Ukraine’s lessons for Taiwan


An “authoritarian hangover” is hampering Taiwan’s military in its efforts to adapt to the growing threat from China, Kathrin Hille writes for The Financial Times.

“We have an authoritarian hangover and it has created a problem with civil-military relations, and it may be the most critical problem we have,” said Kitsch Liao, military and cyber affairs consultant for Doublethink Lab, a Taipei-based civil society group. “The reason is that the military used to be the armed wing of the KMT, just like the People’s Liberation Army is the armed wing of the Chinese Communist party.”

CSIS’s Dr. Bonny Lin discusses the aggressive military exercises China conducted against Taiwan and how she’s tracked the crisis, what the United States is doing and should do in response, and identifies China’s overarching strategy in the Taiwan Strait.

The Taiwan Foundation for Democracy works closely with institutions such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and its family organizations, facilitating discussions on shared norms, and helping identify ways in which democracies can deliver, President Tsai Ing-wen told the 26th Forum 2000 Conference. It also encourages a whole-of-society approach that rests on participation from a diverse range of stakeholders.

A new analysis sets out lessons from the failure of sanctions to deter aggression in Ukraine and their success in inflicting economic hardship, and identifies ways to improve the efficacy of sanctions in the event of conflict with China, the Henry Jackson Society writes. The report calls on Western policymakers to be credible and clear in their commitments, invest in preparation for disruption where those commitments are made, and find ways to spread the burden across members of the alliance.

Asia has been transformed by rapid economic growth, industrialization, and urbanization―a spectacular record of development that has turned one of the world’s poorest regions into one of its richest, note analysts Dan Slater and Joseph Wong. Yet Asia’s record of democratization has been much more uneven, they write in From Development to Democracy: The Transformations of Modern Asia.

Slater and Wong challenge conventional wisdom by demonstrating how Asian dictators have pursued democratic reforms as a proactive strategy to revitalize their power from a position of strength – a strategy that led to success in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan but invited political instability for Indonesia, Thailand, and Myanmar.

Existential threat

Democracies have given Ukraine just enough weapons not to lose, adds Misha Zelinsky. If free societies are serious about victory, it’s time to arm Ukraine to the teeth with planes, tanks and artillery, he insists:

Former NED board member Francis Fukuyama

Renowned geopolitical analyst Francis Fukuyama, author of The End of History, says the invasion is part of a deep ideological struggle.

“Putin is at the centre of a broad coalition of anti-democratic forces. Success will validate the view that democracy is in terminal decline, and that authoritarian government is decisive and effective,” he told me. “This narrative needs to be undermined by a successful defence of Ukraine backed by a united group of democracies.”

“We must have a Russian de-imperialization,” says Hanna Hopko, co-founder of the International Centre for Ukrainian Victory. “Today, they are raping women and children. I think how this could be my daughter. Like Nazi Germany, Russia must have a total defeat with a total reckoning.”

Lessons for Taiwan: Understanding why Sanctions Failed to Deter Conflict in Ukraine

Thursday, 8th September 2022. 6pm-7pm BST

Richard Tice,
Leader of Reform UK and a Presenter with Talk TV

Sam Ashworth-Hayes, Associate Research Fellow, The Henry Jackson Society

Misha Zelinsky, Fulbright Scholar, War Correspondent, Australian Financial Review

Dr Chun-Yi Lee, Associate Professor, School of Politics and International Relations, Director, Taiwan Studies Program, University of Nottingham

MODERATOR: Dr Stepan Stepanenko, Research Fellow, The Henry Jackson Society. RSVP

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