Monday, October 4, 2021

Cat warrior

 
Hsiao Bi-khim on the Chicago River.

    A wolf and a cat are born on the same day. The wolf pup is much bigger, maybe a pound at birth. The kitten, closer to four ounces. But they roll and tumble, playmates if not friends.
     Time passes. Both grow. The wolf becomes 150 pounds. The cat, 10. The wolf is sharp-eyed, fierce and hungry, looking for its next meal. The cat is anxious, constantly trying to keep from ending up in the wolf’s belly.
     Welcome to the China-Taiwan relationship, circa 2021. Both nations were founded at the same time, in the late 1940s. Taiwan was never part of Communist China. But China insists Taiwan is its possession anyway and wants it, eventually.
     Communist China is much, much bigger: 1.3 billion people over 3.705 million square miles. Taiwan has 23 million people on almost 14,000 square miles, or less than 1/2 of 1 percent of the area of China.
     Which leads to the question of why China is so keen to snap it up, even though doing so would plunge the global economy into chaos? And the answer is: because they’re China, growing in power and aggression, keen to claim everything it thinks is its due, Hong Kong was returned from Britain and is being brutally suppressed.
     Next on the agenda is Taiwan, which it describes as a “renegade province.” Trouble is brewing. On Friday, the Chinese sent 38 warplanes into Taiwanese airspace. The whole flap over the United States selling submarines to Australia is about keeping China from gobbling up its neighbors.
      Trying to keep a distracted world aware, if not exactly focused, on their delicate situation is a continuing task for Taiwan. That’s what brought Hsiao Bi-khim, the Taiwanese representative to the United States, to Chicago last week, and how we ended up sitting in the prow of Chicago’s First Lady, politely balancing paper plates of deep dish pizza that neither of us wanted on our knees, and talking international relations as the glittering riverfront skyscrapers slid by.


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4 comments:

  1. Who would of thought when President Nixon visited China with his trusty can opener and faithful French spy Vicky disguised as a cat, he would be opening up a can of worms? Well perhaps the John Birch Society. Or who would have thought as recently as ten years ago China would be ruled with an iron fist by Winnie the Pooh's potentatic evil twin? Certainly not me, I don't take a Melange of drugs.

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  2. Neil - You've wetted our appetite and I sincerely hope more information on this meeting is forthcoming. What happens next?

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    1. Umm no, that's it. I wrote everything interesting about it. She went back to Washington. I stopped by the Goat, talked to Rick Pearson, then went home. Sorry.

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  3. I'm as suspicious of China as Neil is, but I feel compelled to point out that China didn't arrogantly snatch Hong Kong from Britain. They merely made the British live up to the terms of a long-term lease (99 years, 199 years, something absurd like that) that required Britain to hand over Hong Kong when it terminated, which it did.

    That said, I hope America does defend Taiwan if it ever comes to that.

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