In an entry on Feb. 26 I speculated on the possibilities behind a decision by an international wire agency to hold, for about three weeks, a story with implications for the Taiwan Strait. Based on the information that I had received at the time, I listed some possibilities based on the assumption that the news would be political in nature.
As it turns out, my assumptions were flawed, likely influenced by the fact that local by-elections would be held in Taiwan the following day. This was a classic case of looking at an object from too narrow a focus, or of looking at everything from a very specific lens, which in some cases will either mislead the observer or constrain his ability to explore other possibilities (I should have known better, as this though-mode is something that I criticized in my book about Canadian security intelligence and is proof that no one is immune from that intellectual trap).
This said, the “big news” were not as “big” as I believed they would be, nor will its implications for Taiwan be as ominous as I led readers to believe. Last night, The Associated Press’ Peter Enav and Debby Wu filed a story about the role of a Taiwanese firm, as well as possible shortcomings by Taiwanese authorities in matters related to nonproliferation, in the transshipment of transducers to Iran, a story that AP broke back in January. This time around, however, the story provides far more specifics, including the names of the firms involved. It’s a good read and an important story.
I still haven’t been able to determine why AP chose to hold the story for that long, however, or to release it a mere 24 hours after the election (this could be a pure coincidence).
A lesson learned, and my apologies to my readers for the alarmism.