praxis

Anti-War Petition From Taiwan Academics

positionspolitics.org/praxis is publishing the English translation (by Jon Solomon) and Chinese original of an anti-war statement and petition organized by academics in Taiwan and initiated on March 20, 2023. The core members include FU Daiwie (STS Institute, Yang-Ming Chiao Tung University), LU Chien-Yi (Institute of European and American Studies, Academia Sinica), KUO Li-hsin (College of Communication, Chengchi University) and FENG Chien-san (College of Communication, Chengchi University). In ensuing weeks, the statement created a vigorous public discussion in Taiwan about rejecting both Chinese and American militarism and the petition attracted broader support.

Our Antiwar Statement: Against Arms and For Peace, Climate Justice, and Autonomy

Recently, a slew of antiwar demonstrations has taken place in cities from Washington, D.C. to Europe. Calling for solidarity with their antiwar demands, we also issue our own set of demands:

1. Peace in Ukraine: we call for peace negotiations and the avoidance of conflict escalation.
2. Stop US militarism and economic sanctions.
3. No to the US-PRC war. Taiwan should preserve its autonomy and maintain equidistance from the great powers.
4. The national budget should be used to meet social needs and to mitigate climate change, not for arms and war.

1. Peace in Ukraine: we call for peace negotiations and the avoidance of conflict escalation.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is of course unforgivable. However, the mid-term and long-term factors that stoked the flames of war must be studied, otherwise yet another war that decimates the people could be instigated and ignited at any moment. Warnings from esteemed public sources, from those such as Pope Francis, The New York Times, and former NATO General Secretary G.I.M. Robertson, to those from renowned US academics such as John Mearsheimer, Jeffrey Sachs, and, especially, Noam Chomsky, have all not failed to call into question and castigate the highly provocative military expansion undertaken by the United States and NATO on Russia’s doorstep. At present, this war has already resulted in the death of over 100,000 Ukrainian soldiers and more than 8000 civilians, including children, while forcing 13 million Ukrainians to become refugees.

Peace negotiations are the only way to end war. We call upon NATO member nations to stop using democracy and freedom and the restoration of territorial integrity – ideas that nobody could oppose in principle – as the pretext for escalation, in disregard for the increasing numbers of casualties and displaced persons and, on occasion, even deliberately wrecking the diplomatic efforts of various parties to promote negotiations. 

2. Stop US militarism and economic sanctions.

Under cover provided by lies about “Iraq’s possession of Weapons of Mass Destruction,” the US invasion of that nation resulted in the deaths of 300,000 Iraqi civilians and the displacement of 9.2 million persons. The situation in Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, and Pakistan is similar to that of Iraq, leading to a total civilian death toll of 6.3 million. Since independence, the United States has seemingly never gone a year without launching or participating in a war. Concerned about the way that the interests of arms manufacturers override national interests, President Dwight D. Eisenhower presciently coined the term, “military-industrial complex.” In the two decades following the beginning of the war in Afghanistan in 2001, the total amount of funds allocated to the US military budget reached $14 trillion, of which between 1/3 and 1/2 of that amount went directly into the pockets of Defense Department contractors. The war in Ukraine is no exception. In that context, the role of the arms industry, commanding formidable resources for lobbying and political contributions, has been especially pertinent. As long as NATO armaments pour into Ukraine, this war will never end. (The figures cited above are taken from the Costs of War project website maintained by a team of researchers at Brown University and from David Vine’s The United States of War).

As concerns economic sanctions, past examples indicate that economic sanctions do not hurt the political and economic elites of the targeted nations. Those who bear the brunt of such sanctions invariably are the innocent civilians, especially women, children, and other minorities.  US sanctions applied in the past have often lacked legitimacy. Those applied against Russia have unleashed a global energy crisis and inflation, exacerbating the already serious famines that afflict the Global South.

3. No to the US-PRC war. Taiwan should preserve its autonomy and maintain equidistance from the great powers.

The United States of America and the People’s Republic of China must resolve their differences through peaceful means. The beautiful land of Taiwan is not available to be rented as their battlefield. We do not welcome the visits of those high-ranking officials who would push Taiwan towards the precipice of war and necessarily sacrifice Taiwan; neither do we support military cooperation that could be manifestly interpreted as a provocation. Taiwan should maintain a position of autonomy, cooperating with other nations in those domains – economy, environment, academic, and cultural – that contribute to the equality, livelihood, and peace of all humanity. Especially, Taiwan should maintain diplomatic relations of equidistance with great powers and maintain the security of both sides of the Taiwan Straits with a firm policy guided by wisdom. Taiwan should not become either a servant or sidekick, nor a “member of the pack,” in the rivalry between US hegemony and PRC “wolf warriors.” We deplore any deliberate actions that use provocation to unleash conflict and we firmly believe that the peace dividend that would accrue from putting an end to provocation is far superior to arms sales, military bases, military threats, or wars.

