US President George W. Bush and his government are hopeful that Iraq's first election Sunday will be a key turning point in a conflict that has proven to be more difficult than the Bush administration anticipated. \nAt the same time, US officials have played down expectations that the election, while a crucial step, will quickly change the situation on the ground or take place under ideal conditions. \n"Nobody from the beginning has ever said that this is going to be a perfect election," State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said Monday. \nIraqi voters on Sunday will select a transitional national assembly that will be responsible for drafting a constitution and is scheduled to hold elections for a permanent government by the end of the year. \nBuilding a new, permanent government in Iraq is essential for a US withdrawal from the country, but that will not take place, officials say, until Baghdad can provide security without the help of the US. \nIraqi forces are being internationally trained at a slower pace than expected, and some of the homegrown troops have refused to follow orders or show up for duty. Some have even joined the bloody insurgency that has taken its toll on Iraqi and US forces. \nA senior US State Department official said that by replacing the government set up by the US and conducting elections, the Iraqi security forces will see the value in defending a government chosen by Iraqis. \n"The establishment of a legitimate government with a vision for the future is critical, because if you're going to ask Iraqi security forces to go out and combat other Iraqis who timate government," the official said. \nKeeping the process moving along in Iraq is crucial for Bush at home, where the public is growing increasingly sceptical of the war. \nOne recent poll showed 75 percent of the public believes US troops will still be in Iraq when Bush leaves office in four years. \nHis second term began last week. \nBush and his deputies have warned that as the election nears, the insurgents will grow more violent in trying to intimidate voters and disrupt the democratic process. \nMilitant leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian native and al-Qaeda operative who has claimed responsibility for some of the deadliest terrorist attacks, said he will not relent. \n"We have declared a fierce war on this evil principle of democracy and those who follow this wrong ideology," al-Zarqawi said in a tape that surfaced Sunday. "Anyone who tries to help set up this system is part of it." \nAl-Zarqawi's group said it carried out this week's bombing outside the Baghdad headquarters of Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, wounding 10 people. \nDespite the violence, US officials are confident Iraqis will want to vote, but those who do probably won't feel very safe. \n"Given the nature and history of violence in Iraq over the last few months, I wouldn't expect the best exposition of security arrangements to be necessarily convincing," the senior State Department official said. "It's going to take an act of courage on the part of Iraqis." \nFourteen of Iraq's 18 provinces are relatively stable, and the US expected most of the violence to take place in three Sunni provinces north of Baghdad and in parts of the capital, which is its own province, the official said. \nFor the Bush administration, the elections will also serve as a challenge to other Middle Eastern countries and leaders to introduce democratic and economic reforms, a position that will likely come into greater focus during the second term. \nThe Iraqi elections, the senior official said, "are very significant in that, to my knowledge, these are the first elections in modern Arab history in which the outcome cannot be predicted."
Taiwan’s status in the world community is experiencing something really different; it’s being treated like a normal country. And not just a “normal” country, more like a valuable, constructive, democratic and generous country. This is not simply an artifact of Taiwan’s successes in combatting the novel coronavirus. It is a new attitude, weighing Taiwan’s democracy against China’s lack of it. Before I continue, I should apologize to the readers of the Taipei Times. I have not visited Taipei since the opening of the American Institute in Taiwan’s new chancery building in Neihu last year, so I was unprepared for the photograph
On Sept. 27, 2002, the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste (East Timor) joined the UN to become its 191st member. Since then, two other nations have joined, Montenegro on June 28, 2006, and South Sudan on July 14, 2011. The combined total of the populations of these three nations is just more than half that of Taiwan’s 23.7 million people. East Timor has 1.3 million, Montenegro has slightly more than half a million and South Sudan has 10.9 million. They all are members of the UN, yet much more populous Taiwan is denied membership. Of the three, East Timor, as a Southeast Asian
At a June 12 news conference held by the Talent Circulation Alliance to announce the release of its white paper for this year, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) emphasized that, in this era of globalization, Taiwan should focus on improving foreign language and digital abilities when cultivating talent, so that it stands out from global competitors. I suggest the government should consider building a professional translation industry. If the public believes that there is a relationship between learning English and national competitiveness, then the nation must consider the social cost of language education. This should be assessed to maximise educational effectiveness: Is
There have been media reports that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) plans to hold military exercises in August to simulate seizing the Pratas Islands (Dongsha Islands, 東沙群島) in the South China Sea. In the past, only Coast Guard Administration (CGA) personnel have been stationed there, but the Ministry of National Defense has dispatched the Republic of China Marine Corps to the islands, nominally for “ex-situ training,” to prevent a Chinese attack under the guise of military drills. The move is only a temporary measure and not sufficiently proactive. Instead, the government should officially declare sovereignty over the islands and station troops