Taiwan’s Elections: Implications for World

By Dexter Liu

Dexter Liu

Editor’s note: A frequent contributor to this newspaper, Mr. Liu is an expert on relations between Taiwan and Communist China.

On Jan. 13, William Lai of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), won the Taiwan presidency. This win was celebrated by much of the free world, calming markets but still rattling nerves because Lai was the least favored candidate of the Chinese Communist Party. That’s because the DPP is a party born out of the “Taiwan Independence movement.”

The Party now continues control after two terms under President Tsai (also of the DPP).

This could have gone differently but for the fact the opposing parties — the Kuomintang and Taiwan People’s Party — had tried to unite in order to wrestle away control. Their platforms were more aligned and were rumored to have been close to forming a united front until talks broke down giving Lai the win.

Nevertheless, none of the Parties advocate for reunification with China under the sole dictatorial control of China’s totalitarian Communist regime despite having different ideas on how best to maintain peace with Beijing.

America has been an historic ally having had a Mutual Defense Treaty with Taiwan through the Cold War against Communism, although it all changed under President Jimmy Carter. In 1979 Carter recognized Communist China unconditionally accepting their “One China Policy” with no provisions to protect Taiwan. Since then, Beijing bristles at any contact America has with the island state. Communist China claims Taiwan as a rogue province which they have vowed to take back by force, if necessary. Now whenever the U.S. interfaces with Taiwan, they protest strenuously claiming this nation of meddling in their internal affairs.

Clearly the saber rattling by the Chinese Communists is unnerving, and while we as the lone superpower had always maintained peace in that region through our unwavering support for all our democratic allies, America’s own politics had historical hiccups that inadvertently altered the global landscape in ways that were deleterious to peace.

Many affected by the mishaps of our foreign policy were devastated as a result. President Truman refusing aid to free China in her hour of need despite proclaiming the Truman Doctrine of US support against communist threats in Europe may be viewed as one such mishap producing devastating generational consequences. Just imagine with America’s aid if Mao Zadong had been defeated in 1949, what would the world look like today?

In the 1970s, the Chinese population was starving from the colossal mismanagement by the Communists who not only devastated their own economy, their military was in no position to challenge the United States. In 1979 President Carter held all the cards, so one must wonder why he agreed to recognize Communist China with no conditions when it was clear they wanted to annex Taiwan which they tried to do by force in the 1950s but failed?

After America’s recognition of Communist China as an equal on the world stage, Beijing wasted no time to leverage their new-found global clout now as one of the five powerful members on the United Nations Security Council. Just look how far they’ve taken their global influence since then to America’s detriment!

American leadership matters in too many ways that determine world peace. The disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal signaled weakness of Biden’s leadership. It went downhill from there, enabling the Russian-Ukrainian and Hamas-Israeli Wars. Now all eyes are on China following Taiwan’s elections! Many believe the China-Taiwan flashpoint has become even more concerning!

How America handles this situation will have profound implications to world commerce, global balance of power with the new triad of global aggressors: Communist China, Russia and Iran. Is Biden up to the task? Rhetorical question to be sure for we all know America’s leadership desperately needs to change in 2024. A devastating flare up of yet another major war in Asia will have dire and unthinkable implications for our very lives here at home. God willing by some miracle peace shall prevail. We can only hope.