Location: Halstead, Kansas, United States

This is my seventh year at Halstead which is also where I live with my wife and my soon to be two year old daughter.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Geography And Foreign Diplomacy

Who says geography doesn't mean anything?

Textbooks headed for a Japanese school in China were seized by customs officials who objected to the way maps in the books depicted the Chinese mainland and rival Taiwan, an official said Tuesday.

The maps showed the mainland and the island in different colors, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao, indicating that Beijing was concerned this might make Taiwan seem like a separate country.

China and Taiwan split amid civil war in 1949, but the communist government in Beijing claims the self-governed island as part of its territory and rejects any suggestion that it is a sovereign nation.

"The Japanese textbooks showed China and Taiwan in different colors," Liu said at a regular news briefing. "The 'one-China principle' is paramount, so it is legitimate for China's customs to handle this according to the law."


Blogger brittany said...

I would like to start out by saying that I think the one-China principle is politically smart but ethically bull. My extensive thoughts on this issue probably shouldn't be posted on a high school blog, so I will refrain from continuing on that particular train.

I am unsurprised that these school books are actually an issue that made it clear to US news. Not that published facts are different from reality (although in this instance, which is real and which is the fabrication evades my reasoning). If everyone got upset about how true the "facts" are in social science books, then none of them would ever make it into the classroom.

What bothers me is that China is going to get away with this bullying self-deception. It is as though they are in complete denial that anything really ever happened. How likely are we to call them on it? Not China, our economic friend to the west. We will let them continue to insist that they are the true leaders of the area, regardless of what anyone else says.

I can't hep but think of Alsace-Lorraine. The long term dispute between France and Germany drew to a close with two devastating wars. Is that something we have to look forward to? What will happen if, in twenty years, ten years, China decided that they want ALL of eastern Asia. That everything not directly of Slavic or Indian influence should be under their control. (They probably think this already, but thats just my subconsciouys prejudices showing through).

Would they even have to go the way of military conquest? Apparently they could just drudge up some old wars and say "They only think they won this, but really it was us, really they've been a part of china all along" and we'll all just nod and smile and say, yes, that must be how it was, now will you please make sure we can set American businesses on every corner of your hugely expanded state? That'd be greeeeeeaaat.

6:55 PM  
Blogger Mr. Warsnak said...

I can only give a short response for the time since I am in the middle of a conference. You seem to think China's aggressive stance is totally their own doing. I would disagree by reminding you that China might be skeptical of anything Japan does due to their history. Also, you assign blame well, but what do you think the solution is and is there anyhting that the US needs to be doing. Afterall, the US seems to enjoy poking its nose into other people's business.

8:48 AM  
Blogger brittany said...

Also, you assign blame well, but what do you think the solution is and is there anyhting that the US needs to be doing. Afterall, the US seems to enjoy poking its nose into other people's business.

Of course China's aggressive stance is their own doing. Sure, the Imperialist rush in the 19th century made China seem like a victim, but just a century before China had expanded its own borders to include Xinjiang and Tibet. Are we supposed to judge the actions of one country by the history of another?

So what can the US do? We can take a stand, actually defend the sovereignty of a nation from one with which they have already fought a war. Of course, going against China would lead to some economic damage, but if Mr. President really means what he says, lining America's pocket is not why we get involved in foreign affairs.

Ideally, America would stand up for the things we claim to defend. But realistically, this is not the time to strain any relations with yet another country. There is no way we can continue forever against the idea of terrorism without some support from foreign allies. As much as it galls me to say it, probably the best course of action is inaction.

There, I said it. The one china policy is necessary, and probably the wisest course. I guess China is just too important to lose over a small moral issue.

4:48 PM  

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