US imperialism looks to destabilise region in wake of Taiwan elections
The recent re-election of President Tsai Ing-Wen in Taiwan has strengthened the United States’ Cold War position against China. Diplomatic tensions are now set to intensify still further across the Taiwan Straits.
An attempt by the US to focus on developments in Taiwan, however, reveals the tendency of the Trump administration to use a myopic vision toward the region, within a haphazard foreign policy.
Elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region, for example, the balance of forces has swung heavily against traditional US domination, as revealed in a recent research study conducted for the business-classes and diplomatic missions.
In January, President Tsai Ing-Wen of Taiwan was re-elected with what was regarded as a landslide victory. The coverage in mainstream Australian media revealed it has been regarded by Canberra as a major achievement for US-led regional diplomacy and their present obsession with Cold War diplomatic positions against China.
President Tsai Ing-Wen and her Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) are advocates of possible independence moves against the standard One China policy held by Beijing, which regards the island as a renegade province. It was claimed that President Tsai Ing-Wen 'won by rejecting the idea of Taiwan ever being part of one country, two systems'. (1)
The re-election victory took place against a large defeat for the DPP in local government elections in 2018, which forced President Tsai Ing-Wen to stand-down as national chair of the DPP. Following the defeat, the US stepped up support for Taiwan, with moves which included a $2 billion arms deal for Taipei.
Recent demonstrations in Hong Kong appear to have galvanised support for Tsai Ing-Wen in Taiwan; it was noted that 'the Hong Kong protests have entrenched support for Tsai at the expense of candidates Beijing preferred'. (2) By adding support for the Hong Kong protests, President Tsai Ing-Wen increased her approval ratings from 25 per cent to well over 50 per cent. (3)
Behind the scenes, however, lie the hidden hands of the US imperialists .
Support for Taiwan has become a major regional foreign policy move for the Trump administration and their adherence to Island Chain Theory, a relic of the previous Cold War re-packaged by military hawks in Washington and the Pentagon to serve present agendas against China. It was also noted as early as 2012 that 'the Pentagon is particularly concerned about the growing imbalance of power across the Taiwan Strait'. (4)
The Trump administration subsequently celebrated the presidential election victory in Taipei by sailing a US warship through the Taiwan Straits. While an official media release declared it a 'routine mission', the clear intention was to heighten diplomatic hostilities still further with Beijing. (5)
The fact that Taiwan has only fourteen countries recognising it at the United Nations does not appear to cause the Trump administration much concern. Their main concern appears to be the defence and security of ''US interests', and Taiwan is regarded as an important asset.
Even though the US switched its own diplomatic allegiance to Beijing in 1979, Taiwan has retained importance due its close proximity to China. While trade links are strong, military and security considerations remain of paramount significance and importance.
The US established the main National Security Bureau in Taipei in 1955, and despite name changes its main function has been to spy upon China. (6) It also has important signals intelligence (SIGINT) facilities on two small islands, Quemoy and Matsu, and a major complex linked directly to the US National Security Agency and interestingly the German BND at Shu Lin Kuo. (7)
Some of the continued significance and importance of Taiwan for 'US interests' has been out-sourced, to enable the US to distance itself from more unpalatable diplomatic behaviour.
It is, therefore, important to note Taiwan has historically been used by the US to host the notorious Political Warfare Cadres Academy (PWAC), used to train members and supporters of the World Anti-Communist League, which despite name changes still co-ordinates far-right political activity throughout all continents.
Renamed the World League for Peace and Freedom (WLPF) in 1990, at the end of the last Cold War, the former WACL organisation now has representatives in over a hundred countries. All activity is co-ordinated through its headquarters in Taipei. (8) The main organisation is little other than a front for 'cut-outs', agents and other forms of intelligence assets.
