In the latest Nelson Report Rupert Hammond-Chambers of the US-Taiwan business council explains the reasoning behind the choice of Paul Wolfowitz as Chairman of the organization:

TAIWAN…reaction, informally, in US-Taiwan circles to the surprise announcement of Paul Wolfowitz as chairman of the US-Taiwan Business Council has been, to be frank, incredulous.

To outside observers, the pick seemed to reflect a giant bet on the McCain campaign, as it’s hard to see how Wolfowitz, as a major architect of the failure in Iraq, would be able to make arguments on Taiwan’s behalf which would be received in the same way in a Democratic administration.

But the very able, respected president of the group, Rupert Hammond-Chambers, has very kindly explained the thinking behind Wolfowitz’s appointment:

“Chris, I just want to reiterate why we at the Council don’t view your concerns as relevant to our work. We don’t view our chairman through the prism of US domestic politics.

Our Council has had a number of Chairmen since our inception in 1976. We have had Republicans as chairman during Democratic presidencies and Democrats as chairman during Republican administrations. We don’t attempt to game out who we think the American people will choose to run the country when we deliberate over who we think would make a good chairman.

Our approach is to identify senior former government officials or business leaders who have an in-depth understanding of US-Taiwan-China relations. It’s critical to our work that our leadership understand the pitfalls inherent in just speaking in front of an informed audience let alone attempting to act as a platform to conduct a complex economic relationship. Our entire success is predicated on our ability to chart a course that doesn’t attempt to make decisions based on picking winners. We work with Republicans, Democrats, KMT and DPP. The Council is proud to call many in each community friend and have the highest regard for their views on US-Taiwan-China relations.

I have no idea who will win our election in November but I do know that Dr. Wolfowitz has an outstanding background in Asia and he will surely make a superb chairman for our group.”