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A Clausewitzian Appraisal of Cross-Strait Relations

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This article uses the strategic theory of Carl von Clausewitz to ana-lyze how the 2008 elections in Taiwan and the United States may influence cross-Strait relations. The elections will affect governments, citizens, and armed forces, and thus the value Taiwan and the United States attach to preserving the island's de facto independence from the mainland. Survey-ing likely interactions across the Taiwan Strait, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the China-Taiwan-U.S. strategic triangle includes one power, China, whose Clausewitzian "trinity" remains uniformly locked on eventual unification with Taiwan and whose patience is finite; a second, Taiwan, whose government and people are ambivalent and whose military preparations are lagging; and a third, the United States, whose govern-ment and people have priorities that do not include a clash with China, whose military is shrinking, and whose officer corps wants to avoid fight-ing in the Strait. This mismatch in political commitments and capabilities suggests that, far from bringing about an enduring rapprochement, the elections have done little to dispel potential conflict in East Asia.

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Although the question of Taiwan's international status is said to begin following the renunciation of all claims by Japan in 1945, the real dilemma commenced after severance of diplomatic relationship with major countries, and most devastating among all, severance of diplomatic relationship with the US in 1979. However, in the same year, the US also passed the Taiwan Relations Act to protect Taiwan from any negative influences flowing from decrecogniton. The issues surrounding the international status of Taiwan involve a long and complex history. Integrated in the history are a number of issues relative to geopolitics, economics, security, foreign policy, power politics, nationalism and law. Combining the study of law and politics, this study aims to revisit the mystery of Taiwan's status.
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Avery Goldstein is Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Christopher H. Browne Center for International Politics at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of From Bandwagon to Balance-of-Power Politics: Structural Constraints and Politics in China, 1949-1978 (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1991), and is completing a study entitled Deterrence and Security in a Changing World: China, Britain, France, and the Enduring Legacy of the Nuclear Revolution. I would like to thank Jean-Marc F. Blanchard, Thomas J. Christensen, and the anonymous reviewers for International Security who provided helpful comments on various drafts of this article. 1. The new wave of scholarly interest in East Asian security and China emerged in about 1993. Just two years earlier, such matters received relatively short shrift in one of the first serious comprehensive overviews of the post-Cold War world landscape. See Robert J. Art, "A Defensible Defense: America's Grand Strategy after the Cold War," International Security, Vol. 15, No. 3 (Spring 1991), pp. 5-53. Capturing the spirit of the recent "China-mania," the February 18, 1996, New York Times Magazine carried as its cover story, "The 21st Century Starts Here: China Booms. The World Holds Its Breath," by Ian Buruma, Seth Faison, and Fareed Zakaria. The editors of International Security, sensitive to market demand, have published an edited volume of selected articles entitled East Asian Security, whose largest section is a collection of major articles under the heading, "The Implications of the Rise of China." Michael E. Brown, Sean M. Lynn-Jones, and Steven E. Miller eds., East Asian Security (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1996). 2. See Avery Goldstein, "Robust and Affordable Security: Some Lessons from the Second-Ranking Powers During the Cold War," Journal of Strategic Studies, Vol. 15, No. 4 (December 1992), pp. 478-479, 519. 3. For concise accounts of China's reforms, see Harry Harding, China's Second Revolution (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1987); Kenneth Lieberthal, Governing China (New York: W.W. Norton, 1995); and Nicholas R. Lardy, China in the World Economy (Washington, D.C.: Institute for International Economics, 1994). 4. On the increased importance of China for U.S. foreign policy, see then-U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher's May 1996 speech to a joint meeting of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Asia Society, the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, and Business Week. "'American Interests and the U.S.-China Relationship' Address by Warren Christopher," Federal Department and Agency Documents, May 17, 1996, Federal Document Clearing House, from NEXIS Library, Lexis/Nexis, Reed Elsevier (hereafter NEXIS). For samples of the emerging scholarly literature, see Aaron L. Friedberg, "Ripe for Rivalry: Prospects for Peace in a Multipolar Asia," International Security, Vol. 18, No. 3 (Winter 1993/94), pp. 5-33; Richard K. Betts, "Wealth, Power, and Instability: East Asia and the United States after the Cold War," International Security, Vol. 18, No. 3 (Winter 1993/94), pp. 34-77; Denny Roy, "Hegemon on the Horizon: China's Threat to East Asian Security," International Security, Vol. 19, No. 1 (Summer 1994), pp. 149-168; Michael G. Gallagher, "China's Illusory Threat to the South China Sea," International Security, Vol. 19, No. 1 (Summer 1994), pp. 169-194; Richard Bernstein and Ross H. Munro, The Coming Conflict with China (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1997); and Andrew J. Nathan and Robert S. Ross, The Great Wall and the Empty Fortress: China's Search for Security (New York: W.W. Norton, 1997). 5. For a brief introduction to the debate and references to some of the key positions, see William Curti Wohlforth, The Elusive Balance (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1993), especially pp. 3-10. 6. On the strategic rationale for China resisting transparency, see Goldstein, "Robust and Affordable Security," pp. 485-491, 500-503; Alastair Iain Johnston, "China's New 'Old Thinking': The Concept of Limited Deterrence," International Security, Vol. 20, No. 3 (Winter 1995/96), p. 31, fn. 92. China's Defense White Paper in 1995 was an unrevealing disappointment. The PLA has reportedly begun a more forthcoming draft for release in late 1997. See "White Paper—China: Arms...
