Taiwan to the rescue

Mar 16, 2023
This flag is also used as the party flag of Kuomintang.

Regular readers of this journal will be dismayed at the breakneck speed at which Australia is party to the goading of a potentially catastrophic war in our region. With Western mainstream media in anti-China mad dog mode, both sides of the aisle in Canberra sleepwalking, and with nothing at all to win and everything to lose, it seems the only ones who can save us from ourselves are the Taiwanese.

As an Australian long-term resident of Taiwan, and a speaker of both Chinese and Taiwanese, I am banking on Taiwanese voters to vote the President Tsai Ying-Wen’s DPP (Democratic Progressive Party) out of power in the presidential election on Jan.13, 2024. In local opinion polls, 80 percent of respondents are not happy with the DPP’s refusal to seek some kind of rapprochement with the Mainland. In other words, only a small fraction in Taiwan supports the DPP’s independence stance. Taiwanese, in the main, want peace, stability and the status quo. Current Vice-President and DPP presidential candidate frontrunner, William Lai (Lai, Ching-te), is known here and in the Mainland for his strong pro-independence stance. As such, the CCP will likely find him deeply unpalatable. Voters are aware of this. While the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) may retain a deliberately fuzzy view of future cross-strait relations, voters are acutely aware that with the KMT in power, the chances of conflict are dramatically reduced. Under a KMT watch, a conflict between irreconcilable warring clans resembles more of a family tiff.

I base my optimism on two observations. Firstly, the Nov. 2022 local elections resulted in a major swing away from the DPP and a landslide victory for KMT candidates. Although it was basically a vote for Mayors and County Councillors, the DPP played it up as an election on anti-China issues. The strategy backfired badly, resulting in resounding defeats in most cities and counties. The second factor is local pundits and media are doing a fair job in exposing American support for Taiwan for what it is, brazenly using Taiwan to aggravate China, as for example, with the Nancy Pelosi visit. Taiwanese are becoming increasingly aware that they are becoming reluctant pawns in a super-power standoff. In recent months, the DPP has introduced policies such as lengthening the period of compulsory military service for all males from 4 months to 1 year. Taiwan is being dragged into a war footing, and many Taiwanese are becoming increasingly worried. I believe these concerns will be reflected at the ballot box.

Should the KMT win the presidential and legislative elections in 2024, we ought to see a welcome toning down of the anti-China rhetoric in the West. With much-reduced tensions across the Taiwan Strait and moves to rapprochement, Western warmongers will lose their primary casus belli in the region. China will turn its focus to more-pressing domestic issues. At that point, and at least until the United States finds another red herring, Australia will be let off the hook.

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