Taiwan and Remaking the Case for a League of Democracies

Pro-China supporters hold Chinese national flags in front of landmark building Taipei 101, outside the dinner venue of Sha Hailin, a member of Shanghai’s Communist Party standing committee, in Taipei, Taiwan August 22, 2016. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

It is critical that democracies work closer together to promote and preserve other democracies in the face of growing influence operations by authoritarian governments.

Such operations involve not just political meddling and propaganda but infiltration of political parties, NGOs, and businesses. Recent events in New Zealand and Australia, and other Western countries, are cases on point.

Taiwan’s long experience in dealing with Chinese political warfare and influence operations could help other countries that now face similar threats by information sharing and raising situational awareness.

While concerns over the Trump administration’s lack of emphasis on values in foreign policy has been a drag on the credibility of his administration’s foreign policy, Secretary Tillerson’s forceful remarks at the Community of Democracies is a step in the right direction. Despite the challenges that bedeviled the start of his administration, President Trump has a historic opportunity when he makes his way to Asia in November to get his foreign policy back on the right track. Against the backdrop of the growing threat of influence operations by authoritarian governments, the United States and her democratic allies should revitalize the League of Democracies and Taiwan must be an integral part of it.

Russell Hsiao is the executive director of the Global Taiwan Institute and chief editor of the Global Taiwan Brief. This article is adapted from remarks delivered at the East Asia Democracy Forum held in New York on September 18, 2017.

Image: Pro-China supporters hold Chinese national flags in front of landmark building Taipei 101, outside the dinner venue of Sha Hailin, a member of Shanghai’s Communist Party standing committee, in Taipei, Taiwan August 22, 2016. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu​

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