Saturday, January 13, 2024


The ruling DFP (Democratic Progressive Party) won. William Lai will be the new president. The KMT (Kuomintang), which looks for a modus vivendi with China, failed to rally enough support for its "non aggressive" posture.

Power corrupts but it might also teach. The former president Tsai Ing-wen was a hard-liner. Her pas de deux with Nancy Pelosi, then US House speaker, was an unnecessary gesture that came with high risks and zero benefits for Taiwan.

Observers often tend to underestimate the existential importance that Beijing attaches to the adherence to the Shanghai Communiqué that was painfully arrived at between the USA and China. They likewise seem to be unaware of how far China is willing to go if a reunification of sorts can be achieved.

Unfortunately, Hong Kong sets a bad precedent for Beijing's commitments. The near total erosion of the one country/two systems mantra doesn't go unnoticed in Taipei. The US security guarantees regarding the status quo look less solid at a time when America gets dragged in a "multiple" of hybrid flashpoints that sap energy and oversight. President Xi is not Putin. He plays the long game at zero cost.

President Lai can follow the Gaullist precedent, playing the role of the man who understands and who ends up doing the opposite of what his mandate suggests. Statesmen are more often remembered for their reversal than for their consistency.

Be prepared and never underestimate the Chinese, especially when dealing among themselves. Descartes wouldn't fit in.

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