Showing posts with label taiwan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label taiwan. Show all posts

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Ma’s Puzzling Midterm Malaise

Ma’s Puzzling Midterm Malaise. By Shelley Rigger, Brown Professor of East Asian Politics, Davidson College
The Brookings Institution, March 2010

It is two years this month since Ma Ying-jeou was elected president of Taiwan. As he approaches the mid-term milestone, President Ma’s record is puzzling. On the one hand, he has made significant progress toward his most important goals. First, he’s stabilized cross-Strait relations. The tension that gripped Taiwan and China during the Chen years has abated, high-level visits have become routine and the two sides are engaged in energetic negotiations on a wide range of issues. Also, after taking a hard hit in the global economic downturn of 2008, Taiwan’s economy is bouncing back. Exports in December 2009 were almost 50 percent greater than December 2008 (admittedly a very low baseline), and economic forecasters predict a 2010 economic growth rate between 4 and 5 percent, although unemployment remains high. Ma has also rebuilt the all-important Taipei-Washington relationship, culminating in the Obama administration’s recent announcement that it would complete a long-awaited arms sale to Taiwan.

What is puzzling is that these successes have failed to endear President Ma to his constituents. On the contrary, his popularity has plummeted since the election, and today his personal approval ratings hover below 30 percent. The dissatisfaction extends to his party as well, and it’s been manifested concretely in elections. Ma’s party, the Kuomintang (KMT), won a far smaller share of the vote in December’s local elections than it captured in the previous round, and it lost 6 out of 7 legislative by-elections in January and February. Municipal elections at the end of this year already are being touted as a bellwether for the 2012 presidential race, when Ma is expected to seek a second term, and the trends do not look good. Hence the conundrum: Why are Ma’s successes in areas believed to be important to voters – reducing cross-Strait tension and reviving the economy – not boosting his approval ratings or his party’s political fortunes?

When Ma Ying-jeou was elected president two years ago, there was a widespread feeling that Taiwan would “get back to normal.” From 2000 to 2008, relations between Taipei and Beijing stagnated, mainly because PRC leaders refused contact with Taiwan’s Sino-skeptical president, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) leader Chen Shui-bian. For eight years, neither Taipei nor Beijing was interested in taking the political risks that reaching out to the other side would have entailed, and in the absence of progress, tensions increased. Thus, the return to power of the KMT, Taiwan’s long-time ruling party, was a welcome development in Washington and Beijing – and in Taiwan, where voters gave Ma 58 percent of the presidential vote as well as a legislature in which his party controlled almost 75 percent of the seats.

If Ma’s election meant things were “getting back to normal,” two years into his presidency we have a clear picture of what “normal” really means in the Taiwan Strait. In Taiwan’s domestic politics, “normal” is a highly-competitive democracy in which the executive is forced to accommodate an active and activist legislature while defending its positions from an energetic – and politically viable – opposition. In cross-Strait relations, “normal” means little overt tension, but no great breakthroughs to permanently resolve the conflict between Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China.

To understand the state of play in the Taiwan Strait it is helpful to keep in mind Robert Putnam’s “two-level game” metaphor for international negotiations. Beijing and Taipei are working together to design a framework for relations that allows for mutually-beneficial economic and people-to-people interactions while balancing the two sides’ long-term goals regarding international status and potential unification. Some of this work is conducted by representatives of the two governments in high-level, formal negotiations. The content of those negotiations is shaped and constrained by what Putnam calls “level two” interactions – more commonly known as domestic politics. In Taiwan’s case, Ma’s domestic weakness constrains the pace and content of cross-Strait rapprochement.

Under President Ma, elite-level interactions have been smoother than ever before, but that only accentuates the ways domestic politics limit Taiwan leaders’ options.  Those limitations are more evident today in part because the game was suspended for most of the Chen era. When Chen took office, PRC leaders paused the game because they perceived little benefit in negotiating with Chen, whom they believed was irreversibly committed to a pro-independence line. In their view, a small group of “stubborn independence elements” had wrested political control from the pro-China mainstream. They hoped that refusing to deal with Chen would help to restore the mainstream to power.

When Ma was elected, Beijing was happy to resume play. In the view of Chinese leaders, Ma was an improvement, not only over his immediate predecessor, but over the previous president, Lee Teng-hui, too. To give Ma a solid start, Beijing was prepared to concede important points. Rather than repeating their demand that Taiwan agree to their One China Principle as the basis for reopening negotiations, PRC leaders accepted Ma’s endorsement of the 1992 Consensus (a bit of verbal hand-waving in which the two sides agreed to set aside the problem of defining the “one China” they both claimed to believe in) as “close enough.”

Once it restarted the game, Beijing quickly discovered that having the right elite-level interlocutor was only the beginning. Many Taiwanese found Chen’s Sino-phobic policies unnecessarily provocative, but that did not mean they were ready to support blindly whatever policy the next administration proposed. As the pace of elite-level interactions accelerated, the focus of the domestic political debated shifted from restraining Chen’s provocations to scrutinizing Ma’s performance. At first, voters gave Ma (and, to a lesser extent, the KMT-controlled legislature) the benefit of the doubt, but new government’s record was disappointing, and voters began to lose confidence.

A number of factors contributed to the public’s waning trust in Ma. The lack of transparency in decision-making has been a particular concern. DPP leaders suggest high-ranking KMT cross-Strait specialists might be willing to compromise Taiwan’s autonomy in order to reach an agreement with Beijing. They argue that the government’s closed cross-Strait decision-making – including on the proposed Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) – is dangerous, because these specialists, whether out of perfidy or naïveté, might fail to protect Taiwan’s interests. (For example, the proximate cause of National Security Advisor Su Chi’s resignation in February was his mishandling of beef import negotiations with the U.S., but as Bruce Jacobs wrote in the Taipei Times, many Taiwanese found his resignation “long overdue” because they doubted Su’s commitment to Taiwan.)

To protect Taiwan from a badly-negotiated deal, Ma’s critics are demanding ECFA be subjected to formal ratification, either by popular referendum or in the legislature. Legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng, a KMT member, has said the legislature might overrule the ECFA deal if it does not meet lawmakers’ standards. President Ma chairs the KMT, so the lack of support for his policies within the party reinforces the sense that he and his inner circle lack a firm hand for dealing with opponents – and a firm hand is exactly what they need to deal effectively with the ever-tough negotiators from Beijing. Several of the KMT’s recent electoral set-backs resulted from local politicians rebelling against Ma’s attempts to clean up local politics, a development that further reinforces this impression.

