Another Double Ten national celebration has rolled around, and so it is appropriate to reflect on the circumstances Taiwan finds itself in on this symbolically confusing day.
The unusually aggressive display of military technology planned for today's parade is notable, but the lack of unity between the government and the opposition parties on even fundamental matters such as the need to strengthen the nation's defenses undercuts all the pomp.
We noted last year that beyond the hardware, these nationalist displays have a hollow core and that nationalism is ill-served by symbols and rhetoric that simply serve as face-saving mechanisms for organs of state. Meanwhile, the alternative -- that Taiwan is part of China and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) is the natural party to rule all of China -- is so discredited now that even chunks of the KMT cannot bring themselves to spout it in public.
By and large, however, Taiwan is chugging along nicely, with solid economic credentials and growth, even if inflationary pressures are building. Shunting aside media hyperbole, Taiwan remains one of the safest countries in the world, with encouraging standards of education, growing (if erratically distributed) income and a good international reputation in various sectors.
In recent years the picture of Taiwan in the international eye has bounced back and forth between the predatory neuroses of China and the political mandates of competing foreign-affairs factions in the US -- the balance of which has not helped Taiwan to expand its global space.
Politically, the public has grown to more or less accept the ramifications of the executive-legislative gridlock, so much so that the prospect of another four years of this state of affairs seems not to disturb too many people.
Because the next legislative race will almost certainly end in a KMT-controlled floor, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) must concentrate its rhetorical and financial resources in retaining the executive. For the DPP, this "gridlock" scenario is something that it will have to accept indefinitely, short of a KMT schism or a revolution in grassroots politics -- a responsibility that the DPP seems unable and unwilling to embrace.
In the meantime, Taiwanese will look on the national day with a degree of skepticism. But it is also true that the things that unite Taiwanese of all backgrounds are growing more numerous, even if they are not always so spectacular. Unified and large-scale displays of nationalism will have to wait.
The more subtle displays of nationalism are encouraging, but intriguingly place excessive stock in expatriates: the travails of baseballer Wang Chien-ming (
This suggests that many Taiwanese feel they and their activities can only be successful and credible as "Taiwanese" if judged against a global standard. We welcome the day when this residue of colonial-era abuse can finally be erased and Taiwanese can derive pride and inspiration from simply being themselves.
During the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum’s third leadership summit on Aug. 31, US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun said that the US wants to partner with the other members of the Quadrilaterial Security Dialogue — Australia, India and Japan — to establish an organization similar to NATO, to “respond to ... any potential challenge from China.” He said that the US’ purpose is to work with these nations and other countries in the Indo-Pacific region to “create a critical mass around the shared values and interest of those parties,” and possibly attract more countries to establish an alliance comparable to
On August 24, 2020, the US Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, made an important statement: “The Pentagon is Prepared for China.” Going forward, how might the Department of Defense team up with Taiwan to make itself even more prepared? No American wants to deter the next war by a paper-thin margin, and no one appreciates the value of strategic overmatch more than the war planners at the Pentagon. When the stakes are this high, you can bet they want to be super ready. In recent months, we have witnessed a veritable flood of high-level statements from US government leaders on
China has long sought shortcuts to developing semiconductor technologies and local supply chains by poaching engineers and experts from Taiwan and other nations. It is also suspected of stealing trade secrets from Taiwanese and US firms to fulfill its ambition of becoming a major player in the global semiconductor industry in the next decade. However, it takes more than just money and talent to build a semiconductor supply chain like the one which Taiwan and the US started to cultivate more than 30 years ago. Amid rising trade and technology tensions between the world’s two biggest economies, Beijing has become
With a new White House document in May — the “Strategic Approach to the People’s Republic of China” — the administration of US President Donald Trump has firmly set its hyper-competitive line to tackle geoeconomic and geostrategic rivalry, followed by several reinforcing speeches by Trump and other Cabinet-level officials. By identifying China as a near-equal rival, the strategy resonates well with the bipartisan consensus on China in today’s severely divided US. In the face of China’s rapidly growing aggression, the move is long overdue, yet relevant for the maintenance of the international “status quo.” The strategy seems to herald a new