Friday, January 13, 2012

Taiwan off to the polls

My former stomping ground Taiwan is off to the polls on saturday in what is going to be a squeaker. President Ma of the KMT is in a closely-contested race with Tsai Ing-Wen of the DPP. The GlobalPost has a nice review of the race, but I am not sure I really buy the analysis that this election is coming down to economic issues.  Anywho, I am more blue (KMT) than green (DPP) in that I like Ma's pragmatic policy to China over the more belligerent DPP stand.  I think Taiwan does better by not causing China to lose face, and then they can go about their business.

The reality in Taiwan is that only the fringes want outright unification or outright independence.  The vast majority in the middle want to preserve Taiwan's status quo.  The DPP essentially argues that the more Taiwan shows it independence in public diplomacy, culture and policy, the more the international community will appreciate that they have a separate identity from mainland.  Meanwhile, the KMT takes a more pragmatic approach of conciliation with China on the premise that the situation is a long-term struggle.  To the KMT, if Taiwan doesn't piss off mainland to the point that it is left to its own devices, and has its economy roaring (at a 10percent clip last year), then ultimately it can outlast the Beijing regime.  My kwai is on the KMT strategy, as I think it recognizes the reality that a healthy relationship with China will offer Taiwan more opportunities on the global stage, and will allow them to continue to carve out their own autonomy.

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