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首頁 arrow 新聞報導 arrow 自由論壇 arrow 【Taipei Times】Why 2012 will be a deadly deadline
【Taipei Times】Why 2012 will be a deadly deadline
新聞報導 -
作者 J. Michael Cole   
2009-07-19

網路翻譯版 by 摸你解結 & 台灣國 | 壞天使

Why 2012 will be a deadly deadline
By J. Michael Cole 寇謐將

Taipei Times, Wednesday, Jul 15, 2009, Page 8
http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/editorials/archives/2009/07/15/2003448701

自從國民黨逃到台灣以來,中國共產黨從不曾像現在這般如此接近併吞台灣的目標。

北京達到目的的手段並非武力或是外交壓力,而是經濟統合------去年馬英九當選總統之後不久便開始的過程,將台灣收束在網中。

透過海峽交流基金會與台海關係協會三次的會談,兩岸包機直航,前往台灣觀光中國人增加,中國企業大量購買台灣電子產品,以及直接投資台灣一百項製造業、服務業與公共建設部門,中國成功地增加了台灣對中國在經濟上的依賴。

雖然馬政府的說法與現況恰好相反,計畫中的中國與台灣經濟合作架構合約(ECFA)只會加重這種依賴。藉由強迫所有台灣輸往東南亞國協(ASEAN)的貨物都必須經過中國,進而抹殺台灣與這些國家簽訂雙邊貿易協定,也正是台灣應該追求的市場多角化的機會。

正當台灣陷入中國的影響之時,全世界的政客與學界都為馬的政策叫好,稱他為高明的政治家,不僅在拯救台灣的經濟困境,更重要的是,降低台灣海峽的緊張並創造和平協議的環境。

在馬的「務實政策」叫好聲中,以百萬計的人民為自己的生計以及他們的國家的未來所懷抱的憂慮完全被忽視。同樣被忽視的還有一個又一個顯示出對馬政府的失敗政績不滿的民調,尤其是無法兌現政見,與阻止經濟繼續惡化。

一次又一次,專家及外國媒體將台灣獨立運動,與論及統一時那些大多數的希望維持政治上的現狀的台灣人描述為陳水扁與李登輝政府的不成熟的倒退,這兩人的政治主張據說將引發與中國發生戰爭的危險。

極少的中國與台灣「專家」提出疑問,李與陳的政府為何如此,而同樣極少人認真發掘馬的親中政策在島內的影響,或說,要是他的計畫不能實現會有什麼後果。

(在中、台問題專家眼中)馬永遠望塵莫及的政治家-----李登輝,以及陳水扁都是小孩子氣、不理性而且具危險性,因為他們在與中國來往時較為謹慎有耐心。另一方面,馬卻因為一頭熱的栽進去,而被稱作成熟。

隨著經濟統合益發密切,我們也聽見呼籲兩岸進行更加迂迴的政治議題會談。儘管台北表示在這方面將會謹慎進行,但照情勢看來,這些會談將是在所難免,因為北京已經表明,視經濟統合為政治統合的踏腳石。

然而非常少的專家思考過,台北與北京之間的「和平」協議包括什麼,也就是台灣投降並承認其為中國的一部份。假如依照這個步調進行,幾年之後有可能北京會藉由「和平」手段完成其目標,而所謂的「和平」其實就是惡意的企業併購。

直到最近專家才開始懷疑,假如兩岸事務進行這麼順利,那中國為什麼需要繼續其武力的現代化,至少部分是預備針對台灣突發狀況而增添的軍備,包括準確度大增的短程飛彈?

有些專家沒想到,藉著慶祝兩岸因為馬政府與北京政府所造成的緩和狀態,以及刻意忽略一向存在台灣並繼續成長的可觀反對意見,他們正在協助製造不久的將來衝突的條件,情況可能前所未見的嚴重,甚至幾乎無可避免要動用致命的武力。

除非台灣的政治異議者能被抹滅消音,民主的力量可能威脅馬英九的努力,尤其是更有爭議性的兩岸交流逼近的時刻。而最主要的威脅不是針對ECFA的公投或是公開示威,而是2012年的總統選舉。

雖然缺乏民主經驗,北京很明瞭在台灣可能發生的選票報應,可能選出一個主張獨立的政黨,或是不像馬一樣順從的國民黨政府。至少,
立法院選舉可能改正馬政府掌權以來所享有的不平衡權力,並削弱國民黨對行政與立法院的控制,這也正是馬之所以能夠忽視對於他的中國政策應當謹慎、透明與負責的呼聲的部分原因。

