Here’s a paradox. Almost nobody in this country would want to send our sons and daughters off to defend Taiwan if it was invaded by China, and most people would correctly say we’d get our butts kicked big time if we did. Yet, if China invaded Taiwan, it’s a near certainty the establish would have us in that war. From Doug Bandow at antiwar.com:
Even the biggest, toughest, meanest movie characters go wobbly when facing the Great Panda. At least when Chinese nationalism demands they kowtow to its demands.
The latest Hollywood wimp who plays a real man on screen is John Cena. The former wrestler, when promoting his role in Fast & Furious 9, stated that Taiwan was a country. After realizing his “mistake,” he immediately prostrated himself and groveled before what he hoped would be a massive Chinese audience for his movie: “I made a mistake, I must say right now. It’s so so so so so so important, I love and respect Chinese people.”
But not, obviously the Taiwanese people.
Alas, abasing himself did not appear to help the film, whose Chinese ticket sales plummeted – though some critics ascribed that to negative reviews rather than Cancel Culture, China-style. In any case, the cringe-worthy spectacle, however sensible from a profit-maximizing standpoint, left Cena’s manhood on the floor. He will long suffer from snarky memes about needing a backbone transplant.
However, the controversy raises a larger issue. Does it matter for U.S. policy if Taiwan is a country? Does that designation determine whether Washington should defend Taipei from Chinese attempts at coercion, whether threats or actual invasion?