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From Foreign Affairs , July/August 2007 Summary: After Iraq, we may be tempted to turn inward. That would be a mistake. The American moment is not over, but it must be seized anew. We must bring the war to a responsible end and then renew our leadership --military, diplomatic, moral --to confront new threats and capitalize on new opportunities. America cannot meet this century's challenges alone; the world cannot meet them without America. Barack Obama is a Democratic Senator from Illinois and a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination.
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Aaron L. Friedberg is Associate Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University and Director of the Research Program in International Security at Princeton's Center of International Studies. The author wishes to thank Desaix Anderson, Henry Bienen, Thomas Christensen, and Min Xin Pei for their comments and Geoffrey Herrera for research assistance. 1. One recent study concludes similarly that "regional multipolar processes are likely to become a more and more important feature of international politics." Thomas J. Christensen and Jack Snyder, "Predicting Alliance Patterns," International Organization, Vol. 44, No. 2 (Spring 1990), p. 168. For another analysis that also foresees a movement toward regionalization see Joseph A. Camilleri, "Alliances in the Emerging Post-Cold War Security System" (unpublished manuscript), March 11, 1992. 2. See John Mearsheimer, "Back to the Future: Instability in Europe After the Cold War," International Security, Vol. 15, No. 1 (Summer 1990), pp. 5-56. 3. For explications of these views see: Stephen Van Evera, "Primed for Peace: Europe After the Cold War," International Security, Vol. 15, No. 3 (Winter 1990/91), pp. 7-57; Robert Jervis, "The Future of World Politics: Will It Resemble the Past?" International Security, Vol. 16, No. 3 (Winter 1991/92), pp. 39-73; Jack Snyder, "Averting Anarchy in the New Europe," International Security, Vol. 14, No. 4 (Spring 1990), pp. 5-41; James M. Goldgeier and Michael McFaul, "Core and Periphery in the Post-Cold War Era," International Organization, Vol. 46, No. 2 (Spring 1992), pp. 467-491; Richard H. Ullman, Securing Europe (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991); and letters by Stanley Hoffmann and Robert Keohane in "Correspondence: Back to the Future, Part II: International Relations Theory and Post-Cold War Europe," International Security, Vol. 15, No. 2 (Fall 1990), pp. 191-194. Jervis and Goldgeier and McFaul make the same arguments more generally about the relations among the nations of the "developed world," i.e., Western Europe, the United States and Japan (Jervis), or the "great powers" of the advanced industrial "core" (Goldgeier and McFaul). 4. By the second decade of the twenty-first century, East Asia's economic output is likely to exceed that of both North America and the European Community. See Urban C. Lehner, "Belief in an Imminent Asian Century Is Gaining Sway," Wall Street Journal, May 17, 1993, p. A12. 5. Throughout this essay I use the term "Asia" to refer to the region extending from Southwest Asia, across China to Northeast Asia and including the offlying islands at the western edge of the Pacific rim. (See map, p. 33.) The list of "poles" or "major powers" around which a new Asian sub-system will take shape includes, by virtue of their location and their actual and potential military capabilities, China, Japan, Russia, and perhaps India. Whether the United States remains an Asian power will depend on its willingness to continue to project some fraction of its military might into the region. 6. Kenneth N. Waltz, Theory of International Politics (Reading, Mass: Addison-Wesley, 1979), p. 161. 7. For the first round in this debate see Karl W. Deutsch and J. David Singer, "Multipolar Power Systems and International Stability," World Politics, Vol. 16, No. 3 (April 1964), pp. 390-406; Kenneth N. Waltz, "The Stability of a Bipolar World," Daedalus, Vol. 93, No. 9 (Summer 1964), pp. 881-909. Waltz elaborates his position in Theory of International Politics, pp. 129-193. Similar views are expressed in Mearsheimer, "Back to the Future," pp. 13-18. For elaborations of the deductive arguments on all sides see Van Evera, "Primed for Peace," pp. 33-40; Richard Rosecrance, "Bipolarity, Multipolarity, and the Future," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 10, No. 3 (September 1966), pp. 314-327; Patrick James and Michael Brecher, "Stability and Polarity: New Paths for Inquiry," Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 25, No. 1 (1988), pp. 31-42; Alvin M. Saperstein, "The 'Long Peace'—Result of a Bipolar Competitive World?" Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 35, No. 1 (March 1991), pp. 68-79. For efforts to resolve the question empirically see Michael Haas, "International Subsystems: Stability and Polarity," American Political Science Review, Vol. 64, No. 1 (1970), pp. 98-123; and Jack...
