China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
April 29, 2015
Executive Summary: Anyone sensitive to global trends has noticed what blue vs. green partisan bickering over the years has done to people on Taiwan. It has narrowed their vision. Ever more trivial issues occupy peoples' attention. Mere trivia monopolizes the Internet, often for weeks on end. The public, it would seem, has nothing more important to attend to than waste valuable time on the Internet gossiping or worse, cyberbullying. When a society loses its ability to focus on the external world, to reflect on the past, to care about world events, or to remember history, how can it avoid a descent into crisis?
Full Text Below:
Anyone sensitive to global trends has noticed what blue vs. green partisan bickering over the years has done to people on Taiwan. It has narrowed their vision. Ever more trivial issues occupy peoples' attention. Mere trivia monopolizes the Internet, often for weeks on end. The public, it would seem, has nothing more important to attend to than waste valuable time on the Internet gossiping or worse, cyberbullying. When a society loses its ability to focus on the external world, to reflect on the past, to care about world events, or to remember history, how can it avoid a descent into crisis?
People on Taiwan may be feeling sorry for themselves. But the rest of the world is not about to wait for them to get over it. The Mainland, in particular, has picked up its pace. Many intelligentsia who have visited the Mainland or conducted interviews on the Mainland, have arrived a the same conclusion. In many ways, Taiwan already lags far behind the Mainland. Yet many on Taiwan continue to wallow in self-congratulatory, feel-good sentiments, such as "Taiwan's greatest tourist attraction is her people!" But look at our endless food safety crises and vicious cyberbullying. What do we really have to be proud about?
It is time to open our eyes. The world has changed. Mainland President Xi Jinping recently visited Pakistan. Soon afterwards, the long-anticipated "One Belt, One Road" plan went into effect. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is already a sensation, even though it has yet to debut. What matters now is no longer who joined the AIIB first, but who is still dithering and has yet to join. The AIIB and One Belt, One Road are already paving the way for Mainland China's peaceful rise.
Of course the United States is not happy to see this. Japan too, is anxious. That is why Japanese Prime Minister Abe visited Washington recently to seek reassurance. US-Japan relations are closer than ever before. But Abe's rhetoric about World War II history will only further alienate Japan from the rest of Asia. Actually, for other Asian countries, this long ceased to be an issue. Does Japan really want to integrate itself into Asia? It won't if it uncritically accomodates the United States effort to contain China. Doing so will only marginalize Japan, reducing it to a mere pawn.
Most Asian countries have long left the Cold War behind. The US and Japan however, remain frozen in their Cold War mentality. The goal of US President Obama's "return to Asia" is not about contributing to Asian prosperity, but about "containing China".
That is why in recent years the United States has deployed aircraft carriers and conducted joint military exercises in the Western Pacific, provoking sovereignty disputes over territorial waters. That is why the 20th century Cold War dramas in the Western Pacific and South China Sea first island chain and second island chain are being reenacted.
The United States and Japan cling to old thinking. They are determined to contain China. Beijing, by contrast, has already freed itself from the outmoded framework of the past. Why should Beijing care about containment? When has China ever been overly dependent upon the ocean? The Han and Tang dynasties both relied on overland connections to the West. Besides, today's China is already active in the ocean.
The Mainland's One Belt, One Road and AIIB have revived overland Silk Roads. Europe and Asia are no longer far from one another. The Central Asian section of the chain has been repaired. The international map has been redrawn. Conceptual categories have been redefined. Put bluntly, international relations have turned a new page. Meanhile, the United States and Japan cling to the framework of the 20th century.
US and Japanese think-tank experts must admit that their predictions about the coming collapse of China have not come to pass. China has escaped every financial crisis experienced by other countries the world over. Many Western theories about international relations do not apply to China. Likewise, many theories about economics that are prevalent in the West do not apply to China. China has its own practices, its own models, and its own logic. Its pattern and logic has never needed the endorsement of Western theorists.
Meanwhile on Taiwan, blue vs. green partisan bickering spells Mutually Assured Destruction. Such bickering does more than obstruct progress. It swiftly cancels any progress. Newly-elected green camp local officials have been hastily dismantling their predecessors' achievements. Taipei Mayor Ko cannot wait to dismantle the Taipei Dome. Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung has dismantled the Taiwan Tower and canceled the BRT Light Rail system. This purge of consortiums and political predecessors, will surely destroy any desire to participate in future infrastructure projects. The impact will be massive. Meanwhile, landmark projects on the Mainland will debut in 2015. They include China United in Beijing, the Chaotianmen Plaza and Pier in Chongqing, the Greenland Center in Wuhan, the Twin Towers in Hangzhou. One side is destroying. The other side is building. So exactly who is being left behind?
