A Place Calling Itself Taiwan
OPINION/SATIRE: How did Taiwan go from Fortress Formosa to Fantasy Island?
8 July 2022
A Place Calling Itself Taiwan
How Did Taiwan Go From Fortress Formosa to Fantasy Island?
By Wendell Minnick (Whiskey Mike)
TAIPEI - Why did it take an unknown German sinologist from an equally unknown university to ask the one question that everyone in the U.S. think tank community, U.S. intelligence community, and the Pentagon, utterly fail to ponder?
Dr. Gunter Schubert is a no one in the Washington Beltway. A big zero. DC elitist policy wonks would dismiss his voice as garbled radio chatter in any debate. Is Schubert an outlier? Absolutely. Do I hate him? Everyday. The question the man posed in June 2021 has gnawed on my skull, gradually raked off the raw skin, and now slowly chipping past the bone into the brain itself:
"So the question remains: Is Taiwanese society ready to fight a belligerent China – or does it, ultimately, prefer to sit on borrowed time, enjoy life as much as possible, and dig in to avoid looking at the existential threat that it is facing and cannot escape?”
The only conclusion that I have come up with is that Taiwan’s identity crisis is the source of the problem. It has weakened the military, misled naive Washington policy wonks with false narratives, and further aggravated China’s impatient Communist Party that perpetually demands subjugation. Taiwan’s chattering political elites have also embraced Western political wokism that has further confused the public on what it means to be Taiwanese.
Are Taiwanese the same as the Chinese? Or are they MORE Chinese than the Chinese? After all, Taiwan continues using traditional Chinese characters, whereas China uses a dumbed down simplified version. China’s Cultural Revolution burned down museums and libraries, uprooted cemeteries for rice paddies, executed historians and philosophers. Taiwan saved much of that history in 1949 and has safely preserved it for the public in the National Palace Museum.
But what about Taiwanese identity? Who are they? Does the diverse mix of both Western and Eastern religion and philosophy make them unique? In Taipei, McDonalds and 7-11s compete with noodle shops/mom-and-pop owned boutique stores. On the island the aborigines have the same rights as ordinary Taiwanese. Unlike China, Taiwan has not stuffed them all into concentration camps like the Uyghurs. The island has one of the highest literacy rates in the world with nearly 90% for a country of 23 million. Taiwan has literally no street crime. Women walk down dark alleys without so much as a second thought.
Is Taiwan a paradise that grew out of a despotic one-party dictatorship? Does that even happen in real life? Or is Taiwan truly Shakespeare’s “undiscovered country” waiting for the axe to fall?
So how did Taiwan go from Fortress Formosa to Fantasy Island?
Taiwan’s military has no hero narrative to replace the old KMT battle stories of defending Shanghai or last stand in Fujian. Taiwan is no Alamo. There are no 300 Spartans, except for these guys:
Screenshot of a Taiwan pride parade.
Despite recent U.S. media comparisons, Taiwan is not Ukraine either. The Ukrainians can eat bark off trees. President Tsai, instead, is Live Action Role Playing (LARPing).
Even though Taiwan males serve a meager four month conscription requirement that has little to do with combat, what Taiwan youth really want is their strawberry bubble tea. Some will tolerate the mandatory summer camp, but others use every device imaginable to get out of it. They put the old Vietnam War draft dodgers to shame, and trust me, I am old enough to remember those pansies in my neighborhood whining when their number came up on the Tv.
The Taiwanese do not seem all that different from the Japanese with a sizable drop in birth rates. In Taiwan analysts estimate the number of domestic pets have surpassed the number of children under the age of 15. To further humiliate Taiwan’s beta-male society, with their lack of patriotic muster and fascination with Japanese porn, they seem content on doing nothing beyond playing Call of Duty video games.
Like Japan, Taiwan has entered a demographic death spiral where Taiwan men can neither fight nor fuck, as Walsh’s Fiery Angel makes clear.
Author Michael Walsh quipped in Fiery Angel that the slow death of virility in Japan could be eradicated by the banning of both pornography and contraception. Taiwan is no different it seems to me. Taiwanese men, like their Japanese counterparts, are more interested in the perverse Hentai porn and tailored Taiwanese dating apps that allow for wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am quickies.
Hentai often portrays child-like females who secretly desire being sexually assaulted by animals, demons, giant insects, monsters, and plants (in the case of Taiwan’s chattering political elite they envision a Chinese invasion).
You will not find Davy Crockett or Horatius here. No one is full of piss and vinegar. In many ways, Taiwan is choking to death on estrogen.
Everything seems to be Hello Kitty-cute, including 7-11 stores.
Above: 7-11 Store; Author Photo.
The military was once Red in Tooth and Claw, but now seems far more Red in Lipstick and Hot Pink in Nail Polish.
Taiwan’s infamous Political Warfare Task Force 5. Author collection.
Taiwan military patches have slowly evolved from macabre skull and cross bones to annoying images of unicorns and rainbows.
Above: Possibly based loosely on My Little Pony.
Above: Air Rescue Group (Seagulls) under the 4th (455th) Tactical Fighter Wing, Chiayi Air Base. Rotary Aircraft: EC225, S-70C, UH-60M.
