Just when you thought nothing perpetrated by the administration of George W. Bush could surprise any more, another instance of unbelievably reckless behavior comes along. This time it’s to do with China and Taiwan and involves the small matter of nearly provoking a nuclear war. A report in the Congressional Quarterly, which closely tracks politics in Washington, details apparent attempts by officials in the Department of Defense under Donald Rumsfeld to encourage Taiwan to declare independence, an act that China has made very clear it would be see as reason to initiate military action. This apparently led to officials from Colin Powell’s State Department following in the tracks of their colleagues from the Pentagon to persuade the Taiwanese that, no, it wasn’t okay to declare independence and the United States would not come to Taiwan’s aid if it was attacked after such a declaration. It would be funny if it weren’t so frightening.