4. The national budget should be used to meet social needs and to mitigate climate change, not for arms and war

Our planet is currently confronted with multiple crises including energy shortages, inflation, extreme climate events, water shortages, and the disappearance of biodiversity. National budgets should be dedicated to the resolution or mitigation of these crises to improve people’s livelihoods, not wasted on the black hole of an arms race and mutual provocation. It is well known that prior to the advent of the Russo-Ukraine War, the planetary environment had already entered a state of emergency. Due to the machinations of neoliberal elites and corporate politicians, the 1.5C climate goal has evaporated into thin air even as the wealth of the global ruling classes has skyrocketed. Nevertheless, the goal of limiting climate change to a 2C increase is still worth striving for. Sadly, the flames of war stoked by the military-industrial complex have not only dramatically increased carbon emissions, they have also succeeded in reviving the fossil fuel industries that should have been progressively consigned to the recycle bin of history. In a world with over 13,000 nuclear warheads, the impending threat of nuclear annihilation has distracted attention from the gravity of climate change. Once the quiet of death reigns on Earth, where could one possibly look to find the “sovereignty,” “democracy,” and “freedom” promised by politicians who proffer war in their defense? 

We are opposed to Mainland China’s various attempts to diplomatically isolate and militarily threaten Taiwan, yet it is not the vocation of this Statement to repeat the ubiquitous criticisms of “Wolf Warrior China” widely aired in Taiwanese media. We aspire to incite the wisdom of the many multitudes to come up together with a sober, peaceful way for Taiwan to situate itself in the midst of the rivalry between the US and the PRC. We also hope that this Statement will foster within Taiwanese civil society more rational, public discussion and dialogue concerning international politics and the crisis in the Taiwan Straits. We fervently wish that more antiwar statements and actions from a greater variety of perspectives will continue to appear, enabling Taiwanese society to confront and ponder the catastrophe that war brings about.

 

2023 Taiwan Antiwar Statement Working Group:

Daiwie FU (STS Institute, Yang-Ming Chiao Tung University)

Chien-Yi LU (Institute of European and American Studies, Academia Sinica)

Li-hsin KUO (College of Communication, Chengchi University)

Chien-san FENG (College of Communication, Chengchi University)

 

References (in Chinese)

傅大為譯(2022/3)〈杭士基談俄國入侵烏克蘭:它的起源、如何應對、與人類歷史的關鍵〉。Truthout . [Translation by Daiwie Fu of Noam Chomsky, “Noam Chomsky: US Military Escalation Against Russia Would Have No Victors,” Truthout March 1, 2022, https://truthout.org/…/noam-chomsky-us-military…/].

汪宏倫(2010)〈值得從杭士基學習的十件事〉。《自由時報》。8月9日。自由副刊。(註:汪教授並不認同這份聲明,亦非反戰聲明工作小組成員) [Wang,

Horng-lun. 2010. “Ten Things Worth Learning from Chomsky.” Liberty Times August 9, 2010].

李行德(編) 〈2010年杭士基訪台專輯〉。台北市:中央研究院。[Lee, Thomas Hun-Tak. 2010. Collected Essays from Chomsky’s 2010 Taiwan Visit. Taipei: Academia Sinica Press].

馮建三(2022)〈不實資訊、廣場事件與戰爭責任:理解烏克蘭〉。《傳播文化與政治》。15期,p.161-201。[Feng, Chien-san. 2022. “Disinformation, Euromaidan, War-and-Accountability: Understanding Ukraine.” Communication, Culture & Politics No. 15, 161 – 201].

Translator of this Antiwar Statement: Jon SOLOMON, Professeur, Université de Lyon.

  1.  

我們的反戰聲明:和平、反軍火、要自主、重氣候

近日從美國華府到歐洲各大城市,反戰示威遊行綿延不絕。我們不僅全力聲援這些反戰訴求,也提出以下我們自己的呼籲:

    1. 烏克蘭和平:要停戰談判不要衝突升溫
    2. 停止美國軍事主義與經濟制裁
    3. 不要美中戰爭,台灣要自主並與大國維持友好等距關係
    4. 國家預算用在民生社福與氣候減緩而非投入戰爭軍武

1. 烏克蘭和平:要停戰談判不要衝突升溫

俄羅斯入侵烏克蘭的行為當然不可原諒,然而助長戰火的中程及遠程原因亦須深究,否則下一場塗炭生靈的戰爭隨時能再被蘊釀、煽動、點燃。從天主教教宗方濟各、《紐約時報》、前北約秘書長G.I. M. Robertson、到美國知名學者John MearsheimerJeffrey Sachs,特別是杭士基(Noam Chomsky) 的各種告誡,無不質疑並譴責美國及北約在俄羅斯家門口高度挑釁的軍事擴張行為。截至目前為止,這場戰爭已造成至少十幾萬烏軍及含兒童在內的8千多平民喪生,並使1,300萬烏克蘭人民淪為難民。

