Letters: Trump Is a ‘Source of Hope’ for Taiwan

A Taiwanese American reader reflects on American-Taiwanese relations in the age of Trump.

The Atalantic
Date: Jul 22, 2019

Images of U.S. President Donald Trump are seen on TV screens at a second hand shop in Taipei,Taiwan January 21, 2017. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu – RC1DB4686E10

Taiwan’s Status Is a Geopolitical Absurdity

As tensions between Washington and Beijing worsen, Chris Horton wrote earlier this month, it is important to understand Taiwan’s strategic importance to both governments. While the United States does not recognize Taiwan as an independent country, the island’s location, economy, and security are seen as essential to American interests; in recent years, Taiwan has been one of the rare issues on Capitol Hill with bipartisan agreement. And Donald Trump is heading a markedly pro-Taiwan White House.

In the coming months, Horton concluded, as Taiwan prepares for presidential and legislative elections, Americans should expect Congress and Trump-administration officials to cultivate a relationship with Taiwan that is more like one between official diplomatic allies.

The Trump administration and Trump himself pose a serious dilemma to my political beliefs as a Taiwanese American citizen. I cannot support a misogynistic, racist, and immoral president whose domestic policies I believe are harming my country; however, I have to acknowledge that he is the most pro-Taiwan president the United States has seen in decades (or maybe ever).

I grew up in a fiercely pro-independence Taiwanese family and, having spent most of my life abroad (in Europe and then in the U.S.), I have always been acutely conscious of how invisible Taiwan is politically. Awareness about Taiwan as a travel destination may have increased in recent years (spotting a subway train covered in “Visit Taiwan” ads in New York City made me very happy), but there is still very little coverage in Western media about the continued exclusion of Taiwan from the international geopolitical scene. The reality is, I live every day with the fear that my home country as I know it might disappear one day, swallowed by a military superpower very few countries would be willing to oppose.    [FULL  STORY]

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