Monday, February 22, 2016

There are No Doves and Hawks: There is only the Xi Core

There are No Doves and Hawks: There is only the Xi Core
China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
February 21, 2016

Executive Summary: The new government must begin with the cross-Strait status quo. It must discern the Beijing authorities' political mood. It must allow moderates on the two sides to shake hands, instead of allowing hawks and hardliners to disseminate political propaganda and issue military threats.

Full Text Below:

Talking heads in the media and specialists in academia have long categorized Mainland strategy toward Taiwan as either “hawkish” or “dovish”. They have even labeled specific agencies, officials, and scholars as such. But these so-called hawkish and dovish strategies all fall under category of peaceful reunification. Beijing has different strategies for different groups at different times. It has used both hawkish and dovish strategies simultaneously. Sometimes it tightens its grip with one hand, while relaxing it with the other.

The Taiwan Affairs Office, the Shanghai Taiwan Research Institute, and the Xiamen Taiwan Research Institute, are usually considered dovish. Doves hope to increase cross-Strait trade exchanges, and gradually increase cooperation in culture, media, and education. They hope this will lead the two sides to suspend hostilities, and ultimately lead to peaceful reunification. This approach reached its peak when President Xi Jinping and President Ma Ying-jeou held an historic summit last December.

The military, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and hardline official media, are usually considered hawkish. The hawks take national sovereignty very seriously. They hold high the banner of national revival and patriotism. Specific policies include a diplomatic blockade, propaganda war, and military intimidation, including the 1995 and 1996 military exercises held during the Taiwan Strait Missile Crisis, and the 2005 Anti-Secession Law passed in response to the 2000 “two-states” theory.

Coincidentally, “Sinologists” in Washington are also categorized as reds or blues, and doves or hawks. Doves advocate exchanges to promote the evolution of democracy on Mainland China. Hawks advocate containment, to force Mainland China to collapse from within. The debate has continued for years. More recently, the call has been for both exchanges and containment. The two strategies alternate. Doves and hawks in Washington and Beijing are a fluid phenomenon. They leave visible tracks. When relations between Beijing and Washington warm, doves prevail. When major disputes arise, doves are attacked and  hawks make a rapid comeback.

Many young people have returned to the Mainland. Mainland economic and military might have consequently grown by leaps and bounds. Mainland China has gained unprecedented self-confidence and self-esteem. This has led to a firm foundation of public opinion. No leader can defy the century-long "China Dream", the political objective announced by Xi Jingping at the 18th Central Committee. Mainland China is re-emerging after enduring a century of humiliation at the hands of foreign powers. It is increasingly powerful, both diplomatically and military. It is no longer maintaining a low profile. In South China Sea and Diaoyutai Island clashes, it often rattles swords.

But the system on the Chinese mainland differs from the system on Taiwan and the United States. One cannot understand Mainland hawks and doves by referring to the US. Michael Pillsbury is a former Assistant Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Planning, and a longtime US defense policy adviser. Last year Pillsbury published a book entitled "The Hundred Year Marathon". This outspoken American moderate has long believed that hawkish rhetoric on the Mainland is confined to the margins, and that nationalism is not mainstream. That is a serious mistake. Hardliners now command policymaking in Beijing. They represent mainstream geo-strategic thinking. They rarely speak in public, but whenever they do, their remarks represent official policy.

The 2012 DPP election defeat taught the party a lesson about the "final mile”. The DPP began making visits to the Mainland. It began making contact with the Taiwan Affairs Office, Taiwan-related think tanks, and financial research organizations. It probably established links with certain officials. Beijing probably did not allow them close to military and diplomatic circles, or the party's propaganda wing. Green camp members were limited to contacts with United Front agencies, and financial and Taiwan-related sectors. Piecemeal contacts may have provided the DPP with piecemeal information that will lead to misunderstandings and mistaken judgments. DPP policy makers may have listened only to Mainland doves, and come away with false impressions.

The DPP cannot afford to misunderstand Beijing. It cannot afford to think it can refuse to recognize the 1992 Consensus after 5/20. It cannot afford to assume that “the horses will continue running, and the party-goers will continue dancing”. It must reach an understanding with the Mainland on the cross-Strait political relationship. Still less can it afford to assume that clashes with the US in the South China Sea will elevate the Taiwan issue to the level of a core US strategic interest, replace the US-China relationship, and make Washington join with Taipei to oppose Beijing. When core interests are at stake, neither Beijing nor Washington distinguishes between doves and hawks. This is especially true for the Mainland. When the issue is sovereignty and opposition to Taiwan independence, neither doves nor hawks are going to compromise. Who the leader happens to be will make no difference.

Only dialogue and cooperation can ensure peaceful relations between Washington, Beijing, and Taipei. Only dialogue and cooperation can manage differences and minimize harm. To achieve win-win, all three parties must reduce conflict, seek dialogue, and reach consensus. They must not reverse course and make dispute resolution more difficult. The DPP government will play an important role.

The new government must begin with the cross-Strait status quo. It must discern the Beijing authorities' political mood. It must allow moderates on the two sides to shake hands, instead of allowing hawks and hardliners to disseminate political propaganda and issue military threats.

沒有鴿沒有鷹 對台只有習核心
20160221 中國時報











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