Declining confidence in the Ma government also reflects the public’s sense that their leaders have not responded well to domestic crises. The government’s reaction to the disastrous typhoon last summer attracted enormous criticism, much of it focused on the perception that Ma had failed to register the impact of the disaster and react swiftly and proportionately. The government also has been hammered for dismissing popular fears about H1N1 vaccine and beef imported from the U.S. A DPP official suggested, “Ma just doesn’t seem to speak the people’s language.”

Paradoxically, Ma’s political weakness at home may help him protect Taiwan’s interests in negotiations with Beijing. Taiwan’s economic, political and military power all are declining relative to the PRC, so the negotiations are in danger of becoming perilously uneven. The practical difficulty of ratifying a cross-Strait deal in Taiwan’s nervous domestic climate helps balance that asymmetry. In his discussion of two-level games, Putnam argues that authoritarian states are at a disadvantage in international bargaining for precisely that reason: they cannot plausibly claim that certain agreements will fail the test of domestic ratification. Leaders from democratic states can make that case, and they can extract concessions from the other side on those grounds. The dynamic that Putnam describes may benefit Taiwan, but it is no fun for the man caught in the middle: President Ma Ying-jeou.

Beijing is unlikely to find any Taiwanese leader easier to deal with than Ma, so it is in China’s interest to keep the relationship on a positive track – even if that means accepting slower progress than it would like. That logic helps to explain why, even as Chinese leaders fulminated against the U.S. for its decision to follow through on arms sales to Taiwan, they chose not to direct their venom at Taipei. Likewise, the PRC continues to send high-level representatives and delegations to Taiwan despite large protests, including one in November 2008 that trapped PRC representative Chen Yunlin in a hotel for hours. And in December 2009 the two sides signed three technical agreements, even after Taipei nixed a fourth proposal.

Beijing has even made limited concessions on Taiwan’s demand for international space, which Ma stated last year: “There is a clear link between cross-strait relations and our international space. We’re not asking for recognition; we only want room to breathe.” The two sides are conforming to a tacit “diplomatic truce” proposed by Ma shortly after his inauguration; neither has poached a diplomatic partner from the other since that time. In 2009, Beijing even withdrew its opposition to Taiwan’s efforts to secure observer status at the UN World Health Assembly. The Ma administration touted that development as a breakthrough, but his political opponents took him to task for the opacity of the process and for overstating the benefits Taiwan derived from the deal. In fact, the WHA decision was less a precedent-setting breakthrough than a one-off deal that could be revoked in the future – but the alternative was continued exclusion and isolation.

In sum, Beijing is so far tolerating the measured pace of cross-Strait engagement imposed by Taiwan’s domestic politics. PRC leaders seem confident that over time, their position will strengthen, so there is no need to push for faster progress now. The slow pace works well for Taiwan, too, where even baby steps make many people nervous. Still, there is a sobering side to this picture. If the process slows too much, PRC leaders may determine that no Taiwan leader, including Ma, is capable of delivering any of what Beijing is seeking and so lose patience. That would mean game over for the Ma Ying-jeou approach to cross-Strait rapprochement.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Cross-Strait Relations Improve, but China Still Deploys Missiles

Cross-Strait Relations Improve; China Still Deploys Missiles. By Richard C. Bush III, Director, Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies
Brookings, June 27, 2009

In the relations between Taiwan and China, something intriguing happened between last spring and this spring. I refer not to the impressive progress that the two sides have made since Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou took office in May 2008. They have restored dialogue mechanisms; concluded agreements to enhance cooperation in the areas of trade, transportation, finance, and crime control; and made possible Taiwan’s participation as an observer at the annual meeting of the World Health Assembly. This significant progress occurred against the backdrop of fifteen previous years of deepening mutual mistrust, which led Beijing and Taipei each to craft policy based on fears of the other’s intentions rather than hopes for cooperation.

The intriguing development was what happened in the military field. In spite of progress in the political and economic arenas, the People’s Liberation Army’s procurement and deployment of equipment that puts Taiwan at risk continued unabated. According to the last two Pentagon report on China’s military power, released in March of 2008 and 2009, China’s short- and medium-range missiles, which target Taiwan, increased from a range of 995-1070 to 1050-1150. This rate of growth is a bit less than previous years, but still raises the question, what is going on?

Let us stipulate, for purposes of discussion, the following:
  • The PLA’s buildup occurred over the past decade because China perceived that Ma Ying-jeou’s predecessors planned somehow to permanently separate Taiwan from China. It was necessary, therefore, to secure the ability to deter this challenge to China’s fundamental interests, and to punish Taiwan if deterrence failed.
  • Some of the systems the PLA is acquiring have multiple uses, including surface ships, submarines, fourth-generation aircraft, and cyber-warfare. These can be used, for example, to protect China’s interests in the East China Sea as well as attack Taiwan. (But that is cold comfort for Taiwan’s security planners. They worry—correctly that those systems will be used against them, and to block the United States from coming to the island’s defense.)
Still, it is startling that Beijing did not adjust the procurements and deployments that are most relevant to Taiwan in response to Ma’s taking office. After all, what drove China to its military buildup was its perception of threatening intentions of Ma’s predecessors. He on the other hand has pursued a policy of reassurance and reconciliation. We can imagine several possible reasons.

The first is bureaucratic: that the PLA procures equipment on a five-year cycle, and the adjustment to Ma will begin in the cycle that begins in 2011. The second concerns threat perception: PLA and other leaders do not believe that the threat of separatism has disappeared. Pro-independence forces could return to power and China must be prepared. The third possible reason is institutional. The PLA is increasingly a corporate entity that has its own view of how, within broad policy parameters, to protect China’s national security. It could be some combination of the three. We simply do not know.

China’s failure to adjust has important implications for the future of cross-Strait stability, because it affects the sustainability of Ma Ying-jeou’s policies. In his electoral campaign, he argued that that the best way to ensure Taiwan’s prosperity, security, and dignity in the face of a more powerful China to reassure and engage Beijing. His appeal, therefore, defines what he must achieve to secure re-election in 2012 for himself and his party. Moreover, Ma has made very clear that China’s existing military capabilities are an obstacle to creating a truly stable cross-Strait environment. As he told The New York Times last year, “We don't want to negotiate a peace agreement while our security is threatened by a possible missile attack.”

