Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Hillary Will Not Change Cross-Strait Strategic Picture

Hillary Will Not Change Cross-Strait Strategic Picture
China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
April 16, 2015

Executive Summary: No matter who becomes US president, Taiwan will no longer be able to rely on the United States to contain the Mainland. If anything, the Mainland may work with the US to deal with what they consider a peripheral issue. Taiwan's security and prosperity must not be overly dependent on the United States. In the end, we must find our own way.

Full Text Below:

As everyone expected, Hilary Clinton has finally announced her candidacy in the 2016 presidential race. Hillary has the necessary qualifications and financial backing, and may become the first female president in the history of the United States. But she also faces many difficult challenges. Her campaign may not be an easy one.

Hillary's candidacy is unique in the history of the United States. As first lady, she played the role of the good wife. But Hillary has extraordinary intellect. She is well versed in law and politics. She has an edge that she cannot hide and has no desire to hide. When her husband Bill Clinton was in the White House, she was an important advisor.  She promoted a health care reform bill. She knows how the two parties operate. After Bill Clinton stepped down, she began going her own way. In 2000, she was elected Senator from New York. She performed well. Six years later, she won reelection by an even larger margin.

Hillary had high hopes during the 2008 US presidential election. But she stumbled badly. During the Democratic Party primaries, she lost to African American Senator Barack Obama from Illinois. Following the election, Obama appointed her Secretary of State. As a result, she wrote a new page in history, as a First Lady with a second spring.

Hillary was diligent in her handling of international affairs. As Secretary of State, she flew nearly one million miles, visited 112 countries, and spent over 400 days on airplanes -- the most of any Secretary of State in the history of the United States. She often negotiated directly with the leaders of other nations. She has a full grasp of international affairs.

Today Hillary Clinton is making another run under more favorable conditions. She has however, encountered new difficulties. She appears to have no rivals within her own party. She will probably win the party nomination without much resistance. She also learned a lesson from past experience. The last time she emphasized herself: "I want to win." As a result, Obama won grassroots support and rode into the White House on an Internet whirlwind. This time she is taking a different approach. Her campaign ads are portraying her as a champion of the common man. She is now saying that "Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times. But the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top. Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion."

But Hillary's portfolio and financial resources clearly belong to someone at the top of the pyramid. They far exceed those of most of her opponents. The Clintons are fundraising experts. Since its inception in 2001, the Clinton Foundation has raised nearly 2 billion USD. It has plenty of cash with which to campaign.

Alas, Hillary's strengths are also her weaknesses, The Clinton Foundation has accepted contributions from foreign governments, subjecting it to much criticism. She and her husband Bill Clinton taking turns in the White House rubs many voters the wrong way. Does the United States really have no other candidates? Why are elections dominated by the Clinton and Bush political dynasties?

Hillary has a established a record in international diplomacy. But she is also haunted by ghosts. On September 11, 2012, the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was attacked. The US Ambassador was killed. The Republican Party severely criticized Hillary and the State Department for negligence and dereliction. More recently, emailgate erupted. Apparently, during her four year term as Secretary of State, she never used an official State Department email address. Instead, she used her personal email account to deal with official matters. This provoked intense controversy. It may even violate the Federal Records Act. She received more than 60,000 emails as Secretary of State. Over 30,000 were private messages. All of these have been deleted. The remaining 30,000 messages have been forwarded to State Department officials.

Hillary Clinton said she did this out of convenience, and that doing so was not illegal. Were the messages deleted official in nature? The public has no way of knowing. Did they cover up the Benghazi incident? That too is impossible to know. A candidate for high office, a senior official with a wealth of political experience, dealt with problems in such a slapdash manner. No wonder the Republicans are in hot pursuit. This scandal probably has legs, and will probably have an adverse impact on Hillary's campaign.

But given the two parties' candidates, Hillary has a good chance of winning. If elected, she can at least can a running start on foreign affairs. She has addressed China policy and cross-Strait relations in the past. She has praised Taiwan's democracy. But she has also noted that the "one China policy" lies at the heart of US policy toward Taiwan and the Mainland. She hopes that Taiwan and the Mainland can get along, and that the ROC's sovereignty will not be threatened or destroyed.

In 2011 when she met with Mainland State Councilor Yang Jiechi, she said maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait was consistent with the strategic interests of the United States. She said the United States would like to see more cross-Strait interaction, to ensure trust and increase confidence.

In fact, US cross-Strait policy is influenced by the international environment. This, by nature ensure consistency. For example, the US wants to maintain peace in the Taiwan Strait. It does not want trouble. It is less and less capable of suppressing the rise of China. It faces changes in the Asian Pacific strategic picture, but has no countermoves.  That is why it was unable to block membership in the AIIB. No matter who becomes US president, Taiwan will no longer be able to rely on the United States to contain the Mainland. If anything, the Mainland may work with the US to deal with what they consider a peripheral issue. Taiwan's security and prosperity must not be overly dependent on the United States. In the end, we must find our own way.

2015年04月16日 04:10 主筆室











希拉蕊在國際外交雖有成績,但也有不少陰影。2012年9月11日美國在利比亞的班加西領事館遇襲,美駐利大使罹難,共和黨嚴厲批評希拉蕊及國務院輕忽警訊又因應不力。最近更爆發「電郵門」事件,原來她在擔任國務卿4年期間,並未開設國務院公務用的電子郵件信箱,全以私人電郵帳號處理公務,引發強烈爭議,甚至可能違反《聯邦檔案法》(Federal Records Act)。總計她在國務卿任內收到6萬多封郵件,其中3萬多是私人郵件,已經全刪,其餘3萬多公務電郵則轉交給國務院。





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