Glaser exposes US’ ‘grey policy supply chain’
Published: Jun 21, 2024 09:52 PM
Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

In late April, at the German Marshall Fund of the US, Bonnie Glaser, a well-known American China hand, held a symposium on the relations between the United Nations Resolution 2758 and Taiwan. Through this theme, it is obvious that the purpose of this meeting was to "serve the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities," through hyping a new report by the Marshall Fund to research on the UN Resolution 2758. 

At the same time, this think tank meeting also indicated its collaboration with the US government, because the symposium also invited Mark Lambert, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for China and Taiwan in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the US Department of State, to participate in the discussion. Although it seemed like a "discussion," it was actually using "public occasions" to convey the official US position on the UN Resolution 2758.

From the report and the symposium, we can see the shrewd business sense of Glaser, who, as a famous US scholar, maneuvers between public think tanks and the government and gets profit from both the DPP authorities and the US government.

The two reports of Glaser

On April 29, the Marshall Fund released a 53-page report titled "Why UN General Assembly Resolution 2758 Does Not Establish Beijing's 'One China' Principle: A Legal Perspective." Law is just the "outer package"; what is actually included is the political calculation of the US and Taiwan.

The US has been deliberately distorting and challenging Resolution 2758 passed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1971 on the restoration of the People's Republic of China's lawful seat in the UN and the expulsion of the Chiang Kai-shek clique. The US hypes up the so-called undetermined status of Taiwan and advocates support for Taiwan's participation in UN meetings and activities. The timing of the Marshall Fund's release of this so-called report and the subsequent organization of the symposium coincided with the hype launched by certain countries about inviting Taiwan to participate in the World Health Assembly as an observer.

The 77th World Health Assembly, which convened on May 27, clearly rejected the so-called proposal put forward by individual countries to invite Taiwan to participate in the WHA as an observer. A WHA spokesman said that the vast majority of the 194 member states opposed its inclusion on the agenda of the General Assembly. This is the eighth consecutive year that the WHA has rejected Taiwan-related proposals since the DPP came to power in 2016.

An interesting point is that this is not the first report issued by the Marshall Fund to hype up the topic of UN General Assembly Resolution 2758 and the so-called Taiwan status. Two years ago, in March 2022, Glaser and Jessica Drun issued a report falsely claiming that UN General Assembly Resolution 2758 did not substantiate the one-China principle, echoing the previous rhetoric of Taiwan separatist forces.

As one of the authors of the 2022 report, Drun has served as a non-resident research fellow at the Project 2049 Institute and the Atlantic Council. She graduated from the University of Georgia in 2011 with a bachelor's degree in international affairs. She then graduated from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service in 2015 with a master's degree in Asian Studies. During the 2014-15 academic year, she spent a year in Taiwan as a visiting scholar. Obviously, compared with Glaser's qualifications, Drun might just be a junior assistant in writing this report.

The report released by the Marshall Fund this year is believed to be an "upgraded" version of the one two years ago, and the first author was changed to Jacques deLisle, who is the director of the Center for the Study of Contemporary China at the University of Pennsylvania and Stephen A. Cozen Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania.

Although the two reports have different authors, they have three major similarities. First, the themes of the two reports are the same - they both attempt to make a fuss about UN General Assembly Resolution 2758. Second, as a well-known American scholar on China-related issues, Glaser is the main author of these two reports and the "manipulator" who organized discussions and hype after the reports were released. Third, both reports were funded by the DPP authorities in Taiwan.

After the report written by Glaser and Drun was issued, the Taiwan Affairs Office of China's State Council held a regular press conference on the morning of March 30, 2022. Spokesperson Zhu Fenglian questioned whether relevant American scholars had basic common sense in response to reporters' questions. Zhu emphasized at the time that she wanted to remind everyone that this report clearly stated that it was sponsored by the DPP authorities. The report published at the end of April this year and written by Glaser and deLisle mentioned that this report received "generous support" from the DPP authorities' foreign affairs department and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US. Those in the US and Taiwan know exactly what this acknowledge meant.

With business expertise, they view Taiwan as a 'rice bowl'

As a scholar who has been focusing on the research of Taiwan-related affairs for decades, Glaser first received a bachelor's degree in political science from Boston University, and then obtained a master's degree from the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University with a specialty on international economics and China studies.

According to public information, Glaser began her career as a consultant for various US government institutions, mainly including the Department of Defense and the State Department. In 1997, she served as a member of the Defense Department's Defense Policy Board China Panel. In 2003, she joined the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a well-known American think tank, as a senior consultant for the international security project.

Beginning in 2008, Glaser focused on issues related to China's foreign and security policy at CSIS and began serving as senior advisor for the Freeman Chair in China Studies. During this period, she wrote many articles and books involving China's diplomacy, Taiwan Straits and cross-Straits relations. In the form of academic research, Glaser regards "Taiwan" as a business.

