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Taiwan and others in NATO? Alternative UN?

Reader comment on item: NATO Fights the Jihadis

Submitted by Peter Herz (United States), Oct 3, 2006 at 07:14

Good ideas from you and Senor Aznar.

However, as one who has long believed that China needs to be told that if the USA can live with its unfinished revolution on the other side of Line Forty-nine, Beijing can live with Taiwan, I'm a little sceptical of what Taiwan might contribute to an alliance against radical Islam.

Pres. Chen Shui-bian did indeed say that Taiwan "owes" the USA on the war on terror. Yet this is not a popular position in his country. Chen's governing mandate is about as slim as "Dubya" Bush's in 2000; and the main opposition party, the Guomindang, believes in its heart of hearts that it learned the full measure of American committments back in 1978, and hence needs to make as good an accommodation with Beijing as it possibly can.

Further, Taiwan's mindset on Islam is a peculiar combination of benign ignorance and superstitious ignorance. Many of its non-Muslim people sincerely believe that Muslim pork avoidance comes from seeing the pig as a sacred animal. Taiwan has a small Muslim population of its own, mostly descended from Chiang's veterans who hailed from Mainland China's Muslim region, and somewhat augmented by an influx of ethnic Chinese Muslims from the Golden Triangle region of Burma and Thailand. However, it has a much larger Muslim presence in its numbers of guest workers from Indonesia and Malaysia. it is also highly vulnerable to oil blackmail. Further, the portion of Taiwan's electorate that would sincerely like to make a final break from "China" also has a certain admiration for East Turkistan separatism--a movement that is sure to fall under the "Islamic Fundamentalist" (an unfortunate term still used by the aply named Foggy Bottom) rubric sooner or later.

The other factor in Taiwan, even if it is allowed to break out of the diplomatic isolation to which the progressive opinion of 1950-1989 consigned it, is that it is split 50-50 over whether it should be a country in its own right, or whether it represents the rump of a free China. Even many who support Taiwanese independence today do so out of the belief that it is the way to stay out from under the Communist shoe. It is highly forseeable that Taiwan could choose to rejoin a democratized China--which itself has a Muslim or Muslim-influenced population of tens of millions (even if it were to grant independence to Sharki Turkistan).

Finally, while I respect Mr.Aznar, an "anti-Islamofascist" alliance that is not based on a highly willing coalition of Muslim states will likely be seen as an "anti-Islam" coalition. As a Christian, I don't hold a candle for Islam; but I'm no great fan of perpetual intercivilizational warfare, either.

Peter J. Herz

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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