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Only recently have strategists and social scientists begun to ask questions concerning the nature of America's strategic culture. Few, however, have recognized that the study of strategy is itself a part of the strategic culture of a nation and must be expected to share its parochialism. Greater attention to the liberal democratic roots of America's strategic culture reveals certain characteristics that are unyielding to military reforms as now contemplated.
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Richard K. Betts is Professor of Political Science, Director of International Security Policy Studies in the School of International and Public Affairs, and member of the Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University. This paper was written for the Conference on Asia in Transition sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation at the East-West Center, Honolulu, in January 1993, and was also presented in seminars at the University of Chicago Program on International Politics, Economics, and Security; MIT Center for International Studies; Columbia East Asian Institute; and Harvard Olin Institute for Strategic Studies. The author is grateful to discussants in those sessions, especially Allen Whiting, Robert Ross, Andrew Wallace, and Charles Lipson. For criticisms of various drafts he also thanks Thomas Bernstein, Frederick Brown, Evelyn Colbert, Joseph Collins, Michael Chambers, Thomas Christensen, Gerald Curtis, Francis Fukuyama, Germaine Hoston, Robert Jervis, Chalmers Johnson, Thomas McNaugher, Masashi Nishihara, William Odom, Michel Oksenberg, Jonathan Pollack, Alan Romberg, Randall Schweller, David Shambaugh, Jack Snyder, Yoshihide Soeya, Arthur Waldron, Kenneth Waltz, and Ren Yue. Another version will appear in a volume edited by Robert Ross. 1. This article considers the area from Japan to Burma. South Asia is not discussed, although India may come to figure more in the East Asian balance of power. India has always been underestimated and too often ignored in U.S. strategic studies, but since it is still peripheral to East Asian strategic interactions, it is excluded in order to keep the analytical scope manageable. 2. Ambivalence about how the security situation in Asia should be assessed can be found even among seasoned experts. For example: "The United States and Russia have a growing community of interests. . . . China is fully preoccupied with its domestic problems. Japan, an economic superpower, is only beginning to apply that power for political purposes. . . . In sum the risk of a major power conflict in Asia is at its lowest point in this century"; but, "On the political front one worrisome fact emerges. For the first time in the twentieth century, U.S. relations with China and Japan are troubled simultaneously;" and, "given the likely power relationships in East Asia, U.S. policy can proceed with minimal concern about new hostile coalitions," yet "the current leaders of the People's Republic of China are telling both Russia and Japan that there must be closer cooperation to block a hegemonic America." Robert Scalapino, "The United States and Asia: Future Prospects," Foreign Affairs, Vol. 70, No. 5 (Winter 1991/92), pp. 26, 32, 36. 3. In the 1960s, Beijing was seen as an independent threat, but otherwise its role in U.S. strategy depended on its relation to Soviet power and trans-national Leninism. Washington opposed China in the 1950s largely because of its alliance with the USSR, and courted it in the 1970s and 1980s because of its enmity against the USSR. 4. This is the sense in which I use "balance of power" unless otherwise indicated. The term is notoriously ambiguous in common usage, referring variously to any distribution of power, a roughly equal (usually multipolar) distribution, international stability or equilibrium, deliberate policies to create or maintain equilibrium, automatic equilibrating tendencies in the international system, and other things. See Ernst Haas, "The Balance of Power: Prescription, Concept, or Propaganda?" World Politics, Vol. 5, No. 4 (July 1953); Inis L. Claude, Jr., Power and International Relations (New York: Random House, 1962), chap. 2; and Martin Wight, "The Balance of Power," in Herbert Butterfield and Martin Wight, eds., Diplomatic Investigations: Essays in the Theory of International Politics (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1968). 5. All choices cannot be lumped under this dichotomy, which does not subsume serious alternatives such as Marxism-Leninism; however, since Marxism-Leninism never influenced American policymaking, and now exerts scant influence in other countries, that alternative is ignored here. For thinking about international conflict, moreover, Marx and Lenin shared many assumptions with the other schools. If classes are substituted for states, their view of conflict as natural and inevitable is quite similar to realism. Leninist regimes that twisted doctrine to support nationalism had quite realist foreign policies. Pure Marxism, though, believes in progress. When class conflict resolves with the arrival...
