Sunday, July 14, 2019

Davids and Goliath

Hong Kong and Taiwan find they have much in common as Hong Kong clings to dwindling freedom with an expiration date and as Taiwan has built a free country under constant threat of having China crush that freedom.

Perhaps this is significant:

China’s influence over both Hong Kong and Taiwan has steadily spread from their economies into their political systems, and Beijing has promoted the “one country, two systems” model it uses to administer Hong Kong as its favored system, were Taiwan to submit to peaceful unification. But as Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing government ignores the demands of peaceful protesters, and China’s continuing encroachment on “one country, two systems” there discredits the notion that it would offer any degree of autonomy for Taiwan, demonstrators in Hong Kong are looking more and more to Taiwan, and a sense of solidarity is growing between the two. That is likely to be a major source of concern for Beijing (and, indeed, Chinese state media have warned the two sides against cooperating).

China is massive and dictatorial while Taiwan and Hong Kong are free and claimed by China.

It may be that the only way for Taiwan and Hong Kong to retain their freedom is to end the dictatorship in Peking and hope that the Chinese people won't then want to destroy democracy.

As I wrote eight years ago:

So if Taiwan can't in the long run build a sufficient military with their much smaller economy and Taiwan also wishes to maintain their de facto independence, another method of protecting themselves must be found.

Nuclear weapons are one answer, of course. Taiwan could build them. But that is risky if China decides that a preemptive nuclear strike is the only way to disarm Taiwan of those weapons.

Another way is to affect China's desire for Taiwan. If China stops wanting to take Taiwan, then the balance doesn't matter nearly as much. As unlikely as this may seem, when you rule out any other option of defending your island democracy, what is left is the only option. Yes, provoking regime change in Peking could be the only way out of the losing race Taiwan is in.

And at least now with Hong Kong pro-democracy activist ties, perhaps Taiwan has an ally already within China to achieve this.