Harvard is first and foremost a university and not a consulting operation, and our job here is to teach and to research and to create knowledge on Asia in conjunction and in cooperation with scholars as well as with political, intellectual, and cultural leaders in Asia.
So, anything that avoids a conflict that could draw in, unhappily again, outside powers such as the United States or revisit, for example, Japan's interests in the Taiwan area would be the last thing that anyone would want.
The Chinese government since 1979 has been very successful in economic development, and successful enough, simply by surviving, in the realm of political development.
You could argue that war is always an irrational act, and yet many states enter into military conflict out of rational calculation or national interest or the stability or longevity of their regime.
Taiwan is a major economy.
The greater concerns in China and Taiwan are on the political side, not on the economic side.
The reform of state industry, and most directly related to that, the banking sector, is enormously daunting.
A war in the Taiwan Strait would destroy China's international relations overnight. It would destroy Chinese - Japanese relations, not to mention Chinese - American relations.
East Asia has prospered since the end of the Vietnam War, and Northeast Asia has prospered since the end of the Korean War in a way that seems unimaginable when you think of the history of the first half of the century.
Now, I believe that war is never inevitable until it starts, but there has been a great proclivity in human history, and including in recent history, for war.
And look at the mess that Russia is; most Chinese don't want to follow that.
I don't believe that economic and cultural interaction automatically brings greater peace and understanding, although it may help in that regard.
Another goal is to look to the resources we have and to see how we could do better to plan, in a sense, for the faculty and infrastructure that we will need to study Asia well into the 21st century.
So, I think China desperately needs to legitimize some form of opposition.
There is no question that Taiwan is a state in any political science definition of a state.
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