因此,北京可能在算計假如要能成功拿下台灣,必須在2012年以前。我們可以期待壓力快速升高,逼迫加速經濟統合以及政治事務進入兩岸會談的議程。

由此,更加容易解釋為何期待中的北京的軍事退讓並未伴隨兩岸關係緩和而發生。事實上,2012年的選舉和1996年不會有多大差異。當時中國軍隊發射飛彈到台灣的大港附近,藉以影響其第一次自由的總統選舉。那時北京所發出的信號是假如台灣人選擇李登輝,就是選擇戰爭。這個威脅,一如歷史所示,由於中國在一邊對上美國與台灣在另一邊的軍力失衡,完全空洞無意義。

然而這次,經過了十多年大力投資武力與更新武器系統,例如第二代核子動力潛艇以及反艦彈道飛彈,北京現在則提升了地位不僅可以威脅台灣,甚至可以威脅假如在衝突中感到必須派遣航母群前往台灣海峽或是附近區域的美國。

在2011年以及2012年初的總統選舉競選中,國民黨也可能利用公眾對於更新過的與北京緊張關係的恐懼,並指控對手甘冒戰爭的危險。一個分裂的國家將在那時必須就無可挽回的政治統一與軍事攻擊兩者之中做出抉擇。

另外一個致使2012成為台灣海峽危險時刻的因素是,北京覺悟到拖下去對他們不利,尤其是假如國民黨可能挫敗,而且台灣與中國分開愈久,台灣認同愈能凝聚,若有主張獨立的政府則更加強固。

同樣危險的是,北京感到已經距離統一的夢想如此接近卻眼見良機因民主過程產生的結果而溜失。與其承認失敗,北京不如動用武力來完成目標,這個做法在馬政府進行的軍事裁減之後更有吸引力。

對那些在外面觀察台灣內部的專家而言,馬也許看起來像是一個高明且務實的政治家。然而因為拒絕面對大多數台灣人的疑慮,以及在完成他視為神聖任務的過程中傷害民主,馬正在播下災難的種子。

將馬視為英雄為他歡呼,卻不對台灣內部的情況有所了解,以及不要求他的作為更加民主,專家們的做法只不過是增加2012年台灣海峽將有死亡危機這個預言的機率。


原文

Why 2012 will be a deadly deadline
By J. Michael Cole 寇謐將

Wednesday, Jul 15, 2009, Page 8   Taipei Times

At no time since the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government fled to Taiwan has the Chinese Communist Party been so close to accomplishing its objective of annexing Taiwan.

Rather than achieve this through threat of force or diplomatic pressure, Beijing is using economic integration — a process launched soon after President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) came to office last year — to reel Taiwan in.

Through three rounds of talks between the Straits Exchange Foundation and the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, direct cross-strait charter flights, increased Chinese tourism, large purchases of Taiwanese electronics by Chinese corporations and direct investment in 100 industries in Taiwan’s manufacturing, services and public infrastructure sectors, China has successfully increased Taiwan’s dependence on its economy.

Despite the Ma government’s claims to the contrary, a proposed economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) between Taiwan and China would only exacerbate that dependence by forcing all of Taiwan’s exports to ASEAN countries to pass through China, thus killing Taiwan’s chances of striking bilateral trade agreements with countries in that bloc — the very kind of market diversification that Taiwan should be aiming for.

As Taiwan inexorably drifts into China’s sphere of influence, politicians and academics around the world have hailed Ma’s policy, calling him a “masterful” politician who is not only “saving” Taiwan’s struggling economy, but more importantly, defusing tensions in the Taiwan Strait and creating the conditions for a peace agreement.

Amid enthusiasm for Ma’s “pragmatic” policymaking, the apprehensions of millions of people who fear for their livelihoods and the future of their country have been ignored, as has the fact that poll after poll has shown high levels of dissatisfaction with the Ma administration for its failure, among other things, to meet election promises and to halt the erosion of democracy.

Over and over again, experts and foreign media have portrayed the Taiwanese independence movement and the majority of Taiwanese who want to maintain a political “status quo” on the question of unification as immature throwbacks of the Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) administrations whose political agendas supposedly risk war with China.

Very few China and Taiwan “experts” have asked why the Lee and Chen administrations acted the way they did, and an equally small number seem to have bothered to explore the local political impact of Ma’s pro-China policies — or, for that matter, what the consequences would be should his plans be sidetracked.