China derives significant strategic benefit from Ma Ying-jeou’s policies, because they diminish what it saw as a serious threat. Ironically, if the China is too grudging on what it offers in return, particularly in the area of security, it will undercut Ma’s core argument and the political support that sustains it. It was Taiwan fear of China’s buildup that helped create the previous vicious circle. It cannot be in China’s interest to restart a negative spiral.

What are the implications of this situation for the United States? Washington’s fundamental goal is the preservation of peace and stability in the Taiwan area. It does not believe that goal is served when Chinese military power creates a strong sense of insecurity on Taiwan. Taiwan is thus subject to coercion and intimidation because its own deterrent is weak and it cannot negotiate confidently with Beijing.

If by its actions Beijing demonstrates a continuing desire to increase Taiwan’s sense of insecurity, then it is proper for the United States to reduce it through arms sales and other forms of security cooperation. We should, of course, provide systems that strengthen Taiwan’s real deterrent, not those that are useful primarily as political symbols (China can easily tell the difference). True, continued arms sales will damage U.S.-China relations, but we are responding to a problem that China has itself created.

President Ma’s initiatives present a strategic opportunity to transform and stabilize cross-Strait relations. But opportunities must be seized. China has done so in some areas but certainly not in the military area. To further increase its own sense of security, China must be prepared to strengthen Taiwan’s as well.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Taiwan's New Defense Report Could Fray Ties With China

Taiwan's New Defense Report Could Fray Ties With China. By Ting-I Tsai
WSJ, Mar 17, 2009, page A9

TAIPEI -- Taiwan issued a defense report that calls for the island to press for modern military equipment from the U.S. -- a move that could complicate the warming relations both Taiwan and the U.S. have been cultivating with China.

The quadrennial military review, issued Monday, runs counter to softer, more China-friendly draft versions that circulated in Taiwan over the past few months. Some officials said the harder line is a response to criticism in Taipei and Washington that the current administration in Taiwan had been making too many concessions to China without having received much in return.

"The report is tougher than I expected," said Alexander Huang, a strategic studies professor at Tamkang University in Taipei, who was involved in earlier versions of the paper.

Taiwan and China have been ruled separately for more than 60 years, since China's civil war, and have become close trading partners. Under President Ma Ying-jeou, who was elected a year ago, the two sides have moved closer, setting up direct transport flights and shipping links and discussing a possible free-trade deal. On Monday, relations across the Taiwan Strait marked a new milestone when the Ocean Mystery, the first luxury cruise ship to sail directly from China, arrived in Taiwan with more than 1,000 Chinese tourists.

Perhaps the most notable sign of improving ties was a government defense paper endorsed by Mr. Ma that called for democratically governed Taiwan, a hub of the global high-tech industry, to give up its longtime strategy of preventing a Chinese attack by maintaining air and sea superiority. Instead, Taiwan would concentrate its defenses against a ground assault, according to the paper.

Supporters said the proposed strategy would be less costly for Taiwan and the weapons easier to obtain. In deference to China, few countries are willing to sell Taiwan weapons. Opponents said it would be nearly suicidal for the island of 23 million to fight a land war with its giant neighbor.
"Critics from the military and academia forced President Ma to emphasize that the navy and air force are both important," said a senior official from the Ministry of National Defense.

A presidential spokesman said: "President Ma fully respects professionals on this issue."
Under Monday's plan, Taiwan will try again to buy 66 F-16 C/D fighters from the U.S. These are more advanced versions of the F-16 that Taiwan has and would allow it to more effectively counter China's growing fleet of Russian-built warplanes. Last year, the Bush administration agreed to a US$6.43 billion arms package but excluded the fighters. China reacted by suspending military-to-military talks with the U.S., though they since have resumed.

Taiwan will formally request the fighters again, officials in Tapei said Monday, and in the long term try to buy "stealth" technology fighters. Taiwan also wants to buy submarines -- another item vetoed by the Bush administration. In an effort to balance this with more China-friendly policies, the paper calls for a "confidence-building mechanism" with China. Some officials have said this could involve officer exchanges.

Although the Obama administration is eager to improve relations with Beijing, some officials in Washington have implied that weapons sales are in the U.S.'s national interest. In testimony to Congress in February, National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair said the U.S. was the only outside power that could help Taiwan: "That means we're going to have to help them some more in order to maintain a balance."

Some U.S.-based analysts say sales would help maintain the balance of power in the region. That would reduce the need for American soldiers to defend Taiwan in case China tries to invade.

"If Taiwan is unable to deter attacks from China, it increases the probability of the U.S. having to confront China militarily should China make a mistake," said Rick Fisher, a senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center in Washington.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Taiwan and China Make Strides: Can America Respond?

Taiwan and China Make Strides: Can America Respond? By Rupert Hammond-Chambers, President, U.S.-Taiwan Business Council
The Brookings Institution, Mar 12, 2009

On March 22, 2008, Taiwan voters went to the polls and declared a return to Kuomintang (KMT) rule. The KMT’s Ma Ying-jeou won a landslide election against Frank Hsieh of the incumbent Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), and the end result was rarely in question as voter frustration over DPP rule – accumulated over 8 years – spilled over into a convincing 58.45 percent victory for Ma and his running mate Vincent Siew.

Ma’s contention that Taiwan’s economy had fared poorly from 2000-2008 played well to Taiwan’s electorate - somewhat unfairly, as in fact Taiwan enjoyed average annual GDP growth of 3.63 percent during that period, according to the National Statistics Database maintained by Taiwan’s Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS). But voter perception was centered on missed opportunities and a Taiwan that had mostly stood still for eight years while its regional competitors advanced their interests.

But Ma won the election also by highlighting the angst that former President Chen Shui-bian had caused Taiwan’s most important interlocutors – China and the United States. China was never interested in offering President Chen a dialogue during his 8 years as president of Taiwan, other than under terms and conditions that ran contrary to DPP principles. However, President Chen’s diplomatic isolation was exacerbated by his rhetoric that so often caught policymakers in Beijing and Washington off guard. This left the Chinese increasingly concerned about Chen’s intentions – even in the face of obvious constitutional limitations on his power – and left the U.S. frustrated both with constant Chinese harping and Chen’s erratic behavior. This tense situation appeared to cast a shadow over much else that the Bush administration was attempting to accomplish in its relationship with China.

