Michael Klare, whose work often appears in progressive publications, has a piece in Asia Times today on the “newly-revealed” Bush policy: contain China.

Slowly but surely, the grand strategy of the Bush administration is being revealed. It is not aimed primarily at the defeat of global terrorism, the incapacitation of rogue states, or the spread of democracy in the Middle East. These may dominate the rhetorical arena and be the focus of immediate concern, but they do not govern key decisions regarding the allocation of long-term military resources. The truly commanding objective - the underlying basis for budgets and troop deployments - is the containment of China.

Go and read it yourselves, though Klare is years late in appreciating this. There won’t be much new in Klare’s piece for people who have following events here. I just want to observe that like most commentators in the west, Klare actually doesn’t understand the whole Taiwan situation very well, and ends with this:

This will make the amicable long-term settlement of the Taiwan problem and of North Korea’s nuclear program that much more difficult, and increase the risk of unintended escalation to full-scale war in Asia. There can be no victors from such a conflagration.

As long as China threatens to plunge the region into war because Taiwan wants to be a free and democratic state, no amicable settlement of the Taiwan problem is possible. Klare is writing from the inherent “it’s Taiwan that’s the problem” perspective and misses this key aspect of the situation. Neither the US nor Taiwan are wholly the problem — a key aspect is also Chinese expansionism. There seems to be a serious blind spot with “progressives” and Taiwan…..