Thu, Nov 22, 2012 - Page 8 News List

A new plan to take Asia by surprise

By Scott Bates

On the diplomatic front, turning the army into a rapid response force capable of being the first on the scene at any disaster in Asia is a capability that would be accepted by those in need, especially in Southeast Asia and South-Pacific nations.

A large and sustained effort to support those fighting for human rights and building civil society from Yangon to Guangdong to Pyongyang would send a clear message reminding the international community that Taiwan is a strong and vibrant democracy.

These actions would do more for the image of Taiwan as a peaceful and progressive partner than any amount of continued frustrated efforts for formal diplomatic recognition. The juxtaposition with more insular and self-interested forces in Beijing would be powerful.

There are inherent risks in such a strategy, but the risks are greater for Taiwan if it simply reacts to troubling trends and decreases its ability to control its destiny by employing the same security and diplomatic approaches year after year.

For the sake of self-determination and regional security, it is time for Taiwan to make bold moves.

Scott Bates is the president of the Center for National Policy in Washington.

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