Taiwan

At PCFR, Taiwan diplomat to look at East Asian scene

Dragon boat in the annual Taiwan Dragon Boat Festival on the Blackstone River.

Dragon boat in the annual Taiwan Dragon Boat Festival on the Blackstone River.

Taiwan Diplomat to Discuss East Asian Trade and Security Issues

 

The last dinner of the current season of the Providence Committee on Foreign Relations (founded in 1928)  is scheduled for Tuesday, June 4, here at The Hope Club. The new season will open in September.

 

Please consult its Web site -- thepcfr.org -- and/or send queries to pcfremail@gmail.com for more information about the PCFR, including on how to join.

 

On June 4, Douglas Hsu, a senior diplomat who currently oversees Taiwan’s interests in New England as director general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Boston, will speak about current political and economic conditions in that nation (one of Rhode Island’s largest export markets), China’s military and other threats to Taiwan and the East Asian scene in general.

 

(Taiwan sponsors the annual Dragon Boat races on the Blackstone River and indeed just gave six of them to the City of Pawtucket!)

 

Mr. Hsu, who previously served two stints in Washington, may have some perspectives on the China-U.S. trade war.  His work in Washington included being Taiwan’s liaison with Congress. (Meanwhile, a reminder that the official name of Taiwan is the Republic of China.)

                                                              

Mr. Hsu has served in multiple positions in Taiwan’s Department of North American Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, beginning as a desk officer in 1998. He was  the department’s Deputy Director-General  from 2016 to 2018, when he assigned to Boston.

 

The director general (effectively the consul general for New England) earned a B.A. and M.A. in International Relations from National Cheng-Chi University and has participated in the Diplomats Training Program at Oxford University (1998) and the Senior Executive Fellows Program at Harvard University (2009).

 

 

 

 

 

Royals and broken Brexit; Flooding north; Battles in Brazil; Taiwan & China

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At the PCFR: The Royals Close Up; Why They Flee Honduras; Brazil’s New Boss; Trading With and Tension in Taiwan

Herewith some upcoming talks at the Providence Committee on Foreign Relations (thepcfr.org; pcfremail@gmail.com), which are held at the Hope Club. Please consult thepcfr.org for information on how to join the organization and other information about the organization.

On Thursday, March 14, comes Miguel Head, now a fellow at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center. He spent the past decade as a senior adviser to the British Royal Family. He joined the Royal Household as Press Secretary to Prince William and Prince Harry before being appointed in 2012 as their youngest ever Chief of Staff.

Previously, Mr. Head was Chief Press Officer at the UK Ministry of Defense, and worked for the Liberal Democrat party in the European Parliament. While at the Shorenstein Center, Mr. Head is doing research into how social inequalities in Britain are fomenting the politics of division (which helped lead to the Brexit vote) and how non-political leadership, working collaboratively with traditional and digital media, can play a role in bringing disparate communities together. At the PCFR, he’ll talk about those things as well comment on the past and current role of the Royal Family, and, indeed, life with the Royals.

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At the April 4 PCFR dinner, James Nealon, the former U.S. ambassador to Honduras, will talk about Central America in general and Honduras in particular, with a focus on the conditions leading so many people there to try to flee to the United States – and what the U.S. can and should do about it.

A career Foreign Service officer, Nealon held posts in Canada, Uruguay, Hungary, Spain, and Chile before assuming his post as Ambassador to Honduras in August 2014; Nealon also served as the deputy of John F. Kelly, while Kelly was in charge of the United States Southern Command.

After leaving his ambassadorship in 2017, Nealon was appointed assistant secretary for international engagement at the Department of Homeland Security by Kelly in July. During his time as assistant secretary, Nealon supported a policy of deploying Homeland Security agents abroad. He resigned his post on Feb. 8, 2018, due to his disagreements with the immigration policy of Donald Trump, and, specifically, the withdrawal of temporary protected status for Hondurans.

xxx

Then, on April 10, the speaker will be Prof. James Green, who will talk about the political and economic forces that have led to the election of Brazil’s new right-wing president, Jair Bolsonaro – and hazard some guesses on what might happen next.

