英語中有一句諺語:「Be careful what you wish for.」中文大概的意思是警告我們要小心動念、謹慎許願。最近看到美國國會推出的一些友台草案時,這句話不斷出現在我的腦海。

其中有項草案禁止美國國務院撥款製作、採購或展示任何將台灣、金門、馬祖、澎湖、烏坵、綠島以及蘭嶼等地描繪為屬於中華人民共和國領土的地圖 。鑒於上述地區的行政管轄權從未屬於中華人民共和國,美國國務院需要使用符合現實的地圖。然而該草案卻未囊括許多爭議中的南海、東沙群島、太平島、釣魚台等島嶼。

即使目前台灣有許多的稱呼方式可供選擇,像是中華民國、中華民國自由地區、中華民國(台灣)或者中華民國台灣等,該草案很可惜也並未要求美國國務院在地圖上以特定方式來標明這些島嶼所屬。

另一項「台灣學人法」(Taiwan Fellowship Act)是要在美國創建一個台灣獎學金計畫。在其中擬議推動台美行政部門的合作計畫中,包括了美國的台灣對應窗口將可獲得在台灣政府機構工作或交流實習的機會。或許進口美國人力可以幫助台灣在公部門服役的替代役人員們分擔一些工作、減輕他們的辛勞。

對美國人而言,台灣到底有多神秘而充滿異國風情,需要讓美國納稅人和美國政府花上更多的資源來幫助美國人更了解台灣?這讓我回想起美國在60年代大力推動的國際和平隊(Peace Corps),當時美國政府大力獎勵青年到東南亞、中南美洲、非洲展開社會與經濟援助的活動。現在的台灣具備了世界數一數二先進的科技以及教育水準,要讓台灣走入世界、加深國際對台灣的認知,卻使用50年前美國援助第三世界國家的方法,這樣的做法真的能實際幫助到台灣嗎?

事實上,台灣的外交部已經有為外國學者開辦一個名為「台灣獎助金(Taiwan Fellowship)」的獎助條款,獲得這個獎助金者會得到台灣政府的資助、在台灣進行研究或教學,其中也不少人經常在外語媒體或出版品中為台灣政府發聲。不知道台灣的駐美代表處有沒有告訴過美國推案的友台眾議員,他們草案與台灣現有條款撞名了?

就筆者觀察,台灣中央和地方政府機構興致勃勃不斷在尋求外國支持,但完全忽略了在台灣也有一群外國居民可以幫助他們增強台灣的國際形象,這符合一個在台灣流行的文化現象:「外銷轉內銷」,像是台灣媒體喜歡引用外國媒體報導台灣的正面消息,帶回國內幫助台灣人形塑出國人眼中的國際形象。

比起可能被派來台灣公部門出差交流之後就回國的外國政府機關人員,要增進台灣的外交關係,長期住在台灣的外國居民或許能貢獻更多。但在近來的政府舉措之中,身在當地的外國居民通常不是焦點所在。

台灣的外國居民絕對是增強台灣外交軟實力的一把交椅,可惜台灣政府官員常常忽略這一點。舉例來說,在師大國語文中心學過中文的許多外國朋友們成立了一個全球校友會,當我在學中文時,我們這群校友努力尋求學校與台灣政府的支持。有鑑於許多校友是繼續留在台灣或在世界各地的專業人士與學者,這個社群是一個對於台灣的國際形象、產業合作的好資源。然而對於我們的自薦,只得到學校官方口頭上支持回應,並無實質成效。當我與當時的台灣駐美代表相關人士會面時,我向他提出一些建議、推薦了一些優秀校友(我並沒有向他尋求經濟支助),但我得到的回應是:「如果我們向貴校友會提供任何支援,那麼全台灣其他的中文學校也都會來找我們提供相關幫助。」我當時其實想回他:台灣政府應該要提拔這些想要主動為台灣做事的國立大學的校友們,但面對他斬釘截鐵表示沒有興趣,我吞回了原本想繼續爭辯的話語。

另一項草案「台灣外交檢討法案」(Taiwan Diplomatic Review Act)將要求未來美國在台協會處長的任命程序,應比照一般美國駐外大使的程序,需要美國參議院實行同意權。乍聽之下這似乎提升了美國駐台協會處長的地位,也讓許多希望尋求美國支援的台灣支持者感到高興,但筆者認為可能不需要高興得太早。首先,這一措舉並不代表我們離台美建交更近一步;其次,在美國參議院聽證會期間,被提名人最多也只能用最保守的論點來回答參議員所有關於美台關係的問題。

新任美國駐台協會處長剛上任,這意味著此草案就算明天通過,也至少要等到3年之後才開始施行。實際上,這樣的情況常常會遇到前一任與新一任的外交官任期之間會有缺口,由於要經過行政程序,新任的大使未上任之前、前任的大使已經離任,這時候總是需要暫代此職位缺口的人來代理。目前台灣的情況是美國政府可以在不需要國會通過的情況下選擇駐台辦事處處長一職,所以並不會遇到這個問題,但若使用了新法案,台灣將放棄一個獨特的待遇。

抱持著「人家都是這樣」的信念,台灣一直企圖在與外國交手時追求「平等」待遇,像是大力批判世界衛生組織又同時吵著要加入其組織,大量灑錢來進行金援外交,或高興著台灣沒有被世界衛生組織所推出的全球新冠肺炎疫苗實施計畫(COVAX)排除在接收捐贈疫苗的名單上,但筆者認為要是台灣能奮力爭取讓自己身處在購買名單上,會顯得更有骨氣。

或許台灣應該更專注在發展自己的軟實力、以自身優勢找到屬於自己的國際地位、發揮優勢,而不是「因為其他國都有,我們也要」這種心態在掙扎。畢竟,各國之間的外交脈絡不盡相同,許願不要亂許,畢竟生搬硬套,許多結果不一定符合台灣實際的需要。

(作者為美國共和黨海外部亞太區前主席)

全文:

Be Careful What You Wish For in Foreign Policy

By Ross Darrell Feingold

Former Asia Chairman Republicans Abroad

In English there is a saying “Be careful what you wish for.” This was on my mind while reading about some recent bills in the United States Congress that are intended to strengthen the already excellent bilateral relations between the United States and Taiwan.

