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A nation must think before it acts.
The most important development in cross-Strait relations since the late 1980s has been Taiwan’s democratization. A large literature has developed on how this process transformed the island from an authoritarian regime to a thriving democracy, but few scholars have studied the specific effects of democratization on regional security. The Taiwan Strait is one of the world’s major flashpoints, ‘‘the most dangerous spot on the planet,’’1 where the world’s reigning superpower (the United States) and a rising challenger (the People’s Republic of China) could potentially clash. Did the island’s democratization make the Taiwan Strait more dangerous or more peaceful?