[…] History can be “an inconvenient truth.” But the last serious crisis in cross-strait relations appears to have been long enough ago (1996? 2008?) for some in Washington to have forgotten—or maybe never to have known—how serious it can get. In the meantime, U.S.-China relations have deteriorated to a point where Beijing’s perspective on almost any bilateral issue is now deemed invalid or unreasonable. Indeed, its views on many issues are invalid and unreasonable. But we should be extremely cautious about dismissing Beijing’s perspective on Taiwan, or underestimating how deadly serious the issue is to Chinese leaders. It represents the unfinished business of the Chinese Civil War and thus involves the legitimacy and the survival of the Chinese Communist Party. Despite American distaste for the Chinese Communist Party, the inconvenient truth is that Washington explicitly committed several decades ago to not “pursuing a policy of ‘two Chinas’ or ‘one China, one Taiwan’” as a strategic prerequisite to establishing a relationship with Beijing. China has since become both the United States’ primary global strategic competitor and a necessary strategic partner on a wide range of global issues. That will be hard enough to manage without endangering the relationship’s foundation of mutual understandings regarding Taiwan.
The good news is that, contrary to the prevailing wisdom, Beijing is not in fact looking for excuses or an opportunity to attack Taiwan: it is looking for reasons not to do so. The danger is that Chinese leaders currently do not perceive Washington and Taipei to be providing those reasons. Läs artikel