Lee — a statesman of a standing that Ma could never match — and Chen were childish, irrational and dangerous because they were more cautious and patient in their engagement with China. Ma, on the other hand, has plunged in head first, and for this he is being called mature.

As economic integration intensifies, we are hearing calls for cross-strait talks on more convoluted political matters, which, despite Taipei’s claim to proceeding cautiously on that front, are inevitable given that Beijing has already made it clear that it sees economic integration as a stepping stone to political integration.

But few experts have asked what a “peace” agreement between Taipei and Beijing entails, namely Taiwan’s capitulation and admission that it is part of China. If things continue apace, it is possible that a few years from now Beijing will accomplish its objective by “peaceful” means — peaceful in the sense of a hostile corporate takeover.

Only recently have specialists started asking why, if things are going so well in the Strait, should China continue to modernize its military and expand its arsenal with equipment at least partly intended for a Taiwan contingency, including increasingly accurate short-range missiles?

What some experts fail to see is that by celebrating cross-strait detente of the kind initiated by the Ma administration and its counterpart in Beijing, and by deliberately ignoring the very substantial opposition that existed and is now growing within Taiwan, they are helping to create the conditions for a conflict in the not-so-distant future that could be far more serious than anything seen before — one that would almost inevitably involve deadly force.

Unless political dissent in Taiwan can be smothered, democratic forces could threaten to derail Ma’s efforts, especially as more controversial aspects of cross-strait exchanges grow nearer. And the principal threat will not be referendums on an ECFA or public protests, but the 2012 presidential election.

Despite its lack of experience with democracy, Beijing is aware of the threat of electoral retribution in Taiwan, which could bring into office a pro-independence party or a KMT administration that is not as pliant as Ma’s. At the least, legislative elections could correct the imbalance that the Ma administration has enjoyed since it came to power and weaken the KMT’s control of the executive and legislative branches, which is part of the reason why Ma has been able to ignore calls for caution, transparency and accountability in his China policy.

As such, Beijing is probably calculating that if it is to succeed in annexing Taiwan, it must do so before 2012. We can expect pressure to build very soon for accelerated economic integration and for political matters to be put on the agenda of cross-strait talks.

In this light, it is easier to explain why cross-strait detente has not been accompanied by an expected military drawdown on Beijing’s part. In fact, 2012 will not be much different from the 1996 elections, when the Chinese military fired missiles off Taiwan’s major ports to influence the country’s first free presidential elections. Back then, Beijing was sending the signal that if Taiwanese voted for Lee, they were choosing war — a threat that, as history showed, was hollow given the power disparity between China on one side and the US and Taiwan on the other.

This time around, however, after more than a decade of major investment in its military and new weapons systems, such as second-generation nuclear submarines and anti-ship ballistic missiles, Beijing is in a much better position to intimidate not only Taiwan but also the US, should it feel compelled to dispatch carrier battle groups to or near the Strait amid tensions.

During the presidential election campaign in 2011 and early 2012 the KMT could also exploit public fears of renewed tensions with Beijing to its advantage and accuse its opponents of risking war. A divided polity will by that time face a choice between irreversible political annexation or military attack.

Another factor that makes 2012 such a dangerous time in the Strait — especially if there is a possibility of the KMT suffering defeat — is Beijing’s awareness that time is not on its side, and that the longer Taiwan remains separate from China, the further Taiwanese identity will consolidate and more so under a pro-independence government.

Just as dangerous would be Beijing sensing that it had come close to realizing its dream of annexation only to see the chance slip as the result of a democratic process. Chances are that rather than admit defeat, it would use force to complete its agenda, an option all the more attractive given the cuts the Ma administration has made to the defense establishment.

To experts looking in from the outside, Ma may appear to be a masterful and pragmatic politician, but by refusing to address the concerns of a majority of Taiwanese, and by undermining democracy in his pursuit of what he sees as a sacred mission, Ma is sowing the seeds for disaster.

By hailing Ma as a hero yet failing to understand the dynamics within Taiwan, and by neglecting to challenge him to act more democratically, all that the experts are doing is increasing the probability that 2012 will augur a grave threat to peace in the Taiwan Strait.

J. Michael Cole is a writer based in Taipei and the author of Democracy in Peril: Taiwan’s Struggle for Survival from Chen Shui-bian to Ma Ying-jeou.


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