In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 26, 2007 / 16 Kislev 5768

Peace through confusion

By Paul Greenberg

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Let us begin with this one fact, for it may be the only thing that is clear in all the diplomatic fog that has settled over this Chinese puzzle:

Joseph Wu is an envoy. .

I know that much. He walks, he talks, he looks like a diplomat. It takes me a good half-hour of asking dumb questions for him to show even the slightest trace of exasperation. Yes, he's definitely a diplomat. He speaks at least a couple of languages. (I can vouch for the quality of his English, though not his Chinese.)

To top it off, after our cordial interview during the afternoon, Mr. Wu was the guest of honor at a reception and birthday party for him at the Embassy Suites here in Little Rock. And it was held in … The Envoy Room! That cinches it. The man is definitely an envoy, a credentialed representative of the government of….

Well, that's where the confusion sets in. He's an envoy, all right, but an envoy from where? From a country with no formally, officially, universally recognized name. It's now known as Taiwan/Taipei/Republic of China or whatever you prefer to call that large land mass with a population of 23 million between the Chinese mainland and the Philippines.

The regime on the mainland is called the People's Republic of China, which is another conundrum. For that regime is certainly not the people's, nor a republic, nor does it encompass all Chinese. Its name is triply contrary to fact, as in the Holy Roman Empire of medieval times.

Words are wonderfully elastic things, extending even beyond the bounds of belief, yet wars have been fought over them. Thankfully, only a verbal war is now under way between the two Chinas — although at last count the "people's republic" on the mainland had something like a thousand missiles pointed at Taiwan. But for now the two sides are throwing only communiques at each other. Every rally produces a counter-rally, every gesture its opposite but equally heated response.

The object of diplomacy should be to keep this conflict only verbal, which is why the thicker the word-fog, the better. Words become fighting words when they get specific. The longer this dispute remains one over terminology, the longer it can be cushioned by words, words, words — like a grenade swaddled in layers of soft asbestos.

Donate to JWR

At this point, it would take a Lewis Carroll to keep up with the Alice in Wonderland vocabulary in which this dispute is conducted. Consider: Not long ago the Communist regime on the mainland (which is now deep into capitalism) passed an anti-secession ordinance against Taiwan/Taipei/Republic of China/Insert Your Own Name of Choice Here.

For in Beijing's eyes, Taiwan is a breakaway province. Never mind that it was never part of Communist China. How do you break away from a regime you were never part of? Yes, Lewis Carroll would understand, but maybe only Lewis Carroll.

Whenever and wherever these two Chinas cross diplomatic paths, like a couple who live together without speaking to each other, at least not formally, an elaborate ritual has been devised.

Every international organization has to come up with its own mutually acceptable name for the country/government/place informally known as Taiwan — from the World Trade Organization to the World Health Organization, not to mention Firefighters International, the International Pigeon Racers organization, Video Games International, the Miss Universe contest….

Each calls that island in the Pacific something different. It's Chinese Taipei at the Olympics and a Separate Custom Territory to the WTO. Mr. Wu's own resume identifies him as, hold your breath, Representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States.

Again and again the Chinese on Taiwan have sought recognition by the United Nations under the name Taiwan — a purely ceremonial demand so long as the other, much bigger China sits on the Security Council, complete with veto power and the world's recognition.

Now the republic on Taiwan is planning a plebiscite on the question of whether the island should demand admission to the UN under the name Taiwan. This isn't diplomacy so much as a publicity stunt — and a provocation. What purpose such a plebiscite would serve eludes me. It must be the same purpose little boys pursue when they tease bulls.

Strategic ambiguity has its uses in diplomacy as well as in military affairs. It sure beats the heck out of war. There is no need for either regime to be our enemy. Clarity is. The trick is to come up with a name sufficiently ambiguous to be acceptable to both sides — Chinese Taipei, for example.

At another juncture when the clash between the two Chinas was heating up — in 1958, when the shells had begun to fly in a dispute over the offshore islands of Quemoy and Matsu — an American president named Eisenhower showed the world how to cool down a crisis.

The sophisticates tended to describe the old general as just a good-natured duffer with no sense of the finer points of diplomacy. And here he was being called on to answer some all too specific questions from the press: Would the United States enter the developing clash? How far was this administration prepared to go to defend Taiwan? Shouldn't it just abandon those little islands that Beijing claimed?

Ike's press secretary, James Hagerty, was worried. The regime on Taiwan was begging to be "unleashed" — like a feisty Pekinese barking at a huge mastiff. One wrong word at the press conference, Mr. Hagerty told his boss, and everything, namely the world, might blow up.

"Don't worry, Jim," Ike assured him. "I'll just go out there and confuse 'em." And he did. At length. The man was inarticulate like a fox. And the crisis passed.

Call it peace through confusion. Which is a much better result than war through clarity.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.

Paul Greenberg Archives

© 2006 Tribune Media Services, Inc.