A maturing democracy
Lee Min-yung (李敏勇) is right: Democratization does not just mean changing the accent of the rulers (“No normality without left and right,” Jan. 23, page 8).
A normal democracy should know its left from its right, but why stop there?
A multiparty democracy should offer voters real choices in each policy area. At least there should be a spectrum of social policies (liberal versus conservative) and another dimension for economic (competitive versus redistributive), in addition to the national-identity question. How about adding productionist versus ecologist to the mix?
The recent elections were the first where a full palette of parties worthy of a mature democracy was on offer to the electorate. In addition to the ubiquitous nationalist and communitarian factions, three parties in Taiwan are members of political internationals: Green Party Taiwan in the Global Greens, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in the International Democrat Union, and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Liberal International.
As the KMT continues its atrophy, social democrats in the DPP might finally feel confident enough to peel off and align with “third force” elements, to form a grouping suitable for membership in the Socialist International or the newfangled Progressive Alliance.
For another example, the Faith and Hope League would not find it hard to stand alongside old-school Christian Democrats in the tradition of Dutch-style testimonial parties.
Perhaps after a few more election cycles, “hung parliament” might even enter the glossary of the Taiwanese legislature, and coalitions have to be formed in order to govern.
It is a serious constitutional problem whether only 113 legislative seats — elected mostly by first-past-the-post — do justice to so many voices and ideas natural to a medium-sized democracy of more than 23 million people.
“Testy,” “divisive,” “frigid,” “an exchange of insults” were some of the media descriptions of last month’s meeting in Anchorage, Alaska, between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and their Chinese counterparts. Council on Foreign Relations president Richard Haass said that, rather than the “deft handling” needed in US-China relations, this encounter was “mishandled, a terrible start [with] way too much public signaling.” Yet, contrary to conventional wisdom, the acrimonious encounter with Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) and Chinese Central Foreign Affairs Commission Director Yang Jiechi (楊潔篪) was a great success for US diplomacy
A meeting between US and Chinese officials in Anchorage, Alaska, last month, showed that the US-China struggle will no doubt continue during the administration of US President Joe Biden. The struggle between democracies and authoritarian regimes is likely to last decades, because it stems from the fundamental difference in the two value systems — a difference that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) sees as an existential threat. The CCP fears that Chinese might someday demand the protection of individual liberties, and has therefore waged a years-long “total war” to undermine democracies, which eventually prompted the US to fight back. Within the
Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) offered his resignation to Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) in the aftermath of Friday last week’s fatal Taroko Express No. 408 crash. Su declined, asking him to stay for the time being and deal with the response, as that was the responsible thing to do. The complex question of responsibility for the tragedy will be answered more fully after investigations and reviews have been completed. It is right that Lin offered to take the fall, and just as right that Su asked him to stay to oversee the response. While neither are completely