"Pay close attention to that man behind the curtain!"

Friday, October 29, 2004

Powell claims he misspoke

Just a couple of days after saying that the US hoped for a "reunification" of Taiwan and China, Secretary of State Colin Powell has backpedaled on the particular statement.

Radio Australia tells it like this:
Mr Powell said in television interviews during the visit that Taiwan was not a sovereign nation and that the United States favored its "peaceful reunification" with China.

But Mr Powell now says he meant to say the US wants a peaceful "resolution" to the cross strait problem - replacing the word "reunification." [sic]
But don't pull the red-hot poker out of his ass just yet. There are several things that still trouble me about this.

On Monday (October 25, 2004), the State Department's Deputy Spokesman Adam Ereli had this to say while being asked specifically about the word "reunification." (The first time I read it, I didn't think too much of it, but upon re-reading it tonight after Powell's "correction," it took on a brand new shade of "bullshit."):
QUESTION: Yes, Secretary Powell, in interviews in Beijing, has said things on Cross-Strait relations that have never been said before by the U.S. Government, such as Taiwan does not enjoy the sovereignty of a nation, and also comments to the fact that we need to find ways to start cross-strait dialogue so that someday we may have the movement towards a peaceful reunification.

Does this indicate any policy change? I know your policy remains the same, but, you know, policy is described in words. When words change, so does the policy, doesn't it?

MR. ERELI: The policy has not changed. (Laughter.) We can lead with that. I think the Secretary is very clear that the United States is committed, remains firmly committed to its One China policy, based on the three communiqués and our responsibilities under the Taiwan Relations Act. He also made it clear that we opposed unilateral actions by either side, that we do not support Taiwanese independence, and that the way to resolve this issue is through peaceful dialogue.

As far as Taiwanese sovereignty goes, again, there was -- I don't think there was any new ground broken on that. The words the Secretary used accurately reflect our longstanding policy on Taiwan status. And so, frankly, I think we are today where we were yesterday.

QUESTION: Can I follow up please? When you say, you know, the United States does not want to prejudge the outcome of any outcome between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits, and when the Secretary uses words like reunification, is there a contradiction there? Why does the Secretary use such word as reunification?

MR. ERELI: I don't think you should read that any prejudging or hinting or departure from our longstanding position. That, as I said, the policy has not changed. One element of our policy has been to favor a peaceful resolution of the Cross-Straits issue through dialogue and through a resolution that is acceptable to both sides.

[...] [Emphasis mine]
How's that for addressing the question without addressing the question? Despite the reporter's emphasis on the word "reunification," the Deputy Freakin' Spokesman for the US State Department still didn't get it! If Powell "misspoke," somebody should have noticed by that point in time, don't you think?

There's also that meaningless bullshit about Powell "also ma[king] it clear that we opposed unilateral actions by either side." Someone living in Taiwan might not take that too seriously when China continues to increase the number of missiles aimed in their direction, and people get all upset because the Taiwanese are, you know, trying to protect themselves and stuff, being treated like "orphans" in a world that gives legitimacy to bellicose China.

Who ya gonna trust?
Townhall.com had an anonymously-written article quoting unnamed sources yesterday which said:
An American lawyer and analyst who lived in Taiwan during most of President Clinton's second term and during the current Bush presidency, said Thursday worried Taiwanese should "take a time-out."

"The guy made a mistake," he said of Powell. "If you think he was going to choose that forum [media interviews while visiting China] to announce a dramatic shift in policy, you're just not familiar with the issues."

Because the China-Taiwan situation was so finely-balanced and semantics were so important, when a poor choice of words is used, it causes a stir.

The lawyer, a supporter of President Bush who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Taiwanese had reason to be wary of Democratic administrations and policies.

"The Democratic policy-making community has clearly showed a tendency to pressurize Taiwan to give in to China," he said.

He cited officials like Richard Holbrooke and Winston Lord, assistant secretaries of state for East Asia and the Pacific in the Carter and Clinton administrations respectively.

"These are all people who have publicly advocated that Taiwan enter into interim agreements [with Beijing] - things that the Taiwanese do not favor and do not see too much advantage in." [Emphasis mine]
If you believe this anonymous lawyer/analyst/Bush supporter, then you don't know too much about Republican media manipulation either! To be honest, I'm not too fond of the Democrats' position toward China -- at least on the surface of it. I do tend to believe, however, that they (e.g., Clinton) are looking for longer-term stability through more diplomatic methods -- and that we're far more likely to get the truth about things from the Democrats.

But according to Townhall.com, we're supposed to believe the Bush administration?!

I wrote in an earlier post (in a subliminal message hidden in a mouse-over on the word "interview") that Mike Chinoy's interview of Powell "reads like a script," so the likelihood that Powell "misspoke" diminishes greatly, in my opinion.

Other notable "misspeakers"
I suppose Dick Cheney "misspoke" when he (repeatedly) linked Saddam Hussein to the September 11, 2001 attacks.

I assume Donald Rumsfeld "misspoke" when he said he knew where the WMD were.

I imagine Condoleezza Rice "misspoke" when she said that the title of that Presidential Daily Briefing was "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US" and that she "could not have imagined" planes being used as missiles.

I guess Dubya "grotesquely misunderstatemented" when he said, "Ya fool me can't get fooled again."

I suppose I could go on like this for days... I hope Americans don't "misvote" next Tuesday. Don't get fooled again!
eXTReMe Tracker
This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?