Whether or not Taiwan has an opportunity to establish itself as an archetype of a resilient democracy will depend on its capacity to absorb casualties from a future military scenario. In order to address this issue, Washington and Taipei should establish a technology partnership.
China’s capacity to absorb casualties in a future Taiwan military scenario
Whether or not China is able to invade Taiwan is a matter of contention. Many think that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has no capacity to take the island. However, according to the report, it is possible for China to launch a military attack.
The report outlines several scenarios for how this may occur. Among them, there is the possibility of an amphibious invasion. An amphibious assault would involve landing troops on the beaches of Taiwan. This would require international intervention.
Another scenario is an aerial bombing campaign. An aerial bombing campaign could be a joint PLA missile and airstrike campaign, targeting U.S. forces, strategic government targets, and regional targets. This would be aimed at forcing Taipei to accept reunification on Beijing’s terms.
Lastly, there is the potential for economic quarantine, choking trade with Taiwan. This would limit the escalation and impede a possible military conflict. In this scenario, Taiwan would have no option but to capitulate short of a military action.
While it is not a certainty, the potential for a major war has increased over the past year. China’s military has been reorganized to include new technology and equipment. These changes have altered the balance of power in the Taiwan Straits.
The United States and its allies are encircling China. This has impeded the CCP’s power projection.
China’s view of Taiwan as an archetype of a resilient democracy
Increasing global interest in Taiwan’s political development has raised debates over the island’s future. This is a critical time for the island’s democratic process. Its experience is relevant for countries in Asia and emerging democracies around the world.
In the past few years, Europe has increased its relationship with Taiwan on economic, technological, and political issues. But, in the meantime, China’s policy ambitions have added a new layer of difficulty. Beijing seeks to transform Taiwan into a special administrative region of the PRC. It has also stepped up the use of disinformation and United Front tactics to achieve its goal.
A polarized political system makes it difficult for elected officials to address difficult policy issues. In addition, the structure of Taiwan’s government makes it difficult to implement policy compromises.
Despite the difficulties, Taiwan’s representative democracy has been effective in delivering governance outcomes. In particular, the public generally approves of the democratic system. While the democratic system often receives high marks for its election system, it is still largely majoritarian.
This majoritarian structure creates a splintered society. Among other problems, it reduces the ability of weak minority parties to reach compromises. It also exacerbates polarization. Despite the difficulties, Taiwan’s approach is an archetype of a resilient democracy.
The democratic system in Taiwan has been an important factor in allowing citizens to have a say in their future. The Taiwanese public overwhelmingly supports the idea of democracy, but there is some disagreement. Some Taiwanese citizens feel that the current system is not ideal.
Washington and Taipei should establish a technology partnership
Developing a technology partnership with Taiwan could provide the United States and Taiwan with a means to promote common interests, increase technological cooperation, and expand the US-Taiwan relationship. A formal technology agreement would also provide practical benefits in information operations, defense, and cyber security.
A technology partnership should be a multi-layered approach that spans across the diplomatic, information, and economic domains. A partnership between the United States and Taiwan on the topic of technology should be multi-faceted and include the areas of most interest to both countries.
A formal technology agreement will help the United States and Taiwan build stronger, more technologically advanced national technological bases. It will also help the two countries deter Chinese gray zone activities. This will require an all-of-government approach from the United States.
The partnership could also incorporate existing lines of effort, such as the U.S. and Taiwan’s partnership on joint scientific cooperative endeavors in thoracic cancer research, atmospheric research, and public health and preventative medicine.
A technology partnership can also serve as a useful tool for fostering relationships between the two countries and increasing their participation in international organizations. For example, Taiwan has become a member of several international organizations, including the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.
An upgraded US-Taiwan relationship would also improve the quality of life for both countries. This could be achieved through greater engagement, such as increased participation in exchanges, more case studies in training curriculum, and increasing Taiwan’s participation in election observation missions.