Fairly or unfairly, the picture that evolved – particularly after Chen’s second election victory in March of 2004 – was of a Taiwan actively undermining peace and security in north Asia, and by extension hurting its own commercial and diplomatic interests. This perception neatly teed up candidate Ma’s campaign, where he pitched Taiwan voters on the importance of returning to the safe and steady hands of the technocratic KMT and of addressing Taiwan’s core economic, domestic and foreign relationships.


Ma’s Campaign Commitments

Candidate Ma’s general campaign pitch was a return to balanced and experienced rule under the KMT. He focused acutely on the perception that Taiwan had been treading water during a period of global economic expansion, thereby missing opportunities to grow global markets as well as to reform domestically. In addition, he noted that Taiwan’s global diplomatic isolation had increased under the DPP, and contended that the course of confrontation with China and the U.S. was unsustainable. Ma argued that it was essential to reach a new accommodation with China that would allow for meaningful representation of Taiwan in global organizations – including but not limited to the World Health Assembly (WHA).

Candidate Ma’s choice for vice president spoke volumes for his campaign’s focus on the economy. Vincent Siew is a former premier and was Minister of Economic Affairs under former president Lee Teng-hui. His role would be to spearhead both comprehensive domestic economic reform, including further deregulation of services like banking; and to take charge of implementing the i-Taiwan 12 projects – a large infrastructure package valued at approximately US$117 billion over 8 years. In addition, Vincent Siew is strongly identified with the concept of a Cross-Strait Common Market, an idea that he formulated and championed over several years. Ma even incorporated this initiative into his election manifesto as a central goal in a plan to harmonize commercial activity between Taiwan and what is now Taiwan’s largest market, China.

Cross-Strait economic engagement had another equally important deliverable for the Ma camp; it was a natural platform to reduce tensions and map a more reasonable path for increased cooperation with China, while staving off the need to engage on pricklier matters concerning sovereignty. The Ma campaign promised that this issue, often and rather simplistically viewed through the logistical challenge of flying between Taiwan and China, was to be tackled early on through an incremental resumption of cross-Strait transportation links, coupled with more comprehensive agreements on air travel and mail. Ma and Siew also saw an increase in mainland tourists visiting the island as an important objective, given their potential impact on a broad cross-section of Taiwan’s economy.

During his campaign, Ma also articulated the need to improve relations with the United States, with which ties had soured terribly since about 2003. Chen’s erratic behavior, coupled with a Bush team more interested in improving relations with China, made for a difficult set of circumstances and an increasingly reflexive urge to press Taiwan into a box. While this attitude was initially focused on Chen and his colleagues, it drifted into an overall view of Taiwan that drew no distinctions. In the end, Taiwan could do no right. Ma noted that Taiwan-U.S. relations would likely improve simply as a function of improved Taiwan relations with China. However, he also put great weight on improved communications between Taipei and Washington, and the need to avoid surprising and confrontational actions.


Policies & Developments

President Ma hit the ground running when he assumed office on May 20, 2008.
The newly appointed chairman of the Strait Exchange Foundation (SEF), Chiang Pin-kung, went to China in mid-June of 2008 to consummate an initial deal on cross-Strait transportation as promised by the Ma campaign. The deal allowed for an expanded charter flight schedule, based on the holiday flight framework already in place. While the agreement included a limited number of direct routes on weekends only – and involved aircraft flying over Hong Kong airspace but not alighting – the agreement also stipulated that both sides would work toward normalized passenger and cargo air traffic with direct routes. This early triumph was seen in all three capitals as a positive sign and raised hopes that a more sustainable relationship might be within their grasp.

However, the Ma government had not seen cross-Strait transportation links as the only low-hanging fruit. To remain committed to his election platform, Ma quickly expanded his SEF - Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) dialogue to include:

· Opening currency exchanges for Chinese Yuan/New Taiwan Dollar trade
· Loosening of capital restriction for Chinese investment in Taiwan equities, companies, and property
· An agreement on tourists that hypothetically could dramatically increase the number of Chinese citizens visiting Taiwan daily
· Signing agreements for direct cross-Strait sea, air, and mail travel
· Simplifying procedures for Chinese professionals to visit and work for limited periods in Taiwan.

In addition, the Ma administration launched negotiations to allow Chinese students to visit and study in Taiwan, and a whole host of smaller initiatives have been negotiated and are in the early stages of implementation. This is a substantive and impressive body of work for approximately 8 months of dialogue. That said, Ma upped the ante substantially in late February when he and his colleagues responded positively to Chinese President Hu Jintao’s offer to negotiate and sign a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) with Taiwan, now referred to on the island as the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA).

Despite this improvement in cross-Strait relations, Ma did not see the early gains he might have hoped for with the United States. By President Bush’s last year in office, the fact that Chen Shui-bian was no longer president of Taiwan was immaterial. America’s positive relationship with China was viewed as an important part of President Bush’s legacy, and the change in leadership in Taipei did not automatically change Taiwan’s value in the equation. President Ma was treated with minimal cordiality, and as he left office President Bush’s penultimate substantive Taiwan action – an October 3, 2008 decision to notify several weapons systems to Congress – created more confusion and frustration over the breakdown in the arms sales process on the U.S. side. Thus America’s defense relationship with Taiwan was bequeathed with unaddressed platforms and a broken arms sales process, a mess that President Obama and his colleagues will have to address.


China’s Role

From China’s perspective, Taiwan’s democratic transition has been decidedly unpleasant. Chen Shui-bian’s actions and statements were deemed highly provocative, and he replaced the reviled Lee Teng-hui whose late 1990s statements had made him persona non-grata with Beijing. So China stewed for the past eight years, happy only when President Bush or one of his colleagues made a statement or undertook an action or non-action that China saw as contrary to Taiwan’s interests, or beneficial to China at Taiwan’s expense. While the short term approach of demonizing Taiwan presidents might have played well in Beijing, it was having a profoundly negative effect on the view of China from Taiwan.

