Woodrow Wilson is famous for advocating "self determination" in matters of government--without external coercion. It has been a doctrine of the United States since--at least in theory. In reality, it is more a rhetorical device intended as a veneer for the more sinister doctrine of "American interest."
This article about a the presidential election in Taiwan is ample proof of the imperial reach of America over its client states abroad. The article begins, "The Obama administration has warned that a victory by Tsai Ing-wen, the Taiwanese opposition leader, in the island's January presidential election could raise tensions with China."
The article then quotes a "Senior US official as saying, "Ms Tsai, the Democratic Progressive party leader who is visiting Washington, had sparked concerns about stability in the Taiwan Strait, which is 'critically important' to the U.S." But why is "stability in the Tawain Strait" "critically important to the US?" Well, primarily, because the United States has given Taiwan its absolute assurance that we will defend Taiwan against China. But why have we given such a guarantee? We've wanted to defend Taiwan against a communist aggression and maintain "self determination." But this begs the question--why would the United States pledge such a thing to a tiny country on the other side of the world? What is the real American interest there?
But the question remains, if America is in a position to bless or curse Taiwan's presidential candidates, what kind of "self determination" does Taiwan possess? It would seem to be a sham. It is ironic, that the same article states, "During her visit to Washington, however, Ms Tsai appears to have failed to convince the administration that she would keep the improved relationship with China on track." Yet it confesses, ""Beijing has not commented on Ms Tsai's candidacy."
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