Some notes here. At the conference at CSIS this March, the head of the US-Taiwan Chamber of Commerce brought up a good point. The main purpose of an free trade area should be business related, and if Taiwan and the Mainland has good business relations, an FTA would be good for everyone, but without it, there really is no point from a business point of view. Incidentally, when I heard him talk, I got a nice warm feeling because the way he approached business (i.e. “get the detailed facts” and “argue civilly about them”) seems to be consistent with the way I think the world should work. (This makes me wonder about all of those people who studied astronomy and math in the 19th century in Zhejiang. Did they start and run businesses?)
Taiwan needs to realize that it is *not* a small thing for the United States to stick up for it, and so when the US does do something nice for Taiwan, it needs to be nice to the United States. Chen Shui-Bian’s refusal to transit Alaska when that was offerred was hugely stupid and damaging. The US State Department has to put up with a lot of compliants from Beijing every time it sticks its neck out for Taiwan, and if Taiwan doesn’t gladly take what is offered, then it makes it less likely that people in the US will help out Taiwan the next time.