This was not China’s “Taiwan policy” per se. China mostly understood that Taiwan’s democratization and demographic changes were undermining what support existed on Taiwan for unification with China. A sustained churlish attitude toward the island would only accelerate these trends, making the possibility of resolution of the fundamental dispute that much more remote. Therefore, Ma’s election placed great import on the need to put China’s relations with Taiwan back on a path that at least held the possibility of peaceful resolution. President Hu and his civilian colleagues viewed Ma’s policy of economic engagement as a positive and reasonable momentum builder for relations. So under the guidance of ARATS’s chairman Chen Yunlin, China responded substantively to Ma’s outreached hand.

In a December 31, 2008 speech commemorating the 30th anniversary of an important Taiwan policy speech, China’s President Hu expanded the possibilities in bilateral cross-Strait relations when he made a six point proposal that included, 1) scrupulously abiding by the One-China principle and enhancing political mutual trust; 2) strengthening commercial ties, partly though negotiating an economic cooperation agreement; 3) promoting personnel exchanges of personnel between the two sides; 4) highlighting common cultural links; 5) allowing Taiwan’s “reasonable” participation in international organizations and 6) the negotiation of a peace agreement.

The notion of China’s “One-China Principle” – that there is only one China, it is the People’s Republic of China, and Taiwan is a part of it – is anathema to a majority of the people of Taiwan. According to the latest Mainland Affairs Council poll, 91 percent of Taiwan citizens support the status quo with less than 10 percent in favor of unification with the mainland. But President Hu’s Points 2 and 5 were well received in Taiwan by the current leadership and its supporters, if not by the entire population. If his policies are going to enjoy majority support in Taiwan, Ma must be seen domestically to be making progress with China and he needs for China to be viewed as making real concessions. As argued in his election campaign, Ma places great stock in maximizing Taiwan’s economic relationship with China while reconstituting Taiwan’s global diplomatic position in a more sustainable and accommodating framework under improved relations with China. The overall outcome should also meet another of Ma’s campaign commitments – improved security through increased economic opportunity as well as a reduction in the overall threat from China after 6 plus years of heightened tension. However, as noted below China’s continued massive military modernization efforts and the degree to which their efforts are focused on Taiwan remains a major barrier to sustainable security improvements in the Taiwan Strait.

Evidence of improved relations are already manifest, with clear progress on economic cooperation but with nascent diplomatic progress as well. A small but positive action was Taiwan’s inclusion in the International Health Regulations (IHR) under the World Health Organization (WHO), which will allow the island to contact the body directly. That said, a far larger test will come this spring with Taiwan’s annual attempt to gain observer status at the World Health Assembly (WHA). It’s an important moment for China, one which it must seize both to serve its own interests on Taiwan through an improved view of its attitude, as well as to reinforce Ma’s ability to maintain domestic support for cross-Strait engagement by making a substantive concession.

Finally, it is important to highlight an inconsistency in China’s recent attitude toward Taiwan and a major challenge for the U.S. While Beijing’s civilian leadership continues to frame a positive path for Taiwan-China relations, China’s military modernization continues unabated and actively undermines these gains. There has been no Chinese slowing in defense spending, training, or deployment of forces directed at Taiwan. This marks a stark contrast to the political and economic efforts, and creates a genuine conundrum for Ma as well as for the Obama administration. How do they maintain positive engagement while discouraging China from pursuing such a provocative military posture?

President Obama should certainly use resumed military-to-military exchanges to impress upon the People’s Liberation Army that there is a direct correlation between Chinese force modernization and U.S. support for Taiwan’s defense, including arms sales. In addition, continued material support for President Ma’s move to an all volunteer force, coupled with a more integrated and modern military, will require continued supplies of modern weaponry. This support will positively underpin Taiwan’s engagement with China and will provide continued legitimacy to Ma’s efforts – a dynamic Ma himself understands well, as he continues to make the case for replacement fighters through a second tranche of F-16s, Black Hawk helicopters, and other modern equipment.


The Global Recession & Trade Policy

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) recently noted that of the 55 major global economies tracked in detail, Taiwan has been hit harder than almost anyone else by the global downturn. Based on industrial production alone, Taiwan’s output has fallen by 32 percent in the 12 months to December 2008. GDP figures released on February 18, 2009 showed that Taiwan’s economy contracted by approximately 8.4 percent in Q4 2008, basically wiping away the last two and a half years of economic expansion. Taiwan’s DGBAS is predicting economic contraction of approximately 3 percent in 2009, while the aggregate analyst prediction is closer to 6 percent. Taiwan exports 70 percent of its industrial production, and with its main markets America, China, Japan, and the European Union all experiencing degrees of economic distress, Taiwan is affected acutely. This has added greatly to the urgency of Ma’s domestic economic reform, liberalization, and trade liberalization agenda.

The Ma administration has responded to the crisis, albeit with mixed results to date. The Taiwan government has issued spending vouchers worth approximately US$100 per citizen, vouchers intended to act as a catalyst for domestic demand. Taiwan’s Central Bank of China (CBC) has cut rates aggressively – 7 times since last September – with the latest cut bringing Taiwan interest rates to 1.25 percent. The government has also hastened to implement the 12 i-Taiwan infrastructure projects. In addition, it has allowed Taiwan’s currency to continue to depreciate against its major trading partners, down to a 6 year low against the U.S. dollar. These actions, except for the currency depreciation, are commensurate with those of other major global economies. That said, Taiwan has a high savings rate, and nothing suggests that Taiwan citizens are going to drop the savings habit in order to increase domestic demand for goods and services. Therefore, it seems likely that the Taiwan government will combine a loose economic policy with infrastructure investment, and then wait for its major trading partners to recover.

Taiwan did achieve two major trade policy goals over the past quarter, one being its signing of the Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA) at the World Trade Organization (WTO) in December, and the second being its removal from the United States Trade Representative’s Special 301 Watch List for IPR violators in mid January of 2009. With the GPA, President Ma has signed an agreement that will give Taiwan companies access to government procurement contracts in over 40 global economies, thereby increasing market access dramatically. It will also open Taiwan’s market to increasing competition and competitiveness, as well as to new foreign direct investment. The removal from USTR’s Special 301 Watch List is the culmination of 4-5 years of hard work, and considerable credit must also be given to the Chen administration for implementing many of the policies that resulted in this positive development. While Taiwan’s IPR regime is now well placed to manage the bulk of the challenges, IPR theft remains a massive global problem. Taiwan will be looked to for leadership, particularly in Asia.

