Fatal Attractions of Taiwan by Chang-Tai Hsieh

By eagerly embracing foreign politicians who “stand with Taiwan” even as they undermine democracy elsewhere, the island’s leaders are flirting with disaster. The central goal of Taiwanese foreign policy should be to deter China from taking the island by force, and that calls for restraint, not reckless grandstanding.

CHICAGO — The very week Taiwanese took to the streets to repudiate The Russian invasion of Ukraine, Taiwanese leaders deployed red carpet for the visit of former US President Donald Trump’s Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo. He is the same man who, with Trump, refused military aid of Ukraine to pressure its government to open a bogus investigation into Joe Biden’s son, and later fired the US ambassador to Ukraine when she refused to go along with the extortion attempt.

The jarring juxtaposition of these two events – the Taiwanese people supporting another democracy while their leaders praised the man who undermined the security of that democracy – reflects a reckless willingness to embrace any foreign politician who will stand with Taiwan”. Taiwan’s leaders are so focused on gaining international recognition that they ignore the main threat Taiwan faces: an invasion by China similar to what Russia did in Ukraine.

Taiwan’s development over the past decades has been truly miraculous, even in a region with some of the most prosperous countries in the world. Within a generation, Taiwan has evolved from a poor, mostly agrarian society with an authoritarian regime to a vibrant democracy with some of the world’s largest corporations, such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). More remarkably, this transformation occurred in the absence of formal diplomatic relations or participation in international organizations such as the United Nations.

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