March 8, 2005

Why "Realists' should not be entrusted with power...

James P. Pinkerton writes, in Newsday:

'People Power" is erupting around the world, but what about here in China?

What sort of political arrangements would these 1.3 billion Chinese make for themselves if they could write a real constitution? And should Americans be confident that a democratic China would be friendlier to the United States?...

Neither President Bush nor his supporters EVER say that all the newly democratic nations are going to be friendly to the US. This is a straw-man argument. The point is that once countries become solidly democratic, we don't have to worry about them dissolving into chaos or poverty, or sponsoring terrorists or invading their neighbors.

...Here in China, absent honest elections, there's no way to know the truth for sure, but it seems apparent that the party's single biggest foreign-policy plank - the reincorporation of Taiwan back into "The Motherland" - is a political winner among ordinary Chinese.

Which is to say, the United States, which supports Taiwan's continued independence, has probably found itself on the wrong side of China's emerging political majority...

Ridiculous. It's a "winning issue" because the Chinese don't get to argue the issues they are really interested in.

Does Pinkerton imagine that the people making the stuff that Walmart sells want a war with the US and Taiwan? Or even bad relations? It's easy for the Chinese government to whip up anger about Taiwan right now, because people can't express their anger about corrupt officials and poverty and high taxes and lack of opportunity and religious oppression.

Every time there's a nation that may possibly democratize, we hear predictions that they are going to be just like they were before. I bet there were predictions in the 1940's that Germany and Japan would elect a new bunch of brown-shirts and start new aggressive wars....

(Thanks to Orrin, who points out that China probably won't stay one nation once the grip of the Communists is loosened.)

Posted by John Weidner at March 8, 2005 8:44 AM
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