President Ma’s economic team views renewed efforts to liberalize Taiwan’s major trading markets as essential to recovery and increased future growth. It is also a way to break out of its current economic isolation, absent of any meaningful role for Taiwan in bilateral and multilateral regional trade liberalization efforts. The Ma government views the ECFA not as a goal unto itself, nor only in the narrow prism of Taiwan-China relations, but as a part of its overall global trade strategy. Both the Taiwan government and businesses are particularly concerned about the impact of ASEAN +1 and ASEAN +3 on Taiwan’s competitiveness in the China market. President Ma also believes that improved Taiwan-China relations and the willingness of China to engage in free trade negotiations will assist Taiwan in breaking out of its trade liberalization isolation and allow it to sign FTAs with the U.S., Japan, Singapore, and other major trading partners. China’s offer of an ECFA has been well received, but it is but a part of what should also be an appropriate U.S. and pan-Asian response to Taiwan’s efforts to liberalize its markets in the shadow of improved Taiwan-China relations.

At this time, Taiwan has a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) with the United States that has acted as a periodic platform for discussing bilateral economic issues. This mechanism is a modest foundation that allows America and its trading partners to manage the myriad trade issues that characterize large commercial relationships. That said, for the second time in 5 years America has frozen the TIFA – in this instance due to its displeasure over Taiwan’s restrictions on imports of American beef. While beef, and indeed rice and pork too, are important export commodities for America, they represent a relatively small percentage of our bilateral trade – in the case of beef it’s considerably less than 1 percent of bilateral trade. The Bush administration felt that it had been misled over commitments to re-open aspects of the beef market (some beef is already being sold), and shut the TIFA process down in 2008 until those commitments were fulfilled. Now we must wait until the Obama administration trade team is confirmed and in place before we can ascertain its intentions on the TIFA freeze. Whatever the outcome, however, America’s last foray into such a freeze – in 2003-2004 over IPR – was generally viewed to have been a failure. Furthermore, as in the case of last year’s arms sales freeze, there are no other cases of global partners being treated in this fashion.

At such time as beef imports resume, or President Obama’s trade team decides to resume the TIFA prior to such a resolution, Taiwan and the Obama administration must look for ways to allow the relationship to mature. America has treated Taiwan in uniquely punitive ways, to the increasing detriment of our interests in this major market. If we cannot find a way to respond to Taiwan and China’s detente, we run the very real risk of adding wind to the economic impetuses that are pushing this top 10 U.S. market further into the purview of China’s economic embrace. A good place to start would be adding consistency to our approach to Taiwan and begin treating it the same way we do our other major trading partners, even when we disagree. In the longer term, we need to start representing our equities more assertively with Taiwan, not, as in the past, in reaction to Beijing’s displeasure on any number of issues but in substantive strategic ways such as free trade agreements. America needs to look at what it can accomplish in the light of improved Taiwan-China relations.

The subject of FTAs at this time may seem ridiculous given the lack of support for such agreements amongst America’s ruling party. However, it is likely that as President Obama grows more comfortable in his new post he’ll look to shape a trade policy consensus that will allow his government to support global trade liberalization. This will be particularly needed in Asia, which continues to remove barriers to trade and accelerate integration. In the absence of U.S. leadership, or even basic participation, this process will continue to center around the China market at the expense of our own. If China and Taiwan see fit to negotiate a free trade agreement then what possible reason should America have for not doing likewise with Taiwan?

In addition, it is certainly time for the U.S. to return to the policy of sending economic cabinet officers to Taiwan annually to boost our interests in the market. This policy was started by President Bush in 1992 with the visit of then United States Trade Representative Carla Hills, and continued throughout the 1990s under President Clinton. While the recent Bush administration had legitimate concerns over how President Chen would react to the presence of such a high ranking U.S. official, now is the time to re-engage this policy. Other countries see high-level interaction with Taiwan as in their economic interest: the U.K.’s commerce secretary visited Taipei within a month of Taiwan’s acceptance of GPA commitments, for example. In light of Ma’s commitment to spend almost US$120 billion on infrastructure in the coming 8 years, the U.S. should also be making every effort to promote its own companies in the market.


What’s Next?

For Taiwan, like with the United States, there are considerable unknowns associated with this latest economic recession. While Taiwan’s financial institutions are not burdened to the same extent with the toxic assets weighting down our own institutions, the notion that Asian economies have decoupled from the U.S. and Europe is nonsense. Asia shares our economic pain, and cannot hope to launch a sustained recovery until America and Europe turn the corner and its export markets return. In the meantime, President Ma will continue to focus on what he can control – namely domestic efforts to increase investment, along with external efforts to open new markets or address trade-diverting developments such as FTAs from which Taiwan has been excluded.

The CECA, or Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement as referred to by President Hu in his recent speech, with China has very real legs, and we can expect to hear a great deal more on this matter as Ma moves it through the Taiwan court of public opinion and shapes a policy response that P.K. Chiang can take into SEF-ARATS negotiations. Indeed, President Ma has already made a significant adjustment by changing the name with which Taiwan will refer to such an agreement to Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA). This adjustment was made in response to early domestic criticism of the effort and the similarity of the CECA name to Hong Kong and Macau’s Closer Economic Partnership Agreement (or CEPA) with China. I believe that Ma has made the decision to proceed with the ECFA with a basic framework agreed to and signed with the Chinese at the end of 2009, and the specifics to be worked out in a series of SEF-ARATS negotiations running several years. This will generate much discussion about what sovereignty positions are being sacrificed to secure preferential market access and how transparent the process will be. However, I believe that Ma will work hard to mitigate both negative public perceptions as well as any real attempts by China to use this economic initiative to move the sovereignty line. China wants this agreement too, and this provides real leverage for Ma to strike a good deal for Taiwan.

