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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Future of the Independence of Tibet and Taiwan

December 17, 2008

By Bob Jones, 12/15/2008
Hawaii Reporter - Kailua
If you cornered me and asked me what America should do about Tibet I’d have to answer “damned if I know.”
Pretty much the same, with some nuance, with Taiwan.
Would I like an independent Tibet? Sure. Would I like an independent Taiwan? Sure.
But the realities are that Tibet is firmly past of China now, and Taiwan exists independently only by not saying it’s not a part of China.
Tibet is not a vexation for the United States. Taiwan is. Why is that and what happens next? I follow the curvy relations on both fronts and think I can lay out some good scenarios.
Keep in mind that American military people fill friendly correspondents’ heads with other scenarios mainly planted to set up a U.S. civilian state of mind that supports Washington’s policy. I’m not part of the cabal. I’m also not anti-U.S. policy on much of this.
We’re not going to war with China over Taiwan and I wish our feeders-of-information would quit making us fear that we are. The fear works for them because that would be primarily a Navy war in the Strait and the Navy wants more ships and submarines. We already have more. China knows that. Our subs could sink a China invasion fleet almost off the docks.
Missiles? Sure. But China’s missiles are area weapons and would kill many civilians. The world would be horrified. China can’t launch careful air attacks. Its pilots are under-trained and Taiwan’s and ours are more than a match.
So why does our military keep mouthing a Taiwan threat? Because it’s good for the budget and because it keeps finding a handful of free-lance American reporters to travel on Defense Department dollars and write about the menace. * * * Nobody at the top in the U.S. government wants to make an issue of Tibet.
Okay, it’s an issue in Hollywood and it gathers some protestors in front of the UN. But we’re not about to tell the Chinese to get out of Tibet because they’re already there; we didn’t do anything when they went in, and we sort of agree that it’s traditionally part of their country. Or at least it’s sort of Monroe Doctrine territory. We have Hawaii, Saipan, Guam and American Samoa and few people yell that we’ve scorched local tradition.
We support the Dalai Lama because he’s on our side and he keeps the Chinese a little bit on the defensive. Was the old system good in Tibet? Of course not. It was autocratic and steeped in superstitious religion. In some other confrontation, American might be encouraging Tibetans to throw off the chains of their religious rulers and join a democracy.
Why weren‘t we fomenting democracy in Tibet before the Chinese moved in 1959? Because we didn’t care.
We care, sort of, today because the Chinese are there in force and the Roof of the World overlooks our ally India. So if we could destabilize Tibet, so much the better for us. We cozy up, therefore to the Dalai Lama because he’s the hero to Tibet’s most under-educated class. We (the U.S.) need that class to keep sniping at China.
The Dalai Lama is smart. He knows there is no hope of regaining Tibetan independence. But he can keep China occupied so long as we support him. He’s a god to the ignorant. Good for us. Problem for China.
I can’t fault the U.S. on that one. We’re tussling with China militarily and economically and why not cause it a headache? We have enough of our own.
But this is another area where our military people enlist journalists to fan some flames about Tibetan independence.
Let me put this out there with clarity so you don’t get dragged into any of this suborned journalism:
No need to get all worked up about Taiwan.
Tibet is a part of China and we’ll not contest that any time.
Bob Jones is a MidWeek columnist. Reach him at
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