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After years of escalating tension in the Taiwan Strait, protracted partisan gridlock, and a stagnating economy, the island anxiously awaited a fresh start after the March 2008 presidential election. The election will offer the potential for a dramatic shift in the tone and trajectory of cross-strait relations, and with it the opportunity for decreased risk that the U. S. could be drawn into an armed conflict with China.
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This article has five principal parts. The first summarizes the history and rationale of the 2001 U.S. arms offer to Taiwan and explains why the weapons sales proposed are unsuited to the effective defense of the island. The second section outlines how China would probably attempt to destroy or neutralize the Taiwan air force and navy, and it proposes an alternative strategy for countering China's increasingly precise short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs), cruise missiles, and manned tactical aircraft. The third part explores how Beijing's invasion options would change if Taipei lost its navy and the use of its air force. The fourth section examines PRC blockade options against Taiwan and suggests how Taiwan could more effectively deny China its blockade objectives. The concluding section considers the impediments to, and repercussions of, adoption by Taiwan of a "porcupine defense."
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Scholars in the field of international relations tend to treat the contemporary Asian system as if it emerged fully formed from nothingness in the post-World War II and post-colonial era. This essay explores a major historical epoch—the Asian international system from 1300 to 1900. During that time, the Asian international system was both intensive and extensive, in both interactions and relations between Asian states. Thus, understanding and incorporating this system into our theories of international relations is critical. To date, scholars have rarely described the main features of this system. In this article, I attempt such a task, and will also draw implications for mainstream international relations theories. In short, the research in this essay reveals that the historical Asian international system was stable and hierarchic in nature. The main theoretical finding is an alternative to the balancing proposition. That is, the findings in this article present a major empirical challenge to the argument that balance of power is a recurrent phenomenon across time and geography. Furthermore, this article shows that hierarchy may be more stable than balancing as an organizing principle in international relations.
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Economic ActionThe concept of economic actionReligious Ethics and Economic RationalityThe Market: Its Impersonality and EthicClass, Status, PartyEconomically Determined Power and the Status OrderDetermination of Class Situation by Market SituationStatus HonorParties
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Why has the PRC been so determined that Taiwan be part of China? Why, since the 1990s, has Beijing been feverishly developing means to prevail in combat with the U.S. over Taiwan's status? Why is Taiwan worth fighting for? To answer, this book focuses on the territorial dimension of the Taiwan issue and highlights arguments made by PRC analysts about the geostrategic significance of Taiwan, rather than emphasizing the political dispute between Beijing and Taipei. It considers Beijing's quest for Taiwan since 1949 against the backdrop of recurring Chinese anxieties about the island's status since the seventeenth century. In recent years, the PRC has become dependent on international maritime commerce and has undertaken to expand considerably its navy to ensure access to the sea. PRC analysts concerned about strategy have articulated rationales for eliminating rival influences over Taiwan, the location of which is deemed as critical to China's projection of naval power. This book traces the evolution, explains the appeal, and suggests implications of the geostrategic calculations that pervade PRC strategic considerations of Taiwan.
An Enduring Peace Built on Freedom
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McCain, John. "An Enduring Peace Built on Freedom." Foreign Affairs 86, no. 6 (November/December 2007).
entrusted to a multinational League of Peace made up of "those great nations which sincerely desire peace," that would be "competent and willing to prevent violence as between nations" and enforce the decisions handed down by international tribunals. For more on this vision, see Theodore Roosevelt
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Ibid. In his speech accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, Roosevelt told the Nobel committee that in "any community of any size" on the domestic level, "the authority of the courts rests upon actual or potential force," that is, "on the existence of a police, or on the knowledge that the able-bodied men of the country are both ready and willing to see that the decrees of judicial and legislative bodies are put into effect." Consequently, he prescribed "the establishment of some kind of international police power," entrusted to a multinational League of Peace made up of "those great nations which sincerely desire peace," that would be "competent and willing to prevent violence as between nations" and enforce the decisions handed down by international tribunals. For more on this vision, see Theodore Roosevelt, "'International Peace,' Address before the Nobel Prize Committee, Delivered at Christiania, Norway, May 5, 1910," in Memorial Edition: Works of Theodore Roosevelt, ed. Hermann Hagedorn (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1923-26), vol. 18: American Problems, 410-11.
AnInside Look into the Chinese Communist Navy-Advancing Toward the Blue-Water Challenge
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Discipline First for Taiwan's New Leader
  • Keith Bradsher
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China-Taiwan Relations: Dialogue Resumes in Relaxed Atmosphere
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Ma Repeats 'Mutual Non-Denial' Policy
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Taiwan's Defense Priorities
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Taiwan's Defense Budget Dilemma: How Much Is Enough in an Era of Improving Cross-Strait Relations?
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The ChinaChallenge for the Twenty-First Century
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Speech to U.S.-Taiwan Business Council
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Chapter 7 in The People's Liberation Army and China in Transition
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