Professor Green is the Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Professor of Latin American History, director of Brown’s Brazil Initiative, Distinguished Visiting Professor (Professor Amit) at Hebrew University, in Jerusalem, and the Executive Director of the Brazilian Studies Association (BRASA), which is now housed at the Watson Institute at Brown.

Green served as the director of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at Brown University from 2005 to 2008. He was president of the Brazilian Studies Association (BRASA) from 2002 until 2004, and president of the New England Council on Latin American Studies (NECLAS) in 2008 and 2009.

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The PCFR hopes to announce a May speaker soon

On June 4, Douglas Hsu, a senior Taiwanese diplomat who currently oversees that nation’s interests in New England, will speak to us about Chinese military and other threats against Taiwan, and other matters, including doing business in Taiwan. That country, by the way, is among Rhode Island’s largest export markets.

At PCFR: The Royals; Fleeing Central America; Brazil's new strongman; Threatening Taiwan

"A Good Riddance" cartoon from    Punch   , Vol. 152, 27 June 1917, commenting on King George V’s order to relinquish all German titles held by members of his family.

"A Good Riddance" cartoon from Punch, Vol. 152, 27 June 1917, commenting on King George V’s order to relinquish all German titles held by members of his family.

Mark your calendars for some exciting upcoming talks at the Providence Committee on Foreign Relations (thepcfr.org; pcfremail@gmail.com). Consult thepcfr.org for information on how to join the organization and other information about our organization.

Our speaker on Thursday, March 14, will be Miguel Head, now a fellow at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center. He spent the past decade as a senior adviser to the British Royal Family. He joined the Royal Household as Press Secretary to Prince William and Prince Harry before being appointed in 2012 as their youngest ever Chief of Staff.

Previously, Mr. Head was Chief Press Officer at the UK Ministry of Defense, and worked for the Liberal Democrat party in the European Parliament. While at the Shorenstein Center, Mr. Head is doing research into how social inequalities in Britain are fomenting the politics of division (which helped lead to the Brexit vote) and how non-political leadership, working collaboratively with traditional and digital media, can play a role in bringing disparate communities together. At the PCFR, he’ll talk about those things as well comment on the past and current role of the Royal Family, and, indeed, life with the Royals.

xxx

At the April 4 Providence Committee on Foreign Relations (thepcfr.org) dinner, James Nealon, the former U.S. ambassador to Honduras, will talk about Central America in general and Honduras in particular, with a focus on the conditions leading so many people there to try to flee to the United States – and what the U.S. can and should do about it.

A career Foreign Service officer, Nealon held posts in Canada, Uruguay, Hungary, Spain, and Chile before assuming his post as Ambassador to Honduras in August 2014; Nealon also served as the deputy of John F. Kelly, while Kelly was in charge of the United States Southern Command.

After leaving his ambassadorship in 2017, Nealon was appointed assistant secretary for international engagement at the Department of Homeland Security by Kelly in July. During his time as assistant secretary, Nealon supported a policy of deploying Homeland Security agents abroad. He resigned his post on Feb. 8, 2018, due to his disagreements with the immigration policy of Donald Trump, and, specifically, the withdrawal of temporary protected status for Hondurans.

xxx

Then, on April 10, the speaker will be Prof. James Green, who will talk about the political and economic forces that have led to the election of Brazil’s new right-wing president, Jair Bolsonaro – and hazard some guesses on what might happen next.

Professor Green is the Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Professor of Latin American History, director of Brown’s Brazil Initiative, Distinguished Visiting Professor (Professor Amit) at Hebrew University, in Jerusalem, and the Executive Director of the Brazilian Studies Association (BRASA), which is now housed at the Watson Institute at Brown.