One item prohibits the Department of State from using its funding “to create procure or display any map that depicts Taiwan Kinmen Matsu Penghu Wuciou Green Island or Orchid Island as part of the territory of the People’s Republic of China.” Given that the People’s Republic of China has never exercised jurisdiction over the named islands it is only logical that the State Department use maps that accurately depict current realities. However the bill omits how State Department maps should refer to islands in the South China Sea to which the Republic of China claims sovereignty and are currently under Taiwan’s control as well as the many other islands claimed by the Republic of China in the South China Sea and the Diaoyutai in the East China Sea that are currently not under Taiwan’s control. The bill also does not require the State Department’s maps to refer to these islands in a specific way whether as the Republic of China the Free Area of the Republic of China the Republic of China (Taiwan) or the Republic of China Taiwan (or any other designation for the country’s name that the current Taiwan government prefers).

Another proposal would create a Taiwan Fellowship program funded by US taxpayers. Among the more interesting parts of the proposed program’s structure the Taiwan Fellows from the United States would spend time working in Taiwan government agencies. Perhaps young men working in government agencies as part of Taiwan’s alternative national service program are over worked and Americans need to be imported!

Is Taiwan such a mysterious and exotic place that the US taxpayer and US government must spend more resources to assist Americans to learn more about it? Taiwan is one of the wealthiest and most technologically sophisticated countries in the world; if there are shortcomings in the world’s knowledge about Taiwan it should be the responsibility of the Taiwan government and people in the first instance to address this.

In fact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs already operates a program called the Taiwan Fellowship for foreign scholars whose recipients receive a Taiwan taxpayer funding to do research or teach in Taiwan (and some of whom then publish commentaries and books in foreign languages that not surprisingly reflect the Taiwan government’s views). Perhaps the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Washington DC should let the United States Congress know this in order to avoid confusion.

In this author’s experience a recurring problem with Taiwan central and local government agencies is to be over exuberant for foreign support but only when it comes from foreigners who live outside Taiwan (this is one aspect of what is known in Taiwan as “overseas marketing turned into domestic marketing”). Often the foreign residents of Taiwan are overlooked in these initiatives even those foreigners who currently live in Taiwan are better ambassadors for bilateral relations with their home countries than foreigners who might come here for one or two years and then move on to other non-Taiwan related activities. In my own career in Taiwan both in professional and community activities I have repeatedly encountered government officials who are unable to appreciate this and rejected proposals for initiatives that would better utilize the soft power of Taiwan’s resident foreigners. By way of example over twenty years along with many other foreigners who had studied Mandarin at the National Taiwan Normal University Mandarin Training Center we sought support from the school as well as the Taiwan government to create a global alumni association. Given that many alumni remain to work in Taiwan (and others went on to work worldwide in government and industry) this was a ready to be utilized group of foreigners with a strong connection to Taiwan. The reaction from the school was verbally supportive but short on substance (and the frequent changes to the Mandarin Training Center’s director made continuity difficult). I also met with the head of the cultural division at the TECRO in Washington DC to seek moral (though not financial support) and was told that if we provide any assistance to you we’ll have to do it for every Mandarin language school in Taiwan. My reply was that the Taiwan government should not discriminate against the alumni from a particular national university who are taking the initiative to do something for Taiwan but in reality I gave up.

Another bill in Congress would require that the American Institute in Taiwan Taipei Office director be confirmed by the United States Senate just as any other United States ambassador to a foreign country is. At first glance this seems like a good idea and it is something Taiwan supporters in the United States have long sought though there are several reasons why this might not be a good idea at this time. Most importantly it is not diplomatic recognition. When confirmation hearings occur the nominee is sure to reply to senators questions about US-Taiwan relations with the same kind of “bureaucratic speak” as other State Department and Defense Department nominees do in their confirmation hearings. A new director just arrived in Taipei which means the use of the law would have to wait at least three years. On a practical level ambassadors are sometimes nominated and then confirmed after the predecessor has departed the post. Is Taiwan be better off with an “open window” during which there is only an acting Taipei office director?

But perhaps most importantly Taiwan would give up a unique status (that the US government can select the Taipei office director without the need for a Senate confirmation hearing) in return for a momentary sense of happiness when the bill passes into law and a momentary sense of happiness in the future when the confirmation hearings for a new Taipei office director occur. Is this trade worth it? Instead Taiwan and its supporters should have advocated for a more prominent person from outside the foreign service to be selected for the post similar to the US ambassadors that a new US president nominates for ambassadorships to countries such as China and the United Kingdom. Although the recent and new Taipei office directors are well qualified it is not the same as a political nominee personally acquainted to the president of the United States and the absence of nomination hearings might make the opportunity attractive to political appointees. Unfortunately in its foreign policy Taiwan often seeks equal treatment simply because it is what other countries also do; examples include attempts to join discredited international organizations (such as the United Nations and World Health Organization) maintain diplomatic relations with corrupt governments who steal Taiwan aid money or to participate in COVAX as a recipient of vaccine donations (rather than only be a purchaser). Perhaps Taiwan would be better off finding ways to use its unique status to its advantage rather than simply trying to be like everyone else. After all countries also should be careful what they wish for.

#Taiwan #台灣 #China #government #United