Defending Fortress Taiwan: It’s About Economics

eal Clear World
May 8, 2015
By: Julian Snelder

Geopolitical strategists see Taiwan as an ultimate test of Chinese and American resolve. But how strong is Taiwanese resolve?

Taiwan has been a relative oasis of Asian geopolitical calm in recent years, with cross-strait ties improving gradually. American observers like Kurt Campbell see Taiwan as a rare case of quiet Sino-American diplomacy (see video). In a relationship where, as Campbell says, competition far exceeds cooperation, an uneasy Taiwan consensus has been achieved. Still, circumstances can change quickly and unexpectedly, especially when Taiwanese elections loom.

Michael Cole and Hugh White both see Taiwan’s eventual fate as a contest of American and Chinese resolve, though they differ mightily on the prescription. Less prominent in their debate is the question of Taiwan’s own resolve. How strong is its will? Does Taiwan even have a national consensus about its sovereignty? Might it stumble unwittingly into provoking China and America to quarrel? Other authors have warned that it is Taipei’s own actions which are likely to be the precipitate factor in a conflict.     [FULL  STORY]

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