Will Taiwanese defend themselves?
By Paul Lin 林保華
Taipei Times 2021.8.31
The withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan resulted in the Taliban romping to victory in a blitzkrieg-style campaign, knocking over the Afghan army like skittles. The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) wasted no time in milking the fall of Kabul for all it was worth.
Taiwan’s KMT-supporting pan-blue media immediately began to sow discord about the Taiwan-US relationship. No matter how many times the pan-blue camp professes to be pro-US, at critical junctures, it always reveals its true colors.
Taiwanese can draw an important lesson from this episode. The total collapse of the Afghanistan government was caused by two main factors: over-reliance on US protection and extreme internal corruption.
This has happened before. Endemic levels of corruption bedeviled both the KMT party-state regime and the US-sponsored South Vietnam government; they lacked fighting spirit and lost the support of their people. US support was the chief problem.
However, without US support, Taiwan would have long ago been invaded by China. There is no point trying to pretend otherwise; China’s power and military strength simply dwarf Taiwan’s.
Due to Taiwan’s issues with national identity, spies and traitors abound, some of whom occupy important positions.
While Taiwan’s location affords it geostrategic importance, Taiwanese must make the US believe that Taiwan is worth protecting. Taiwan must believe in itself and become an indispensable economic and military ally to the US.
On the economic front, Taiwan is already an indispensable electronics and technology supplier in the US’ industrial supply chain, a fact gratifyingly affirmed by Washington.
However, from a military perspective, questions remain.
First, high-ranking Taiwanese military officers have a habit of traveling to China and pledging loyalty to the CCP after retirement. This begs the question: During service, were their pledges of allegiance to the nation made in earnest?
Second, when these retired high-ranking officers make inappropriate statements designed to incite insurrection, why do serving officers not come forward in large numbers to denounce these individuals? Is it because of personal relationships, or is there another reason?
Responding to the shenanigans by pro-KMT media, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) hit the nail on the head, saying: “Afghanistan is today in a state of chaos because of internal chaos. Taiwan just needs to prevent internal disorder and it can resist any external force that might try to invade the nation.”
From Former KMT chairman Lien Chan’s (連戰) call to “unite with the CCP to control Taiwan” and former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) promotion of the so-called “1992 consensus,” successive KMT politicians have sought to create internal chaos and let the wolf in through the back door.
Taiwan’s internal enemies are still running amok: Chinese spies are still being given overly lenient sentences, handed trivial fines or even found not guilty by Taiwanese courts. The COVID-19 pandemic has seen the hyping up of so-called “vaccine chaos” by Taiwan’s fifth column.
Without timely assistance from the US and Japan gifting Taiwan urgently needed supplies of COVID-19 vaccines, who knows what might have occurred? How many Taiwanese would have followed the siren call to accept Chinese vaccines?
If the KMT and the CCP were to incite a riot or a military insurrection, would Taiwanese flee like Afghans or would they stand their ground and fight for their country?
Hopefully Taiwanese would not wait for the government to take a stand or the US or Japan to come to their aid, and would not be afraid to sacrifice themselves by taking up a position on the front line to protect the nation, its wealth and future generations of Taiwanese.
Everyone has seen how cheaply the CCP values the lives of its citizens. Are Taiwanese really willing to become Chinese?
Paul Lin is a political commentator.
Translated by Edward Jones