Defusing a Bar-Fight by Handing One Guy a Broken Bottle

Taiwanese Leader Hails Weapons Deal With U.S.

By Jane Rickards
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, October 5, 2008; A21
TAIPEI, Taiwan, Oct. 4 — Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou on Saturday welcomed U.S. plans to sell the island almost $6.5 billion in weaponry, a move that appeared to repair years of frayed ties between Taiwan and the administration.
The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement released Friday that it had notified Congress about the sale, which marks Taiwan’s first purchase of the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 surface-to-air guided missile defense system.
“We think this announcement from the U.S. government is a sign that the past eight years of discord are over,” Ma said in a statement.
Signs, of course, mean many things to many people. A smudge of ash on the forehead does not insure piety, nor does a tattoo provide evidence of macho instincts–yet both are signs.

A more prosaic sign is that Taiwan will now have thousands of millions of dollars less with which to improve its nation, fund its economy and care for its elderly. It will not build schools with that squandered cash, but it will up the ante of confrontation with China at a time when both nations badly need to lower the rhetoric. For its part, the American military armorers will tuck a few bucks in their already extended pockets.
The amazing thing to me about the human mind, is how willing it is to take the earnings of national productive capacity and piss them away on the broken beer-bottles of weaponry. F-22s may be pretty high tech beer-bottles, but they are still no more productive than the weapon of choice in a drunken bar brawl.
America (and Russia and China) continue to walk in to the most dangerous and dingy of the world’s saloons and goad the already obnoxious inhabitants into a fight. Then we (they?) stand back in amazement when blood flows and the bodies hit the floor. How can the world possibly be such a short-fused and dangerous place?
Because we have worked diligently and profitably to make it so.

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