The Washington Times published a op-ed piece from Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, California Republican, the chairman of the International Relations Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations and Rep. Steve Chabot, Ohio Republican, the vice chairman of the International Relations Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia on Friday (thanks to STOP_george for pointing me to this) that asks if the US government’s direction on Taiwan affairs is all wrong.

In his remarks during last month’s Chinese New Year celebrations, Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian, suggested that given current circumstances, perhaps Taiwan’s moribund National Unification Council should be shut down. This toothless relic of a policy of wishful thinking is all but irrelevant in shaping events or policy in Taiwan or on the mainland. Nevertheless, Mr. Chen’s political opponents and their allies on the mainland seized the opportunity to suggest Mr. Chen was undermining the status quo with the People’s Republic of China (PRC), a dangerous move given the ever-present risk of confrontation between the two sides of the strait. In the United States, we call this “making a mountain out of a molehill.” His statement was not as dangerous as it was irrelevant. It was a thought, not a plan.

Hell yes, guys. What I’ve been saying all along. The US waaaaay overreacted to Chen’s remarks, and made a bigger problem than there really was. They end with a clarion call:

In the context of Taiwan’s vibrant democracy, one could say that Mr. Chen’s actions have been quite diplomatic. And far from a rebuke, our government should both acknowledge this, and — given China’s enduring threat — show the kind of support that our democratic ally deserves. For a country in which people are not allowed to google “sensitive” words such as freedom or democracy, China has never appealed to the hearts and souls of the Taiwanese people. The Taiwanese people should have the final words on their own future. In his State of the Union speech, President Bush said the United States is committed to an historic, long-term goal — we seek the end of tyranny in our world. When Chinese President Hu Jintao comes to Washington in April, we will applaud President Bush for his continued efforts to speak about the democratic values embedded in this country.

Why are the Republicans so out in front of the Dems on this? And why are they so supportive of democracy abroad and so contemptuous of it at home? One hardly knows whether to call and thank them, or call and rip them a new one for helping Bush gut the United States.