The ECFA provides a tremendous opportunity for the U.S. as well. We have large interests in the Taiwan market, and the triangular economic relationship between America, Taiwan, and China comes only behind Europe and NAFTA in its strategic importance to U.S. economic prosperity. If China and Taiwan are genuinely seeking a free trade agreement with one another, albeit under a different name, then the United States must seize this opportunity and likewise engage Taiwan. America is not without equities in this discussion; preferential market access for China in the Taiwan market and vice versa should press the U.S. to respond in kind. In addition, the U.S. is vested in continued Taiwan-China rapprochement. But as the negotiations expand so will domestic angst on Taiwan. If the U.S. agrees to negotiate its own FTA with Taiwan, that could assuage domestic Taiwan concerns that this is part of a KMT effort to promote unification with China, and would thereby provide Taiwan’s people with options and a semblance of balance, calming fears and keeping support for improved cross-Strait relations on the right track.

President Obama and his team haven’t yet had an opportunity to shape a cohesive trade policy, but as he ventures out into the world in his capacity as president he will quickly note the importance of U.S. leadership on trade – both in setting sound examples for trade policy as well as leading on trade liberalization. America does not have the luxury of taking a trade “timeout,” particularly with the rest of the global economy looking for ways to accelerate bilateral, regional multilateral, and global trade liberalization.

President Ma’s election and his cross-Strait policies have markedly improved cross-Strait relations. But to what ultimate end, if all parties including the United States cannot use this period to move away from past policies that have retarded the maturing of this complex triumvirate? Taiwan and China are not missing this opportunity to allow their relationship to mature, and America shouldn’t either.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Conservative views on Hillary Clinton nomination

Key Questions for Senator Hillary Clinton, Nominee for Secretary of State, by Steven Groves
Heritage, January 12, 2009WebMemo #2201

Excerpts:

On January 20, the incoming Administration will confront a multitude of international issues. The challenges facing the new secretary of state include intractable regional problems such as Iran, Pakistan, and the status of Taiwan; challenges to U.S. sovereignty posed by multilateral treaties and international organizations; and important national security issues such as NATO expansion and missile defense.

In order to determine where the next secretary of state stands on these crucial issues, the following questions should be put to the nominee during her confirmation hearing:

Question #1: American Sovereignty and International Organizations

What is your view regarding the status within the international system of the independent, sovereign state in general, and the importance of preserving and protecting American sovereignty in particular? Do you ascribe to traditional views of national sovereignty or to the theory of "global governance"?

Answer: There are two competing viewpoints regarding national sovereignty: The traditional view is that the sovereign state has been and should remain the basic operating entity within the international system[1] and that while states participate in international coalitions or organizations (such as the United Nations) in pursuit of goals that transcend their borders, those organizations are restricted to serving the goals of states, not governing them.[2] The competing view advocates "global governance," a system in which sovereignty is a passé notion in an increasingly interconnected world and where international organizations have the same, if not greater, authority to determine the policies of sovereign states. In fact, former Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott once predicted that some day "nationhood as we know it will be obsolete; all states will recognize a single global authority."[3]

The United States should continue to act in concert with its allies to pursue ends of an international nature such as multilateral efforts to combat piracy on the high seas, stabilizing Afghanistan with our partners in NATO, maintaining open global markets, and interdicting banned weapons and technology through the Proliferation Security Initiative. The U.S. should not, however, cede to any nation, group of nations, or international organization the authority to bind the U.S. on matters relating to its national interests, including (but not limited to) nuclear arms,[4] humanitarian intervention,[5] "climate change,"[6] interpretation of the U.S. Constitution,[7] or any other matter that would erode American sovereignty.


Question #2: Pending and Proposed Multilateral Treaties

What are your views regarding several controversial multilateral treaties and efforts by the United Nations that, if supported or ratified by the United States, would erode American sovereignty?

Answer: The "international community," usually acting through the U.N. system, often seeks to influence U.S. foreign policy and constrain American power by enmeshing the U.S. in multilateral conventions such as the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea and the proposed U.N. Arms Trade Treaty. Similarly, international organizations and U.N. treaty committees often seek to impose upon America their collective views on controversial and personal matters such as the care and education of children, the death penalty, abortion rights, gun control, and any number of issues traditionally left to Congress, the President, and the American people.

Efforts by international organizations to shape U.S. domestic policy should be opposed, including attempts to modify U.S. law regarding the rights of women and children,[8] the criminal justice system,[9] free speech,[10] and other matters traditionally determined by domestic democratic processes. Moreover, the U.S. must reject attempts by the international community that would limit its options to navigate the high seas and explore the deep seabed,[11] as well as its ability to arm resistance movements against tyrannical regimes.


Question #3: Afghanistan and Pakistan

How will you deal with the threat from a resurgent Taliban that is undermining coalition efforts in Afghanistan and destabilizing parts of northwest Pakistan? How will you martial U.S. diplomatic resources and assistance programs to build up Afghan institutions and convince the Pakistani leadership to stiffen its resolve against the Taliban and other violent extremist groups finding refuge within its borders?

Answer:Sending new U.S. troops to Afghanistan is a welcome step that signals continuing U.S. commitment to the region. However, Washington must also convince its NATO allies to pull their weight in overcoming the terrorist challenge in Afghanistan, which threatens all civilized nations.[12]The U.S. also needs to be cautious in attempting to engage with Taliban elements. Political reconciliation is indeed necessary to stabilize Afghanistan and Pakistan's tribal border areas. But Washington must avoid making statements that could embolden the Taliban leadership and dishearten the Afghan population, who do not support Taliban policies but are intimidated by their violent tactics. While the idea of peeling off lower-level Taliban who are not ideologically committed to the cause may be worthwhile, the U.S. should not overestimate the willingness of senior Taliban leaders to break ranks with their al-Qaeda allies.[13]

The U.S. should also better integrate its strategy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan, focusing more attention on regional diplomacy and building bridges between the two nations.[14]It is essential that Pakistan and Afghanistan work together to combat terrorism, which constitutes an existential threat to both their countries. Washington needs to recalibrate its relationship with Pakistan in a way that draws the country back from the brink of political and financial collapse and convinces the military establishment that Pakistan's national security interests are no longer served by supporting extremists, whether they operate in Afghanistan or India.[15] This should be done through both a calibrated carrot-and-stick policy that targets the military's interests and through increased regional diplomacy.

