Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Taiwan's "Midterms" and Why They Matter

The elections are an opportunity for the PRC to hone its skills and to unleash the full panoply of political warfare tactics against its greatest opponent on the other side of the Taiwan Strait: President Tsai Ing-wen 

On November 24, millions of Taiwanese will go to the polls to vote for mayors and councilors in the “nine-in-one” nationwide local elections held every four years. Seen as a mid-term for President Tsai Ing-wen of the Taiwan-centric Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), this year’s local elections have also gained attention due to the level of Chinese interference involved. 

Continues here.

Monday, November 12, 2018

China Threatens the Democratic World Order—and Canada Can’t be a Weak Link

Despite our allies’ warnings, Ottawa isn’t taking the threat of authoritarian China seriously. That could be disastrous 

For many years, experts warned that China would threaten the system and values that define Western civilization. Analysts in Taiwan, Hong Kong and a handful of democracies on China’s peripheries, as well as a number of intelligence agencies worldwide, saw signs—especially after Chinese President Xi Jinping came to power—that China’s longstanding strategy of “lying low” was coming to an end. Beijing was now keen to challenge the rules of the game. 

Indeed, China was already at it, using various techniques that are now making headlines in the West. Xi himself, in addressing the Party Congress, has put much greater emphasis on, and markedly increased the capabilities of, the United Front to facilitate China’s expansionist, and now nearly global, ambitions. But we were being Cassandras, critics countered. The popular view was that engagement and, indeed, willful ignorance of the Chinese Communist Party’s starkly different worldview would eventually make China become more like us—liberal, rule-abiding, and perhaps democratic. Worse, our cautions were ascribed to a Cold War mentality, or we were being “anti-China”—racist, even. 

My op-ed for Macleans magazine continues here.

That’s What ‘Fake News’ Looks Like and What it Does to Democracy

A fabricated incident during the Kaohsiung mayoral candidates’ debate at the weekend demonstrates how disinformation can be used to undermine substance and benefit populists 

Of all the municipalities involved in the Nov. 24 “nine-in-one” local elections, Kaohsiung has turned into the major battleground, where what is at stake isn’t only whether the Kuomintang (KMT) will grab the southern port city from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) but also the future of electoral democracy itself. 

Continues here.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

‘Deep Greens’ are Playing with Fire in their Attempt to Sabotage the Tsai Administration

For those who favor a free and independent Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen remains their best bet. But they will have to learn to be a little more patient and aware of the extraordinarily difficult environment in which her administration operates 

We now live in the age of disinformation. Our news environment, our social media, are saturated with it. While the truth is out there somewhere, its signal is lost in all the noise, weakened by forces that contend for our attention, for a chance to shape our view of the world — and possibly our political decisions. Although authoritarian states like China and Russia have received the bulk of attention by concerned analysts, non-authoritarian forces that purport to defend democratic ideals have also resorted to this practice to achieve their political aims. Taiwan’s “green” camp has itself been a source, and a victim, of the disinformation campaign that has been unleashed since Tsai Ing-wen assumed the presidency on May 20, 2016. 

Continues here.