I’ve been tracking the spread of Robert Scheer’s awful bit of writing Taiwan Declares Peace on China, which has spread, Spanish Flu-like, to The Nation (my response at DKOS). One of the things I noted in my reply is that far from using Taiwan as a Cold War stalking horse to advance to some putative WWWIII against China, the Bush Administration and the US Establishment, dazzled by the prospect of money to be made in China, are busy selling out the island to China.

One example of this is the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the Establishment elite think tank whose rosy view of future US-China relations should be read not as a prediction of the coming future, but as a primer on how the things to come will be shaped. Today in the South China Morning Post CFR member Jerome Cohen had a piece on China-Taiwan economic cooperation…you can see where it is going from the first paragraph:

The establishment of direct air and sea links between Taiwan and the mainland and the expansion of mainland tourism to Taiwan have justifiably attracted favourable worldwide attention. Yet these important steps - currently being implemented through cautious but good-faith co-operation on both sides of the Taiwan Strait - represent only the first stage of the greater cross-strait integration made possible by the election of Ma Ying-jeou.

The second stage, which will require implementation of major industrial projects jointly conducted by government-backed organisations on each side, will prove even more challenging. But it has already begun, albeit with little fanfare. Although almost obscured by the exciting progress in transport and tourism, ambitious plans are now under way for co-operation in oil and gas exploration in the Taiwan Strait and elsewhere.

The political implications of Cohen’s views should be obvious. What the CFR wants is for Taiwan’s political independence to quietly disappear into “economic integration.” Most of the piece consists of a review of what has gone on and what is going on, but the last two paragraphs…

Such participation would, of course, enable CNOOC to share the investment risks with CPC. More importantly, because Taipei has long made claims over the Diaoyu Islands and broad areas of the East China Sea that are similar to Beijing’s, CPC’s entry into the project might increase pressure on Japan to make what Greater China deems a reasonable settlement concerning the disputed resources.

Mr Ma is admirably qualified to lead the Taiwanese side in this effort. He has been closely following this situation since he began to research the international legal problems of East Asia’s offshore oil for his doctoral dissertation at Harvard Law School 30 years ago.

I’ll leave it as an exercise to the reader what kind of “reasonable settlement” a China made Greater with the annexation of Taiwan might want. One also might reasonably wonder why such a remark is in this article from a CFR member in the first place.

There’s a couple of other interesting things about this article I thought I’d point out. The first author is Jerome Cohen of the CFR. The blurb at the bottom says:

Jerome A. Cohen is an NYU law professor and adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Chen Yu-jie is a Taiwan lawyer and the current NYU School of Law Robert L. Bernstein Fellow in International Human Rights

I know you are thinking that Cohen’s name is familiar, so I’ll relieve your curiosity: Cohen is not just any NYU law professor — he was Ma Ying-jeou’s mentor in college. In other words, pretending to be a dispassionate analysis of events, Cohen is actually invested in them in two very different ways — as a longtime Ma booster, and as a CFR member who wants to see China annex Taiwan, but ever so quietly so nobody notices, so we all wake up here one morning and find we’re Locutus of Borg. When Ma visited the US in 2006, Jerome Cohen was the presider at a Q&A session in which Ma received softball questions. It would have been nice if the article had somewhere indicated the prior relationship between Cohen and Ma.

There’s another thing about Jerome Cohen that is interesting. In 1991 Winston Dang (Mandarin Chen) published Taiwangate: Blacklist Policy and Human Rights, a collection of materials relating to the KMT blacklist and its surveillance activities in the United States. In the Preface he wrote:

I can recall one day in 1978, when I attended a seminar at Harvard’s Department of East Asian Studies. As the scheduled speaker was from Taiwan, many other Taiwanese students were also present. Dr. Jerome Cohen, a Harvard professor, was seated next to me. While we watched the students fill the room, Professor Cohen leaned towards me and whispered ‘There’s another KMT spy!” I could not understand why Professor Cohen would reveal his own student as a spy, though, he might have been joking. However, I recognized the Chinese student as someone very active in the publication of the “Boston Newsletter,” distributed by the Boston area Chinese Student Association and supported by the authorities in Taiwan. This man had also attended a pro-Taiwanese rally, feigning support for our cause. While at the rally, he and a group of his friends stood apart from the rest of us and remained silent. Some activists recognized his face and chased him away. A few years later, as a man in his early thirties, he went back to Taiwan and accepted a very powerful position in the government.

Winston Dang would go on to become EPA head in the second Chen Administration. The student who “accepted a very powerful position in the government” would go on to….higher things.