As tensions in Asia, particularly in and around the South and East China Seas, have steadily risen in the past eight years, Taiwan has emerged as an island of unexpected tranquility. The thaw in cross-Strait relations brought about by the era of the Nationalist (KMT) presidency of Taiwan’s Ma Ying-jeou, however, could soon be coming to an end. The likely election of opposition leader Dr. Tsai Ing-wen as president of Taiwan on January 16th may signal that rockier relations with Beijing lie just over the horizon.
While the dire warnings of "scorched earth diplomacy" with Beijing in the event of an opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) victory seem exaggerated, Beijing's fixation on a reaffirmation of the "1992Read more
The student leaders of Taiwan’s Sunflower movement, having occupied the legislative chambers in the capital of Taipei for the past three weeks, recently announced plans for demonstrators to vacate the floor of the Legislative Yuan on April 10. The students have been expressing their strong reservations about the proposed Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) between Taiwan and mainland China, which they fear would bring Taiwan too firmly into Beijing’s economic orbit.Read more
Beijing and Washington got the result they actively sought in Taiwan’s election: a second four-year term for President Ma Ying-jeou and the defeat of Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party. China and the United States—as well as Taiwan—must now live with the consequences of that outside intervention in Taiwan’s democratic politics.Read more
The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper is reporting that the Japanese government is close to settling on the F-35 Lightning as the much-needed replacement for its F-15 fighter. That’s exceptionally good news for a program that’s both key to preserving American military preeminence and at a lot of risk due to prospective deep defense budget cuts. Indeed, Japan’s decision may actually complicate the Pentagon’s challenges in meeting the targets laid out by the Budget Control Act, Obama administration poRead more
For those hoping to get a confirmable job in some future Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney administration, today’s Senate Armed Services Committee hearing is a good reminder of why it’s best to get that job earlier rather than later.Read more
Some China-Taiwan specialists and other foreign policy experts have been caught up lately in a declinist narrative that has China overtaking the United States not only economically but also in terms of military supremacy in the Asia-Pacific. They see that power shift as putting democratic Taiwan at a terminal military disadvantage vis-à-vis China.Read more
Taipei, Republic of China —Aircraft carriers are the cause of apprehension here in Taiwan. The concern is that, in the event of any future hostile action taken by China against Taiwan, U.S. carriers would be taken out by China’s increasingly capable arsenal of anti-ship missiles—and that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy’s air wing (PLAN AF) would bring attack aircraft and other strike assets closer to Taiwan.Read more
The Obama administration has established a new (even lower) standard for kowtowing to Beijing. In the first instance, the White House has decided against selling Taiwan 66 new F-16s the government in Taipei has been asking for over the last few years.Read more
Rick Perry only entered the presidential race a week and a half ago. As governor, Perry’s foreign policy experience has been limited. And his views on these issues have hardly been relevant, even if they’ve been known, since few care what the chief executive of Texas thinks about America’s relationship with the rest of Asia. But now that’s changed.Read more
A delegation of the People's Liberation Army, the largest group of Chinese military officers ever to visit the United States, recently toured the Pentagon and other U.S. defense facilities. Part of their mission was to further erode and finally end the congressional ban on weapons and technology sales to China imposed after the Tiananmen Square massacre of peaceful demonstrators on June 4, 1989.Read more
One of the oddities of “the realist” school of international relations in America is how profoundly unrealistic its proponents’ policy prescriptions typically are. The latest example of this phenomenon is found in the new issue of Foreign Affairs in an article written by Charles Glaser of George Washington University, entitled, “Will China’s Rise Lead to War? Why Realism Does Not Mean Pessimism.”Read more
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