Open your eyes and look at the world. The outside world will not stop and wait for people on Taiwan. People on Taiwan have long needed a global perspective. Xi Jinping has demonstrated economic and strategic boldness. Who says people of Taiwan cannot do the same? Who says 't people on Taiwan lack the determination shown by their compatriots in China's heartland? People on Taiwan persist in bickering behind closed doors, making petty calculations for petty advantage. Should we be surprised that their hearts and minds have gotten smaller and smaller?
台灣這幾年在藍綠對立的擠壓下，視野眼界愈加狹窄， 關注議題愈加瑣碎，一些芝麻綠豆小事， 也可能被網路或媒體翻炒數周， 視聽空間彷彿找不到其它更重要的事， 甚至還有不少人寧願將珍貴的光陰花費在網路八卦甚或霸凌他人。 試想：當一個社會失去關注外在世界與反省往事的能力， 既不關心世界，也不回顧歷史，怎麼不會是個危機？
特別是對岸加速前進的步伐， 許多赴大陸訪問或採訪的台灣菁英都有共同的感覺， 在許多方面台灣早已遠遠落後大陸！但不少人還活在「 台灣最美的風景是人」自我良好感覺中， 但看看此起彼落的食安危機，殺伐凶狠的網路霸凌， 有什麼可以自豪呢？
大陸國家主席習近平日前出訪巴基斯坦後，倡議許久的「一帶一路」 正式從藍圖變成實踐；亞投行的規畫未演先轟動， 焦點早就不是誰搶先加入，而是誰懊惱還未加入。 在亞投行與一帶一路的彼此搭配下， 大陸的和平崛起之路已經逐步啟動。
日本首相安倍跑到華府取暖，美日關係呈現空前的緊密。 但安倍所有針對戰爭歷史的發言， 只可能讓日本與整個亞洲的距離越來越遠！ 但這一點對亞洲其它國家而言，其實早已不重要！ 畢竟所謂日本要融入亞洲， 心中所掛念的如果只是如何配合美國圍堵中國， 怎麼防止自己不被邊緣化，那麼也就只能充當一個棋子而已！
美日兩國卻依舊凍結在冷戰思維裡。美國總統歐巴馬的所謂「 重返亞洲」，心中想的從不是如何繁榮亞洲，而是如何「遏制中國」 ！
又是部署航母又是聯合軍演，挑動各國海域與島嶼主權的敏感神經， 在西太平洋與南中國海構築第一島鏈、第二島鏈， 所有在廿世紀冷戰世紀搬演過戲碼，現在全本都在上演！
北京卻早就從陳舊的框架中走出來。對北京而言， 何必在乎這些封阻？中國歷史上盛世何曾依賴過海洋？ 漢唐盛世不都是透過經略西域而締造， 何況今日中國早已活躍於海洋！
幾條陸上的黃金絲路已經大復活， 歐亞之間早就不是遙遠的東方與西方， 藉由中亞這個曾經失落的鏈條重新被連結，整個國際版圖被定義、 被分類的方式也完全被改寫了！講得再直白一些， 如今的國際關係已經都翻到歷史新頁了， 美日卻還死守在廿世紀的框架裡！
過去幾年所有針對中國即將崩潰的預言，最終沒有一個應驗實現！ 所有在世界各國曾上演過財政金融危機，都被中國一一躲過。 可以說，不僅許多西方的國際關係理論不適用於中國， 許多盛行於西方經濟理論，亦同樣不適用於中國！ 大陸已經透過其自身的實踐，走出其自己的模式與邏輯， 而這一套模式與邏輯，從來不需要任何西方理論大師的背書。
甚至加速彼此抵消，幾位新上任的綠營地方首長， 匆匆清算前朝建設。柯P想拆巨蛋，林佳龍先後拆了台灣塔，廢了B RT輕軌，這股反財團，清算前朝的效應， 肯定大幅摧毀民間未來參與公共建設的任何動力，影響不可謂不大！ 在此同時，大陸各城市的標竿建設，將在2015年陸續登場： 北京的中國聯、重慶的朝天門、武漢的綠地中心、杭州的雙子塔…… ，一拆一建之間，究竟是誰被扔在後頭呢？