Lame Duck Diplomacy

From the December 1998 Trumpet Print Edition

August’s issue of The Trumpet outlined President Clinton’s June 30 speech in which he reinforced U.S. support of the three nos: 1) no U.S. support for declaration of independence by Taiwan, 2) no U.S. support for the existence of “one China-one Taiwan” and 3) no U.S. support for Taiwan’s membership in international organizations in which membership is based on statehood.

The speech, which Clinton shamefully allowed Chinese officials to prepare, marked a shocking reversal of America’s historic alliance with Taiwan, and left the Taiwanese fearing for their future.

On the home front, political officials in both the House and Senate publicly voiced their support for Taiwan, seemingly at odds with the President’s speech. The Taiwanese question has now become a diplomatic hot potato with U.S. policy makers.

For international observers, U.S. words don’t match with U.S. actions.

In November, U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson traveled to Taiwan to attend a joint U.S.-Taiwanese business conference, also meeting with President Lee Ten-hui. Richardson is the first cabinet official to visit Taiwan in more than two years. The trip incensed Beijing. An official statement said, “We are firmly opposed to the trip because the U.S. government has made solemn commitments that U.S. relations with Taiwan will remain unofficial, and now they are sending a cabinet official.”

Tibetan god-king Dalai Lama recently met with President and Mrs. Clinton, Vice President Al Gore and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright at the White House. Chinese officials, already fuming at the apparent reversals of U.S. policy toward Taiwan, issued a statement against the Dalai Lama’s presidential meeting through foreign ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao. “The U.S. actions completely violate the international norm of international relations of non-interference in internal affairs and mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he said. In 1997 the Dalai Lama traveled to Taipei, sparking speculation that the two break away territories would build an alliance.

Beijing is left scratching its head, wondering whether or when this juggling diplomatic hot potato will fall favorably for them. Meanwhile, as current U.S. policy distances itself from Taiwan, U.S. diplomacy appears very much favorable toward Taiwan.

This volley of inconsistency was foretold for the end time in the pages of the Bible, revealing that God would “break the pride of our power” (Lev. 26:19; Dan. 9:13-14). The U.S. is finding itself increasingly without friends in the international community. Traditional loyalties have given way to political correctness and an increasing use of empty threats, lacking the will to use its power to enforce the right. This has weakened a great and powerful nation. As Lamentations 1:19 tells us, we “call for our lovers, but they will deceive us.”

Lame duck diplomacy, like we see from the U.S. toward China and Taiwan, will inevitably further isolate America from influence on the international scene and strengthen the hand of her traditional enemies. Meanwhile, Taiwan awaits engulfment from the inevitable wave of superior force across the narrow Taiwan strait.