Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Today in history

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1854 The Republican Party is founded in Wisconsin – the party was founded on the principles of opposing the growth of slavery (good), strong national defense (good), but also highly regulated and protectionist business (bad). Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican President.
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1972 The Shanghai Communique was issued jointly by Mao Tse Tung and Richard Nixon on the conclusion of Nixon’s groundbreaking visit to communist China. At that point, the US continued to not recognise the People’s Republic of China, but maintained diplomatic relations and military bases on the Republic of China in Taiwan.
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The key breakthrough was the following portion of the Communique
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“There are essential differences between China and the United States in their social systems and foreign policies. However, the two sides agreed that countries, regardless of their social systems, should conduct their relations on the principles of respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states, non-aggression against other states, non-interference in the internal affairs of other states, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence. International disputes should be settled on this basis, without resorting to the use or threat of force. The United States and the People's Republic of China are prepared to apply these principles to their mutual relations. “
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..and more shocking for Chiang Kai Shek, precipitating the Republic of China (Taiwan)’s withdrawal from the United Nations, was the announcement by the US that:
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“The United States acknowledges that all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China. The United States Government does not challenge that position. It reaffirms its interest in a peaceful settlement of the Taiwan question by the Chinese themselves. With this prospect in mind, it affirms the ultimate objective of the withdrawal of all U.S. forces and military installations from Taiwan. In the meantime, it will progressively reduce its forces and military installations on Taiwan as the tension in the area diminishes.”
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In short, the US announced it was abandoning its direct defence of Taiwan against Chinese attack – Chiang Kai Shek felt betrayed by the USA. Peace between the USA and the murderous tyrants that butchered and starved tens of millions of Chinese seemed like madness. However, Nixon was not concerned with anything other than isolating the Soviet Union – he knew that peace with China would help protect US interests in Asia, and see China turn its effort towards the USSR. It was realpolitik – your enemy’s enemy is your friend. After the 1972 New Zealand election, one of the first foreign policy moves of the Kirk Labour government was to recognise the People's Republic of China, which meant concurrently terminating diplomatic relations with the Republic of China (Taiwan).
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And in 1983, the last episode of MASH was broadcast to a US audience of over 100 million viewers.

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