The Obama Administration, however, should avoid falling into the trap of trying to "resolve" Kashmir. Any effort to inject a direct U.S. role in the Indo-Pakistani bilateral peace process risks encouraging both Pakistani adventurism and unrealistic expectations for a settlement in its favor.[16] Moreover, the Indians would be unreceptive to attempts at direct U.S. mediation and would assume that Washington is reverting back to policies that view India only through the South Asia lens, rather than as the emerging global power it has become.


Question #4: A Nuclear Iran

What is your view on how the United States can best take action to halt Iran's nuclear weapons program?

Answer: The U.S. should mobilize an international coalition to significantly boost the diplomatic, economic, domestic political, and potential military costs to Tehran of continuing on its present path toward acquisition of nuclear weapons. This coalition should seek to isolate Iran's radical theocratic regime, weaken it through targeted economic sanctions, explain to the Iranian people why their government's nuclear policies will impose growing economic costs and military risks on them, cooperate to contain and deter Iran's military power, encourage democratic change within Iran, and prepare for the use of military force as a last resort.[17]

Unfortunately, the U.N. Security Council is a diplomatic dead end whose actions will likely continue to be insufficient to stop Iran's drive for nuclear weapons.[18] Past U.S. and European efforts to ratchet up sanctions against Iran in the council have been blocked by Russia and China, which have lucrative trade relationships with, and strategic ties to, Tehran. Britain, Germany, and France have entered a diplomatic dialogue with Tehran to dissuade it from continuing its nuclear program by offering substantial economic and political incentives. But diplomatic carrots alone will not work because for Tehran, attaining a nuclear weapon is the biggest carrot of all.

Therefore, tougher disincentives for Iran's suspected nuclear efforts are needed. When Tehran perceives the costs of a continued nuclear program to be very high, as it did after the overthrow of regimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, it will be more likely to make concessions and freeze its uranium enrichment program. The Obama Administration should press its European allies--particularly Germany, which is Iran's biggest trading partner--to increase economic sanctions outside the U.N. framework.[19] To give diplomacy a chance, the U.S. and its allies must credibly threaten to impose rising costs on Tehran, particularly in ways that endanger the regime's highest priority--its hold on power.


Question #5: The Visa Waiver Program

Please describe your views regarding the Visa Waiver Program's role in America's overall public diplomacy strategy, including ongoing efforts to strengthen the program. What opportunities and challenges do you see to its continuance in the next Administration?

[...]


Question #6: China and Taiwan

While you are secretary of state, will the Administration reaffirm that Taiwan's status remains unsettled and that the U.S. therefore does not accept the sovereign right of any third country to use force of any kind against Taiwan?

Answer: While current U.S. relations with China make it impossible to declare that Taiwan is a state, nothing can justify the assertion that Taiwan is not a state. Under the 1933 Montevideo Convention, Taiwan possesses all the attributes of a state, and under any interpretation the U.S. tacitly accepts that Taiwan functions in the international community as a sovereign state. All treaties in force between the U.S. and Taiwan prior to January 1, 1979, remain in force, and the U.S. continues to conduct defense and security affairs, including arms sales, with Taiwan as an entity wholly autonomous from the People's Republic of China.[30]

The U.S. must reaffirm that Taiwan's future rests on the assent of the Taiwanese people. While current U.S. diplomatic formulas include assertions that the Taiwan issue is a matter for "the Chinese people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait" to resolve, the context of such positions must be clarified. As President Ronald Reagan pledged, the U.S. "will not ... prejudice the free choice of, or put pressure on, the people of Taiwan" about their future. As a reflection of America's democratic values, the U.S. must give preferential weight to the people of Taiwan in determining their own future.[31]


Question #7: Missile Defense

The NATO Alliance recently recognized in its Bucharest communiqué "the substantial contribution to the protection of Allies from long-range ballistic missiles to be provided by the planned deployment of European-based United States missile defence assets." Will you stand with our NATO allies and reaffirm the importance of missile defense?

Answer: At NATO's April 2008 Bucharest Summit, NATO leaders endorsed U.S. plans to install 10 long-range, ground-based missile defense interceptors in Poland and a mid-course radar in the Czech Republic--the "third site."[32] At NATO's December 2008 foreign ministerial summit in Brussels, all 26 members of the alliance re-endorsed the third site deployment. These endorsements represent a major success both for American diplomacy and transatlantic security.[33] If the United States abandons its Central and Eastern European allies as well as its obligations to NATO, it will not only make itself vulnerable to rogue nations and non-state actors seeking ballistic missile capabilities, but it will also reduce America's influence within the transatlantic alliance.

The threat of ballistic missile attack has grown exponentially, with 27 nations now possessing such capabilities, nearly double that of 15 years ago.[34] It is incumbent upon the United States to consider these growing threats seriously by taking steps to protect itself, its forward-deployed troops, and its friends and allies. As a purely defensive capability, U.S. missile defense plans for Europe will also act as a deterrent to bad actors from acquiring ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction in the first place.

It is further incumbent upon the United States to stand by its existing commitments to Warsaw and Prague, as well as to the NATO alliance as a whole. Mr. Obama should begin his presidency by reaffirming the Bucharest communiqué, as well as his vow to rebuild a strong NATO.


Question #8: NATO Expansion

Do you support President-elect Barack Obama's statement that "Ukraine and Georgia ... have declared their readiness to advance a NATO Membership Action Plan. ... They should receive our help and encouragement as they continue to develop ties to Atlantic and European institutions"?[35]

[...]


Question #9: Public Diplomacy

How do you intend to improve the effectiveness of the United States's public diplomacy and strategic communication, and would you support the creation of a new government agency to take the lead on these issues?

[...]


Question #10: Durban II and the U.N. Human Rights Council

In its first few months, the Obama Administration will decide whether to change existing U.S. policy to attend the Durban Review Conference (Durban II) and fully participate in the United Nations Human Rights Council by seeking a seat in the upcoming May election. Would you recommend that the President continue current policy or reverse it?

[...]


[References can be seen at the original link]

Steven Groves is Bernard and Barbara Lomas Fellow in the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, a division of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies, at The Heritage Foundation. The following Heritage Foundation analysts contributed to this report: Daniella Markheim, Lisa Curtis, James Phillips, Jena Baker McNeill, James Dean, John J. Tkacik, Jr., Sally McNamara, Helle C. Dale, Baker Spring, and Brett D. Schaefer.