Green served as the director of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at Brown University from 2005 to 2008. He was president of the Brazilian Studies Association (BRASA) from 2002 until 2004, and president of the New England Council on Latin American Studies (NECLAS) in 2008 and 2009.

Additional speakers for the season will be announced soon. They will include a June event on Taiwan’s tense relations with expansionist China.

Chris Powell: U.S. shouldn't have betrayed its principles and Free China

Republic of China (Taiwan) flag.

Republic of China (Taiwan) flag.

 

President Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, who was first his national-security adviser and then his secretary of state,  are supposed to have been foreign-policy geniuses, most notably for their approach in 1971 and 1972 to what we then called  Red China. The Nixon-Kissinger idea was to further separate the government in Beijing from its great fellow Communist ally, the Soviet Union, and induce both countries to diminish their support for North Vietnam's war against South Vietnam, where the United States was doing most of the fighting.

Recognizing  Red China should have been no big deal ordinarily, for the primary criterion for recognizing governments is not their politics or decency but simply whether they rule distinct territory. But as a Republican U.S. representative and senator, Nixon had been an instigator of the great red scare of the early 1950s and had blamed the Democratic administration of Harry Truman for losing China to communism. So Nixon's reversing his posture on China was almost as sensational as the sudden alliance of Nazi Germany with the Soviet Union in August 1939. Nixon got away with it because most people agreed with the new policy, and so his old red-baiting was forgotten.

But as things turned out China and the Soviet Union did not curtail their support for the Communist side in the Vietnam War, and the U.S. side was defeated two years after Nixon visited China and just after he resigned the presidency to avoid impeachment. Opening China to trade with the United States, normalization boosted China's development and led to the decline of much of U.S. industry.

It also caused the United States to betray its longstanding ally, the Republic of China -- the losing side in the Chinese Civil War, which had moved to the island of Taiwan. The Republic of China was expelled from the United Nations and its diplomatic relations with the United States were demoted from formal to informal, though Taiwan also governed and continues to govern distinct territory.

Now the United States and its Asian allies are being threatened by North Korea as it develops nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them. North Korea's neighbors and sponsors, China and Russia, resist cutting off the troublesome country. China is becoming an imperial power (like the United States itself) and is creating islands in the South China Sea to gain control over international navigation there. China claims sovereignty over Taiwan and at China's insistence Taiwan is being denied even observer status in international organizations and is losing diplomatic recognition from other countries.

So what does the United States have today to show for the supposed Nixon-Kissinger genius in Asian policy? Not much.

Yes, Communist Vietnam, which defeated the U.S.-backed side in Vietnam's civil war, is increasingly friendly to the United States. But this is despite the Nixon-Kissinger policies, not because of them. That is, like other countries nearby, Vietnam feels threatened by China and on the whole the Vietnamese and the Chinese long have detested other.

Meanwhile Taiwan, whose demotion throughout the world was triggered by the United States' bid to woo mainland China, has become a vigorous and prosperous democracy that might better be called Free China. The brave little country strives quietly to maintain its sovereignty in anticipation of the eventual dissolution of the totalitarian regime that threatens it.

So it seems that the United States would have done better to stay true to its principles and loyal to Free China, whose simple example may be the best hope for democracy on the mainland.

Chris Powell is managing editor of the Journal Inquirer, in Manchester, Conn.

 

Promises, promises

  In 1997 the Communist dictatorship in Bejing promised the people of Hong Kong that they'd have local autonomy, including electing their own officials, after the British colony was forced to rejoin China. In 1994, Russia, then a corrupt democracy and now a corrupt dictatorship, promised not to use force or threaten to use force against Ukraine in return for Ukraine giving up its nuclear weapons.

We know how both these promises worked out. You can bet that no country is going to give up its nuclear weapons. any time soon. And Taiwan is even more unlikely than before to join  China on the basis of the promise that Beijing would allow the people of Taiwan their own democracy.

Dictators think promises are a joke.