Letter: America obligated to helping Taiwan

From: Dan Vass


We are in the season of celebrating our own independence and sovereignty. We pride ourselves in knowing that we stood up to Britain to gain our independence. Yes, we won, but we couldn’t have done it without the aid of the French. France gave us that extra muscle to bring our freedom to reality. We still owe the French a great debt for what they did for us in 1780.

Freedom comes at a great price and also demands commitments. We should be careful not to make the same mistakes we made in 1949, debating whether to recognize Taiwan as a legitimate government. We were more worried about public opinion abroad than we were in our own country.

I think we are repeating our past actions. Taiwan wanted to purchase F-16 fighter jets; we refused to sell the fighters to them. We didn’t want to upset mainland China. The Taiwanese came up with their own Indigenous Defense Fighter. Then we changed our minds and allowed the foreign sale. We refused to sell Taiwan cruise missiles and they developed their own.

What if France had refused to help us gain our independence? Where would we be today? I’m not sure we would be an independent sovereign nation with over 200 years legacy behind us.

Do not the Taiwanese deserve the same opportunity to declare themselves free and independent? Do we still believe in self-determination as proclaimed by President Wilson at Versailles in 1919?

Our aid is not a party issue. It’s not a Democratic or Republican issue. It’s an AMERICAN moral obligation to stand up for the oppressed, the bullied, for those seeking self-determination. Isn’t that who we are? A beacon of liberty and equality? Yes, we have a long way to go, but aiding Taiwan in any way we can is a start.

Our deeds should match our speeches. We should open an embassy in Taipei and should offer our services to Taiwan to lease a military base on the island. As Madame Chiang said in her farewell speech to the American people in January, 1950, "For that which is morally wrong can never be politically right."