|A Ministry of National Defense recruiting campaign|
When it comes to defense, there is no doubt that Taiwan generally does a poor job advertising itself, especially to a foreign audience.
Part of the reason is the not unreasonable need to maintain a level of secrecy so as not to telegraph its defenses to China. This is further compounded by two additional factors: First, the ongoing efforts of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration to improve relations with Beijing, which discourages overly militaristic signaling, and Taiwan’s inward-looking nature — which it often adopts at the expense of its relations with the rest of the world, including its few allies, who need to be assured of its commitment to self-defense (“Why should US soldiers risk their lives defending Taiwan if Taiwanese are not serious about defending their nation?” the argument goes).
The second factor is especially prevalent in matters of national security, with the Ministry of National Defense only fitfully engaging foreign reporters, while often refusing to comment on matters such as operations, exercises and weapons development.
My op-ed, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.