Above: Sonic the Hedgehog. Armament & Electronics Maintenance Squadron, 5th (401st) Tactical Composite Wing, Hualien Air Base: 17th, 26th, 27th Tactical Fighter Groups. F-16 Fighter Aircraft. Author collection.
Above: The Angry Birds weekend patch. The bird featured is called Red and is anti-social and rude: "I'm Red! The mighty defender of the nest! The smasher of pigs!" - Red, Angry Birds Comics (#10). The patch is for the 5th (401st) Tactical Composite Wing, Hualien Air Base: 17th, 26th, 27th Tactical Fighter Groups. F-16 Fighter Aircraft. Author collection.
Who would you put your money on? The woman on the left, who attended the elite First Girl’s High School, became a lawyer, mysteriously never married, and instituted post-modern “woke” policies in the military? Or the Alpha Male on the right who toiled on a hog farm during his high school years via the Cultural Revolution, married with family, and banned Winnie-the-Pooh out of pettiness? Taiwan’s mascot OhBear came out publicly in defense of Winnie, to further annoy Xi.
So, which one do you think has the gonads to fight for kith and kin?
Can a post-modern anti-patriotic Taiwan resist a modern patriotic China?
Morale has also been hurt by Western “woke” ideological complaints about the military’s “weekend” patches.
Though sexually explicit, these four patches do reflect the primordial existential relationship between Thanatos and Eros; something primordially more relevant than Hello Kitty.
Above: This was the first patch to receive complaints. ROCS Yuen Feng (AP-524) Attack Transport Ship sunk by a Mk 94 gas bomb, which is essentially a Mk 82 Mod 1 general purpose, low drag bomb, modified for gas bomb filling. The modification consists largely in the elimination of the electric cable conduits from the low drag bomb, and the addition of a burster and filler hole. Bomb dropped by Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF) in 2016. 1st (443rd) Tactical Composite Wing, 1st Tactical Fighter Group (Vultures or Gymnogynps), Tainan Air Base. Weekend Patch - Not Official. Author collection.
Above: MICA Air-to-Air Missile for the Mirage 2000 Fighter, 2nd (499th) Tactical Composite Wing: 41st, 42nd and 48th Tactical Fighter Groups, Hsinchu Air Base. Author collection.
Above: Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF). Taiwan’s 1st (443rd) Tactical Composite Wing, 9th Tactical Fighter Group (Rabbits), Tainan Air Base. Weekend Patch - Not Official. Author collection.
Above: Mirage 2000 Weekend Patch/Christmas. And what is wrong with this patch celebrating Christmas? She is wearing something - Santa’s red hat. Even the festive snowman with boom-out eyes, left hand politely holding her bra, and right hand with an upright carrot saluting the Yuletide spirit, are all in good taste. Mirage 2000 fighter, 2nd (499th) Tactical Composite Wing: 41st, 42nd and 48th Tactical Fighter Groups, Hsinchu Air Base. Author collection and personal favorite.
This has not stopped the Air Force from creating a special patch in President Tsai’s honor for the Presidential Transport Squadron. She can fly this “Fucker” over the rainbow when the Chinese invade.
Above: Taiwan’s President uses one (Tail 5001) Fokker 50 for domestic flights. Procured in the early 1990s, the Air Force has three total, used for VIP transport. All based at Songshan Air Base in Taipei. For international travel, they have one Boeing 737.
Though this is allowed for the President, there is no move to delete the image of China or the Great Wall from Taiwan army/marine corp insignia?
Above: 8th Army (South). Author collection.
Above: 99th Marine Corp Regiment (“Iron Fist”) based in Kaohsiung. Author collection.
Taiwan’s president Tsai believes referendums will attain the ideal democracy. The assumption is the public knows the intricacies of policy and takes responsibility for the consequences.
For me, referendums pose disturbing questions over hypocrisy and leadership.
For the past forty-years, Taiwan’s pro-nuclear energy policy allowed for energy security, just in case China shutdown oil/gas shipments from the Middle East; now doable with China’s control of the South China Sea.
However, the climate change debate in the West fueled the same polemic within Taiwan’s elite circles to begin switching to alternative carbon-free energy sources and begin shutting down nuclear power plants. Saving the polar bear was far more important than saving the island from being raped and pillaged by Chinese troops.
Taiwan has a tendency to mimic American ideas, narratives, trends.
Unfortunately, the Taiwanese do not know that Western doomsday mythos periodically repeat themselves throughout history. Perhaps the Taiwanese should not take America so seriously, and for education purposes start by reading Genesis 6 about the “wickedness” of man?
The public agreed in a 2018 referendum, believing windmills were a satisfactory answer to replacing the monster-amps produced by nuclear energy. One wonders what Don Quixote would be thinking today? Even the Taiwan Army celebrated the change:
Above: 36th Han Kuang Exercise; 2020. Army Aviation and Special Forces Command. 601st Aviation Brigade – Longtan, Taoyuan - x2 Attack Battalion (x30 AH-64E Apache Longbow Attack Helicopter); 602nd Aviation Brigade, "Longxiang Force" – Xinshe District, Taichung City – Attack Group x2 (x60 AH-1W Super Cobra Attack Helicopter). Author collection.