Despite the name change most of its original functions have remained intact; its specialities include counter-intelligence and counter-insurgency operations against those regarded as adversaries. Psychological warfare (psy-ops) to 'supervise political warfare campaigns and promulgate propaganda, as well as civic affairs units for the purpose of infiltrating behind enemy lines', all form part of standard two-month training courses. (9)
Standard PWCA training has tended to concentrate upon supporters from military backgrounds, who regard democracy with distaste. Taiwan, during the period for example, had little difficulty developing strong economic and military ties with Apartheid South Africa, despite Pretoria regarding Taiwanese people as Asiatics and 'non-white'. (10)
Emphasis with standard PWCA training is placed upon 'the Taiwanese method', of unconventional warfare and terror methods. (11) The fact the academy was responsible for the training of many Latin American military personnel during the 1980s who subsequently used their graduation skills for 'death squads' and the murdering of tens of thousands of trade-unionists and others, is regarded by the guardians of the school as an achievement. (12)
Studies of Taiwan have revealed how with dwindling diplomatic support for Taipei, successive ruling administrations have relied upon the WACL and its successors such as the WLPF, for establishing contacts with like-minded far-right political supporters and groups elsewhere. (13)
There remains little ambiguity about who was actually pulling the strings of the puppets: past contacts with the WACL include retired Major-General John Singlaub, chair of the whole organisation during the 1980s period. (14) In a previous capacity Singlaub was the former military commander of US troops in South Korea. It is also interesting to note how the WACL also used the South Korean Unification Church as a front organisation and part of operations, with their funding of the Washington Times, a real-life psy-op. (15)
Those responsible, including those in the Pentagon, may have changed their clothes, but the main body of the WACL / WLPF has remained the same.
There are two reasons why the US regards the recent election victory of President Tsai Ing-Wen as important.
There is every reason to believe with continued dwindling diplomatic support for Taipei the drive toward using out-sourced organisations following in the tradition of the WACL / WLPF has intensified, particularly in light of a recent publication by the Singapore-based Yusef Ishak Institute.
Taiwan will be increasingly drawn toward using front-organisations to maintain its regional and wider links with supporters. It is increasingly diplomatically isolated; its only remaining diplomatic links are with countries hardly to be regarded as important international players with leverage.
The study of ASEAN countries, is particularly significant in light of the organisation being established during the previous Cold War, as a major anti-communist regional body. Any attempt to establish what is going on inside the Asia-Pacific region at present has to take ASEAN into account, it remains a central trade body. The recent presidential election result in Taiwan, therefore, has to be viewed in the context of other, greater developments.
The ISEAS publication State of South-East Asia 2020, has provided an important contribution toward understanding the changing balance of forces taking place across the region. The study noted, 'ASEAN is becoming an arena for major power competition', and China being the most influential economic power. (16)
The study also revealed that 'China continues to solidify its economic stranglehold on the region', with less than eight per cent of the sample regarding the US 'as the most influential economic power in the region'. (17) In fact, only 52 per cent regarded Washington as even welcome in the region. (18)
When assessing the continued significance of US foreign policy toward the region the Trump administration might like to note the study found nearly fifty per cent of the sample regarded it as questionable whether the US was even to be regarded as a reliable strategic partner. (19) With only just over fifty per cent of the sample regarding alignment with the US as important, it might be sensible for Canberra-based decision-makers to question the continued significance of the diplomatic alliance with the US. (20)
The findings of the ISEAS survey follow similar findings last year when a report of a US Congress Commission established 'that the US is no longer clearly superior to the threats it faces around the world and that it would struggle to win wars against China or Russia'. (21)
If Canberra is really keen to foster stronger diplomatic relations within the Asia-Pacific region, it might be necessary to distance the country from the US and notions of what 'US interests' which include getting drawn into real-war scenarios:
We need an independent foreign policy!
1. Editorial: Taiwan's message to the world, Australian, 13 January 2020.
2. Touted as 'the next Hong Kong', Taiwan lives on the edge, The Weekend Australian, 23-24 November 2019.
4. U.S. seeks new Asia defences, The Wall Street Journal, 24-26 August 2012.
5. American warship sails through Taiwan Straits, The Weekend Australian, 18-19 January 2020.
6. Espionage, Spies and Secrets, Richard M. Bennett, (London, 2003), page 305.
8. Wikipedia: World Anti-Communist League / World League for Peace and Freedom.
9. Inside the League, Scott Anderson and Jon Lee Anderson, (New York, 1986), pp. 56-57.
10. Inside BOSS, South Africa's Secret Police, Gordon Winter, (London, 1981), pp. 48-49.
11. Inside the League, op.cit., page 137.
12. Ibid., page 135, page 137, page 214, page 215.
13. Ibid., page 106.
14. The Iran-Contra Scandal, Edited, Peter Kornbluh and Malcolm Byrne, (New York 1993), page xxx.
15. Inside the League, op.cit., footnotes, page 57.
16. ISEAS: State of South-East Asia, 2020, page 8, page 15; and, ASEAN states lost faith in US against China, Australian, 16 January 2020.
17. ISEAS, ibid., page 15.
18. Ibid., page 17.
19. Ibid., page 40.
20. Ibid., page 29.
21. Study: U.S. no longer dominant power in the Pacific, Paul D. Shinkman, Information Clearing House, 22 August 2019.