和談是止戰的唯一途徑,我們呼籲北約國家停止繼續以維持領土完整及捍衛自由民主等讓人無法反對的理由為詞,讓戰爭升溫,任由死傷及流離人數繼續增加,甚至刻意破壞各方促談的外交斡旋。

2. 停止美國軍事主義與經濟制裁

在「伊拉克有大規模毀滅性武器」的謊言掩護下,美國的入侵造成約30萬伊拉克平民喪命、920萬人流離失所。阿富汗、敘利亞、葉門以及巴基斯坦處境亦與伊拉克相同,合計約63萬平民喪生。自建國以來,美國幾乎沒有一年不發動或者參與戰爭。艾森豪總統憂心軍火商利益凌駕國家利益因而創造了「軍工複合體」一詞,是真知灼見。2001阿富汗戰爭開始後的二十年裡,美國國防支出累計達14兆,其中1/3-1/2進入國防承包商口袋。烏克蘭戰爭不是例外,政治獻金與遊說能量龐大的軍火工業在這場戰爭中扮演著顯著角色。只要NATO武器源源不絕進入烏克蘭,這場戰爭就看不到盡頭。(以上數字綜合美國布朗大學 “Costs of War”網頁及David Vine所著 The United States of War)

至於經濟制裁,過往案例告訴我們經濟制裁傷害不到目標國家的政經領袖,受傷害的反而永遠是無辜人民,尤其是婦女、兒童及其他社會弱勢。美國過往的對外經濟制裁經常缺乏正當性,這次的對俄制裁更引爆了全球能源危機及通貨膨脹並加劇了全球南方原本已十分嚴重的的饑荒。

3. 不要美中戰爭,台灣要自主並與大國維持友好等距關係

美中雙方必須以和平手段解決彼此所有歧見;台灣這塊美麗土地不出借作為戰場使用。我們不歡迎那些必須犧牲台灣安全、將台灣推向戰爭邊緣的高階官員來訪,亦不支持明顯會被解讀為挑釁行為的軍事合作。台灣應以自主的立場,在經濟、生態、學術、文化等能夠增進全人類平等、福祉及和平的領域與各國合作,特別該與各強權大國維持等距離的外交關係,並以有智慧的策略與手腕維護台海兩岸的安全,而非成為美國霸權的小弟或跟班、或反之成為中國「戰狼」抗衡關係之一環;我們譴責任何刻意挑釁引發衝突的行為,相信停止挑釁所能帶來的和平效益遠遠大過軍售、駐軍,或武力威脅、發動戰爭。

4. 國家預算用在民生社福與氣候減緩而非投入戰爭軍武

此刻全球正籠罩在能源貧窮、通貨膨脹、經濟衰退、極端氣候、水資源耗竭以及生物多樣性流失的多重危機下;國家預算應該用在解決或減緩這些問題以提高人民福祉,而非投入軍備競賽、互相挑釁的黑洞之中。我們知道,俄烏戰爭爆發前,地球生態早已進入氣候緊急狀態。儘管在政客財團與新自由主義精英的掣肘下,1.5oC的減碳目標正隨著全球統治階級財富的飆升而飄逝,但將地球升溫控制在2oC之內的目標依舊值得努力。然而軍工複合體催生的戰火不僅導致碳排驟升,更促使早該走入歷史的化石燃料起死回生。而在這藏著一萬三千枚核彈的世界裡,步步進逼的核毀滅威脅正掩蓋著氣候變遷的嚴重性。當一切歸於寂靜,政客們宣稱戰爭所能夠捍衛的「主權」、「民主」、「自由」…將在哪裡?

我們反對中國大陸對台灣的各種矮化打壓及武力威脅,但重複台灣主流媒體到處都是的批評戰狼中國的文字不是這份反戰聲明的功能,我們企盼的是集眾人智慧理出一條美中抗衡下更冷靜和平的台灣自處之道,也期待藉此聲明引發台灣公民社會對國際政治與兩岸危機的更多理性的公共討論和對話。我們更盼望能有更多不同出發點的反戰聲明和行動相繼出現,讓台灣社會認真面對並思考戰爭將帶來的災難。

2023台灣反戰聲明工作小組:

傅大為(陽明交通大學STS研究所)

盧倩儀(中央研究院歐美研究所)

馮建三(政治大學傳播學院)

郭力昕(政治大學傳播學院)

3 Replies to “Anti-War Petition From Taiwan Academics”

  1. Thank you so much for this highly thoughtful and inspiring anti-war petition. The Japanese society is in the midst of the same slippage toward the frame of warfare, and not enough public and intellectual momentum has been created yet to stop it. So thank you for the authors and the translator for this statement once again.

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