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After all the torment they have endured to bring democracy and liberal values to the island, why does the political elite seem deaf to a ticking time bomb that will crater everything they have achieved? After an invasion, what will China do with Tier 1 of the Democratic Progress Party (DPP)?
Perhaps Tier 2 will simply be imprisoned or used for organ harvesting or better yet end up as a science education exhibit touring the world. It could be called Science Explores Democratic Anatomy.
But what about Tier 1?
Imagine what China’s special operations units would do to President Tsai, if captured? Selfies? Souvenirs - an ear, a finger or two? A trophy is part of the hunt when you bag big game. And after all, doesn’t President Tsai’s progressive agenda demand that everyone get a trophy?
During the civil wars in Central America during the 1980s, even journalists took macabre souvenirs. A photographer friend of mine who attended Pol Pot’s cremation in Cambodia managed to use his boot to roll out a piece of his leg bone from the smoldering ashes.
A 1965 photo in Bolivia of the legendary Che Guevara and CIA paramilitary team leader Félix Rodríguez. I came to worship Rodríguez’s ingenuity as a CIA Paramilitary Officer during the Bay Pigs Invasion, the Vietnam War (Phoenix Program) and later in Central America in the 1980s. Though I never met Rodríguez, I did have the honor of interviewing his colleague: retired General John Singlaub in 1993. Both men were heavily involved in CIA operations in Central America. Singlaub had been an active covert warfare specialist for 40 years, including China, Korea, and Vietnam.
Realistically, the self-indulgent narcissistic youth of Taiwan will find a Chinese invasion more than just invasive rudeness.
I recommend the Taiwan military handout condoms at the landing beaches for Chinese troops looking for war brides.
Thanks to China’s one-child policy the ratio of men to women is now around 111 men for every 100 women (111:100). Given the fact there are virtually no women amongst the PLA ground pounders and that the invasion would number around 250,000 troops at a minimum, between the ages 18-25, how long before the party would begin?
As Mark Twain quipped: “History doesn't repeat itself, but it often rhymes”. Too many Taiwanese have told me that a Chinese take-over of the island would be nothing more than being under “New Management.” Like a hostile corporate takeover.
Here are two book recommendations for my Taiwanese friends and the government elites:
Or maybe something less poetic and more up-to-date:
As stated, Taiwan needs a new hero narrative. There have been attempts to use symbolism from Taiwan’s fierce aboriginal mythos. There has even been talk of creating a Gurkha-like aborigine special operations unit.
Army Aviation and Special Forces Command’s Airborne Training Center. Dawu, Pinging County. December 10, 2010. The symbols: Eagle Feather, Dagger Handle, Triangle representing strength, and Snake. Author collection and media trip attendance. See: Taiwan Army Weapons and Equipment (2022).
Decades ago, Taiwan’s National Security Bureau went so far as establishing a training base, Black Forest, for its agents in the heart of the jungled terrain of Hualien’s aboriginal tribal area. You know, to toughen them up. It was not dissimilar to the CIA’s Camp Peary (the Farm) in southern Virginia where agents are taught survival cloak-and-dagger skills. Yet, today, the Black Forest Training Facility is co-habited by the Army and has been largely forgotten. It is located near the beach and the airbase:
Black Forest Training Facility in red. Mostly used by the Army now, but began as a NSB training facility similar to the CIA’s Camp Peary (the Farm). Notice the airbase to the right and the Pacific Ocean at the top. Google Earth. On July 2, 2022, the author drove by the gate, but did not attempt to enter the facility during a family trip to Hualien.
However, there is a dark side. During the 1930 Musha Massacre, led by Chief Mona Rudao, 300 aborigines rebelled against Japanese colonialists massacring over 100, mostly through beheading women and children, at an elementary school event. Taiwan minted a $20 coin in the Chief’s honor in 2001, but it fell in disuse. One wonders why?
So the jury is still out on whether aborigine mythology is suitable, even though many of Taiwan’s special operations units are from the mountain tribes. The reason is that the average Taiwan city boy cannot handle the training.
“Chinese” (Taiwan) Marine Corps Special Service Company patch. Author collection.
Aborigine members of the Marine Corps Special Service Company have bragged they would gladly shoot their Taiwanese commanders if they attempted to surrender. Perhaps they are the 300 Spartans that Taiwan needs, but the 300 from the Musha Massacre did little in public relations. Either way, it is important to take the mountain tribal ethos seriously.
There has been a lot of talk about bringing the Green Berets back to Taiwan on a covert basis, but, as is often the case, those guys go native sometimes and might never leave the mountains. Perhaps Taiwan’s chattering political elites should take Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness truly to heart: “It was written I should be loyal to the nightmare of my choice.”
Patch commemorating the history of the U.S. Army’s 1st Special Forces Group (Green Berets) Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA-1) based at Longtan, Taoyuan, from 1960-1973. Author collection.
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Great question, WM.
And one we should figure out before setting the world afire, huh?