Taiwanese version, a trip to Taiwan would look like strong-arming the legislature into purchasing the weapons. It would also make President Bush look weak. When the strongest power in the world is begging you to buy arms, you might just try to see what you can get out of him in return. Do we really want to create a The Taiwan that Can Say No movement?

(For those not familiar with The Japan that Can Say No or the other similar texts, like The France That Can Say No, it represents the idea that the US is just as dependent on Japan as Japan is on America and thus Japan can ignore America's wishes.)