When dealing with China, Taiwan cannot afford to cut on defense and neglect intelligence at the same time, yet this is exactly what the administration is doing
Recent news of a plan by the National Security Bureau, the nation’s top civilian intelligence agency, to introduce an award system to address low morale in the intelligence ranks is as a clear a demonstration of the state of affairs under President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) as we could get.
Amid cutbacks in the defense budget — with the Ministry of National Defense announcing last week that it had no choice but to defer payment on key defense items lined up for purchase from the US — and diminished emphasis on military exercises preparing for potential Chinese aggression, it is not surprising that Ma’s critics have pointed to his apparent lack of commitment to ensuring that Taiwan has the means and skills to defend itself.
This headline-making focus on the military aspect of Taiwan’s defense, however, has concealed what in many regards is an equally worrying trend under Ma — the undermining of the security intelligence apparatus that assesses and analyzes information pertaining to threats against national security.
My unsigned editorial, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.