Taiwan would be “very foolish” to view US President Donald Trump as being more favorable than the previous US administration, US academic Francis Fukuyama said yesterday at a public lecture in Taipei.
“From Taiwan’s standpoint, you’d be very foolish to put any trust in him,” he said, calling earlier Trump suggestions of a possible move away from the US’ “one China” policy “a pure tactical calculation.”
“Essentially he was thinking to himself, maybe I can hold ‘one China’ policy hostage in order to get better terms from China in some future negotiation, which means he’s ready to discard Taiwan at the first instance if China offers him a better deal,” he said, adding that support for Taiwan in the US Congress and the Republican Party should prevent a deal with China at Taiwan’s expense.
In the speech sponsored by the Fair Winds Foundation, which was founded by former premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺), Fukuyama talked on the challenges faced by the liberal international order as US power declines and numerous liberal democracies have seen the rise of right-wing populist movements.
Fukuyama dismissed comparisons between the Sunflower movement and right-wing populism.
“The Sunflower movement was a national-identity movement in many respects, but it was not an intolerant kind of aggressive nationalism of the sort that you see in Europe,” he said, linking it instead to traditional left-wing movements throughout Asia.
“The left-wing movements retain an important component of liberalism, because they actually want to maintain open societies.They’re not going to attack the media and they’re not going to create authoritarian political structures,” he said.
The Sunflower movement also lacked the anti-elitism and cult of personality that characterized right-wing populist movements in other countries, he said.
The Sunflower movement refers to student-led protests that began on March 18, 2014, in which students occupied the legislative chamber for almost 23 days to protest the then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government’s handling of a proposed cross-strait service trade agreement.
While the economic conditions for a backlash against globalization exist in Asia, populism in the regime has been mainly mobilized by left-wing movement parties, Fukuyama said, citing the relative lack of immigration relative to other developed regions as an important reason for the differing response.