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America is a pretty good friend, we'll back you up no matter what.  In fact we'll back you up well past the point of sanity or decency. And there's no place where that's clearer than America's relationship with the Republic of China/Taiwan/Chinese Taipei/Formosa.   The average American doesn't think about Taiwan too much, but its a perfect symbol of how weird geopolitics can get, how massive issues are created by small flaws, and how domestic politics creates foreign policy.  Also there's a lot of ceramic swans, pirates, bad handwriting, and a cactus involved.  

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