20 October 2006

Quick One

Blogger is acting up, I've got family visiting, and this is going to be a busy weekend, so I will make this fairly quick.
  • Having company is awesome; we need to do this more often, especially with family members.
  • New links up on the sidebar: LaRoche's, which is long overdue to go up, as he's got me linked, and has some great insights on the North Korean situation; and A Speakout on Sexual Violence, which tracks incidents (and there are many of them) of men committing violence against women.
  • Habs game on Wednesday was the polar opposite of the game on Tuesday, which was fast-paced, exciting, and a pleasure to watch. I don't know if it's the bad mic'ing or the atmosphere in Chicago, but that wasn't three hours of well-spent TV time. Looking forward to Theo's return tomorrow.
  • Mike Tyson's latest appearance in the news is both disturbing and unsurprising. There truly is no limit to the depths this man will sink.
  • Harper's speech to the B'Nai Brith on Wednesday was one of his finest ventures into foreign policy matters. Further, this hub-bub some are creating over his remarks regarding Taiwan is based on ignorance of long-standing Canadian commitment to the "One China" policy, and only makes me shake my head.
  • Congratulations to all my Dalhousie colleagues who are celebrating their convocation this Saturday. Looking forward to seeing some of you, and best wishes to all on future endeavours.

1 comment:

C. LaRoche said...

Thanks for the link, Richard.

The taiwan issue has me scratching my head a bit, too. Both the U.S. and Canada have chosen the very realist, status-quo path of supporting the One-China Policy as much as they can without becoming directly engaged in the issue. The U.S. has passed a law saying that it would intervene if China attempted to reclaim Taiwan, and China has a similar law saying they will reclaim the island if it declares independence. Other than that, U.S. politicians normally either skirt the issue entirely or they acknowledge, as Colin Powell has, that Taiwan is indeed something of a "renegade province" (in more diplomatic terms that this, of course). The point is that while the U.S. really doesn't want Taiwan overtaken by China, so long as it isn't really an issue, the U.S. is willing to talk Beijing's talk, only walking Taipei's walk if things really go wrong. The greater U.S.-China relationship doesn't need to get all off-kilter by proclamations of an independent Taiwan (imagine a DuGualle-esque speech and a resurgence in Taiwanese independence)....

...and same with Canada-China relations. We've got an expanding relationship, and that's that. As much as we'd like to support an independent Taiwan, China isn't actually going to do anything negative Taiwan-wise unless it declares itself independent. Taiwan is not hurting, it faces no real sanction that doing trade through HK or Japan can't solve, and the "independence" issue is mostly a matter of history and identity.

Thus, realism and status-quo supporting wins the day.

What saddens me more, however, is that Western nations seemed to have dropped the human rights challenge now that making a buck off of China's rise has become more and more important. Publicly criticizing China never really got anywhere, but political relationships in which "behind the headlines" third-track nudging might have gone on seems to have also been dropped in favour of purely business-focussed relations. A shame, since those relations give us more of a chance to affect the average Chinese businessman, student, or whomever who comes to Canada and then returns.