Side with Taiwan’s Democracy
9:10 AM, Dec 27, 2011 • By JOSEPH A. BOSCO
The implication of that remarkable statement is clear: The democratically elected leaders of Taiwan must satisfy not only the American government that supports its de facto independence but also the Communist dictatorship that is committed to destroying it.
Beijing has not been shy about condemning Taiwan’s multi-party democracy. No matter how moderate an individual DPP leader may be, in China’s eyes the entire party is disqualified from governing because someone within it may take positions displeasing to China.
Put another way, China would clearly prefer a return to Taiwan’s one-party rule—that would facilitate eventual political integration with China's authoritarianism. Sadly, Washington has decided that Beijing should not only have a vote in Taiwan’s election, but a veto.
Secretary Clinton can get the United States back on the right side of Taiwan’s democracy by visiting on an equal and neutral basis with each of the three presidential candidates. Then Taiwan’s voters will have only Beijing’s interference to reckon with, not Washington’s, as they exercise their self-government rights.
Joseph A. Bosco served in the office of the secretary of defense as China country desk officer from 2005 to 2006 and previously taught graduate seminars on China-U.S. relations at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. He is now a national security consultant.