President Obama on his first and epic diplomatic tour of Asia visiting Japan, China, attending a regional summit in Singapore and making final hop to South Korea at last restores the US on a path of engagement with the Western Pacific nations, long neglected by President Bush’s eight years of foreign policy myopia and obsession with Iraq. Whether Obama will gain more than a glad-handing and cup cake man handling by Chinese and Japanese remains to be seen. I will say this from the prophetic angle, Obama’s Asian odyssey will go down as an event marking an important shift in US foreign policy that will, for better or worse, bring the nation’s focus out of the Middle East and onto the region where the real future challenges lie: the western Pacific rim. It is a major theme in my upcoming digital book Predictions for 2010, which will be posted at HogueProphecy.com on 1 December.
I love to be wrong sometimes, don’t you? I especially like to be wrong when prophecy’s potential forecasts a possible future that we dare not take and didn’t. I wrote and posted the article below only to my private newsletter list members back on 22 February 2008. At that time I harbored hope that Taiwan would step back from what was a real temptation of its politicians to declare independence from China right when the whole world would be watching the 2008 Beijing Olympics a half-year later.
Reading the article “The Wad to End all Wars” today may shine a light on an interpreter’s hits, hopes and misses. I believe the predictions take on more significance now, as Obama on Air Force One flies back to Washington from Asia. Also, there’s this little song at the end I invite you to sing along with me.
A root motivation for warfare goes all the way back to its primal beginnings when ballistics were comprised of stones and sharpened sticks. People go to war to conquer and control economic resources. That is about to change, and it begins in this pivotal year of 2008. With 2008, we enter a new era when economic need will impede future wars, rather than instigate them.
In a new global society, economy has been freed of the constraints of national identity and political borders. The new year will test my prediction in the most potentially dangerous way. As far back as 1994, I have recorded on radio and television my concern about the potential of a Sino-Taiwanese war.
The mainland communist regime, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), ever since its inception in 1949, has laid claim to the province of Taiwan on the Island of Formosa, separated by the 80-mile-wide Strait of Formosa. It became a haven for what remained of Chiang Kai-shek’s KMT (Kuomintang) nationalist army and government, which Mao’s peasant armies had pushed off Mainland China in 1949 after decades of civil war. During the Cold War, Chiang fortified the island with US help and declared it the only legitimate Chinese regime: the Republic of China (ROC). His dream was to stretch out from Taiwan and take China back from the communists.
Over time the US and United Nations had to see political realities rather than this fiction and by the mid 1970s, the PRC was invited to take a permanent seat at the UN Security Council as the recognized Mainland Chinese state. Geriatrics and generational changes brought a slow eclipse of Nationalist Chinese control over Taiwan and it became more independently Taiwanese in national and political identity.
On 30 September 2007, Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party approved a resolution professing separate identity from China and called for the enactment of a new constitution for a “normal country,” called “Taiwan.”
In 2008, a popular desire among the Taiwanese for official independence from China will prompt President Chen to make the 2008 presidential election a referendum on whether Taiwan should enter the United Nations as a separate nation.
The PRC has been dead set against it, or any other step that would formalize a break of what they view as a Chinese union of provinces by what they consider a secessionist, illegal government.
The temptation this summer will be high among leaders of the Taipei government to declare independence from China during the upcoming Beijing Olympics in August 2008. Would Beijing make good its threat to take Taiwan back by force with the whole world represented at the Olympics, watching?
A greater obstacle than losing international face is at stake.
Today, if China threatened an invasion across the Strait of Formosa, it would disrupt $80 billion dollars of business it does with Taiwan annually. Conversely, Taiwan listening to its fire-breathing secessionists would most certainly suffer a Beijing boycott before battle and invasion that might cripple Taipei’s economy overnight. In our times of global economic interconnectivity, if you bomb your enemy’s factory you destroy your own goods. If the US should go to war with China over Taiwan, it would be attacking its own sweatshops making merchandise. If China struck out at the US, it would be killing its customers. Big war in the old sense has become unprofitable. Thus, the opportunity for an era of intelligent diplomacy has never been in greater demand than in this new century.
Crying uncle, Taiwan might be amendable to a diplomatic solution offered by the next US president. I call it the “Time Out” plan. Taiwan would agree to full restoration to China after a cooling off period of 80 years. Perhaps that would be more than enough time for its free market economic philosophy to undermine the communist regime in Beijing. The pen signing business transactions is mightier than the sword. It will be the wad of money and the mutually profitable promise of commerce that breaks down all borders and ends all future wars
Who knows? Perhaps the new lyrics I wrote to Stephen Foster’s “Camp Town Races” might apply to what happens next:
The Chinese people sing this song:
The Chinese race is a billion strong
Oh, the Buddha Day!
Goin’ communistic all night,
Goin’ communistic all day,
I bet my money on Mao Zedong,
Somebody bet on Taipei.
UPDATE (circa December 2009):
The fire-breathing Taiwanese politicians did put a cork in independence referendums, thank goodness, though the danger of a mainland invasion of Taiwan remains quite real.
Now a new prophecy about Taiwan. The new US administration has arrived. When I wrote the above I visualized Hillary Clinton teamed up with Obama. Moreover, I saw her going to China and Taiwan to arrange something like the solution described above. What I didn’t clearly see was the label she would wear. Not a president or vice president but apparently the vision of the negotiator will be fulfilled as Obama’s Secretary of State.
(19 November 2009)
Sample my commentary on prophetic themes of most current and urgent interest here: