Today the most dangerous place on earth is arguably the Taiwan
Strait, where a war between the United States and China could erupt
out of miscalculation, misunderstanding, or accident. How and to
what degree Taiwan pursues its own national identity will have
profound ramifications in its relationship with China as well as in
relations between China and the United States.
Events late in 2004 demonstrated the volatility of the
situation, as Taiwan's legislative elections unexpectedly preserved
a slim majority for supporters of closer relations with China.
Beijing, nevertheless, threatened to pass an anti-secession law,
apt to revitalize pro-independence forces in Taiwan -- and make war
more likely. Taking change as a central theme, these essays by
prominent scholars and practitioners in the arena of
U.S.-Taiwan-Chinese relations combine historical context with
timely analysis of an accelerating crisis. The book clarifies
historical developments, examines myths about past and present
policies, and assesses issues facing contemporary policymakers.
Moving beyond simplistic explanations that dominate discussion
about the U.S.-Taiwan-China relationship, Dangerous Strait
challenges common wisdom and approaches the political, economic,
and strategic aspects of the cross-Strait situation anew. The
result is a collection that provides fresh and much-needed insights
into a complex problem and examines the ways in which catastrophe
can be avoided.
The essays examine a variety of issues, including the movement
for independence and its place in Taiwanese domestic politics; the
underlying weaknesses of democracy in Taiwan; and the significance
of China and Taiwan's economic interdependence. In the security
arena, contributors provide incisive critiques of Taiwan's
incomplete military modernization; strains in U.S.-Taiwan relations
and their differing interpretations of China's intentions; and the
misguided inclination among some U.S. policymakers to abandon
Washington's traditional policy of strategic ambiguity.
Subjects: Political Science, History
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