In April 2021, Glaser left CSIS, where she stayed for nearly 20 years, and took a new position as the director of the Asia Program at the German Marshall Fund. The German Marshall Fund is actually an out-and-out US think tank, headquartered in Washington, with offices in Berlin, Brussels, Ankara, Belgrade, Bucharest, Paris and Warsaw. Founded in 1972, the German Marshall Fund is a nonpartisan, non-profit organization that purports to be in the spirit of the Marshall Plan and aims to strengthen cooperation on both sides of the Atlantic on regional, national and global challenges and opportunities. Glaser's purpose in joining the Marshall Fund was also very clear. In an interview with the media at the time, she stated that in the future she would work to strengthen transatlantic cooperation on China policy and deepen Taiwan-EU relations that have growth potentials.

A senior expert on the US told the Global Times that Glaser's choice has the calculation of serving DPP authorities. Under the current strategy of competition with China, the US government continues to engage in provocations on the Taiwan question in order to contain China. On the one hand, it racks its brains on UN General Assembly Resolution 2758 to expand Taiwan's so-called international space. On the other hand, it wants to speed up arms sales to Taiwan and help the DPP authorities "reject reunification with force." In this context, there is not much room for Glaser, who makes her living out of this. 

On the other hand, the DPP authorities have always hoped to expand their "relationship network" in Europe and strengthen the so-called Taiwan-EU relations. As her main "sponsor" has this demand, Glaser would definitely take action under this baton. 

A 'grey policy supply chain' emerges

Liu Kuangyu, an associate research fellow with the Institute of Taiwan Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times that for half a century, the US has rarely had objections to the political and legal implications of Resolution 2758. The political lobbying and cognitive implantation of the "independence" faction on the island of Taiwan did not get much attention. In addition to the fact that the rhetoric from the "independence" faction is mere nonsense, the US also knows that the essence of challenging Resolution 2758 is to reiterate the "undetermined status of Taiwan" and is a risk that touches the core red line of China-US relations. Therefore, the US did not make up its mind to make a fuss out of this issue.

It was not until 2021, the 50th anniversary of the entry into force of Resolution 2758, that US State Department official John R. Waters pushed forward the argument that "China has misused the resolution." Liu believes that Glaser acutely captured the changes in the direction of the US' intensification of the political war of "using Taiwan to contain China" and quickly prepared reports for it. For the first time, the loose talk full of loopholes from the "independence" faction was systematically packaged with academic theory, pieced together with logic and beautified politically.

Her aggravation of an already complicated situation as a scholar not only brought the wild talk of "Taiwan independence" into the "academic category," but also aroused new interest in the US political academia and set the future agenda and rhetoric of the US government. It provided policy inspiration and theoretical basis for the US government's follow-up agenda-setting and rhetoric renovation, and spurred it to launch a new round of political offensive against the one-China principle recognized by the international community.

In fact, Glaser's relationship with the US government has always been very close, and a detail can confirm this. When Glaser joined the German Marshall Fund in 2021, the president was Karen Donfried. She strongly supported Glaser's joining. In September 2021, Donfried began to serve as Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs in the US Department of State until March 2023. The German Marshall Fund began cooperating with the Taiwan authorities' representative office in the US in 2018 to organize the so-called "Taiwan Trilateral Forum." In this Track 1.5 dialogue involving officials and scholars, participants from the US, Europe and Taiwan exchanged views on cooperation opportunities faced by the three parties in areas including trade, technology and security.

This time, in order to hype up her report, Glaser also invited Lambert to participate in the discussion. In fact, she was using the think tank platform to promote the views and positions of the US government. Lambert once again blatantly asserted that UNGA Resolution 2758 "did not constitute a UN institutional position on the ultimate political status of Taiwan." The previous time was the aforementioned 2021 symposium on the 50th anniversary of the adoption of Resolution 2758 when Waters made similar claims. The symposium was also hosted by the German Marshall Fund and chaired by Glaser. Is this all a coincidence? 

It is worth noting that the day after Lambert's remarks, Daniel Kritenbrink, the assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, reiterated Lambert's remarks at a hearing of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee on US-Taiwan relations, and the focus was Resolution 2758. Afterwards, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued a statement supporting the so-called "Taiwan's participation as an observer in the 77th World Health Assembly." Putting these together, we can see that US officials are hyping up the topic of "Taiwan's participation in the World Health Assembly" in a chain of links, and Glaser's report is the first link in creating a "legal basis."

Liu told the Global Times that the report produced by Glaser has opened a dangerous political magic box. In recent years, the US has colluded with the "Taiwan independence" forces and has intensively developed a set of new rhetoric that distorts the one-China principle, such as falsely claiming that "the Taiwan Straits crisis is not China's internal affairs" and that "the US has no position on how to resolve cross-Straits differences," and even clamored for "armed defense of Taiwan." Behind this is the "grey policy supply chain" of "Taiwan independence" lobbying; academic packaging; congressional momentum building; government adoption. The US government and academia are collaborating to reconstruct Taiwan-related rhetoric and hollow out the "one-China policy." These are not only new strategies aimed at accumulating strategic leverage against China, but also weave a "pseudo-historical cognitive trap" on the Taiwan question to carry out reshaping the historical collective memory and cheating on cognitive opinion.