The Taipei Times reported that the Humane Genome Project is providing more evidence that it is our environment, not our genes, which causes mental illness (“Mental illness revealed to be caused by environmental factors,” Oct. 18, page 9).
As the article makes clear, the solution to this problem is state-sponsored intervention. What will be the (predictable) response of “Tea Party” conservatives and right-wing bloggers? You’ve guessed it: denial.
Whether it is scientific evidence of global warming published in the top academic journals or overwhelming evidence that our environment is in serious meltdown, as reported last week once again at the international biodiversity conference in Japan, or yet more evidence that social and educational services increase mental well-being and quality of life, the recipe for denial is as predictable as it is harmful to society. This consists of the endless repetition of cherry-picked data or outright lies, insinuations of scientific conspiracies or claims that there is still a “debate” going on because a few scientists do not belong to the consensus of 99 percent of the world’s scientific community.
The Internet is the medium of choice for such willful ignorance. This nonsense is then repeated in blog after blog, ranted about on right-wing radio and television, or shouted out at Tea Party rallies, with the repetitious slogan: The government is the source of all evil!
As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, global problems of smuggling, trade imbalances, nuclear proliferation, health and environmental deterioration, to name just a few, need to be urgently addressed.
Therefore, we need strong global governance backed up by interventionist national governments more than ever, as was pointed out in another recent article in the Taipei Times (“Global power structures a growing, but still distant future,” Oct. 15, page 9).
Taiwan would greatly benefit from strong global governance, guided by a UN system that recognizes the right of people to choose their own destiny. For many reasons, not least its strong dependence on international trade and diplomatic recognition, Taiwan’s government should be at the forefront of building strong global alliances the policies of which should be based on evidence, common sense, universal rights and protection of the global commons.
By becoming a shining example of a “responsible stakeholder” for global security, as Joseph Nye puts it, Taiwan could improve its international standing and the welfare of people around the world, at once.
For example, it should heed the advice of Jurgen Lefevere and unilaterally implement cuts in greenhouse gas emissions (“Can Taiwan join in the fight against climate change?” Oct. 17, page 3). This would demonstrate good will, improve Taiwan’s international clout, get its renewable energy industry growing, improve energy security, create competitive, high-quality jobs and encourage the economy to develop in a low-carbon, high-tech and sustainable way. What’s not to like about this? Even China is doing it.
Chinese strongman Xi Jinping (習近平) hasn’t had a very good spring, either economically or politically. Not that long ago, he seemed to be riding high. The PRC economy had been on a long winning streak of more than six percent annual growth, catapulting the world’s most populous nation into the second-largest power, behind only the United States. Hundreds of millions had been brought out of poverty. Beijing’s military too had emerged as the most powerful in Asia, lagging only behind the US, the long-time leader on the global stage. One can attribute much of the recent downturn to the international economic
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
Taiwan has for decades singlehandedly borne the brunt of a revanchist, ultra-nationalist China — until now. Ever since Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison had the temerity to call for a transparent, international investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, Beijing has been turning the screws on Canberra. This has included unleashing aggressive “wolf warrior” diplomats to intimidate Australian policymakers, enacting punitive tariffs on its exports, and threatening an embargo on Chinese tourists and students to the nation. A tense situation became more serious on June 19 after Morrison revealed that a “sophisticated state-based actor” — read: China — had launched a
Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) is to be Taiwan’s next representative to the US. Hsiao is well versed in international affairs and Taiwan-US relations. In her days as a student in the US, she was a member of the Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA) and served as chief executive of the Democratic Progressive Party’s US mission. She is familiar with a broad spectrum of Taiwanese affairs in the US. FAPA hopes that Hsiao, after taking up her new post, would continue to deepen and normalize relations between Taiwan and the US, and that she would try to get a free-trade agreement