Updated 5/7/2012 4:35 am @ Union City, California – The evil forces in USA have been trying to force the un-natural beef products to Taiwan for few years now… I’m not sure if most American’s (or even fellow Taiwanese-Americans) are aware of this. But this is a huge deal in Taiwan.
Many American politicians and citizens may be unaware that a deep cynicism is growing amongst many Taiwanese regarding the United States’ true long-term intentions with respect to Taiwan. Less than subtle statements by both active and retired U.S. government officials in Taiwan’s recent elections has led many observers to question why the current U.S. Administration continues to overtly show its preference in areas where the Taiwanese themselves should have full determination without outside interference.
Nearly two months after the election, the Taiwanese Government is now in the process of considering the revising of restrictions on the import of U.S. beef that were initially implemented in 2006 as a public health measure. Although opposition to raising the ban stems from a wide variety of sources, some scientific, with others consisting of political and ideological motivation, it is hard not to draw the conclusion that a certain quid-pro-quo was discussed between the two administrations prior to the election. The U.S. would give as much covert assistance as it could to aid the reelection of the incumbent President, in return for ‘cross-strait stability’ and the reopening of doors to U.S. beef imports. In doing so, the U.S. may have given many Taiwanese and advocates of democracy pause to consider whether the U.S. speaks grandiosely about democracy and human rights, but in fact prefers any political situation that facilitates the highest volume of trade; trade beneficial primarily to its own economy, as well as to politicians who benefit from that trade, regardless of the environmental, economic, and political impact on the people of the countries it affects.
The U.S. will most likely achieve its goal of removing Taiwan’s restrictions on U.S. beef, and eventually pork. In the meantime, it is imperative that any opportunity to rebalance this gross mishandling of Asian affairs by successive U.S. Administrations is taken up and carried through as fully as possible. The Taiwan Policy Act of 2011 – H.R.2918 (TPA 2011), in allowing cabinet level visits by U.S. officials, setting in place an extradition treaty, and fully supporting Taiwan’s participation in the ICAO as a member state under the name Taiwan, is the least this Administration can do to show Taiwanese that it hasn’t forgotten them. The United States needs to clearly show that it will not abandon one of Asia’s most vibrant democracies, as well as one of its own major trading partners, and a citizenry that, by all reputable polling, have neither an eventual short or long term desire to become part of the People’s Republic of China in any form.
The U.S. Government will need to work hard if it wants to reverse the growing skepticism vis-a-vis the U.S. commitment to democracy, and convince Taiwanese that democracy can deliver them a genuine choice for determining their own future. The TPA 2011 will recover some of the damage done whilst the U.S. will be able to sell its beef in Taiwan once again. It is a small consolation to provide the Taiwanese, but important nonetheless.
Ben Goren is a long term resident of Taiwan and one of the small community of foreign bloggers specializing in Taiwanese politics. He is also an active participant in Taiwan human rights issues and events. Although currently employed in the private sector, Ben contributes to the international Taiwan Studies academic conversation and performs a small role as an on-the-ground observer of Taiwanese electoral politics.
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