Maia and Aaron are back with us this week! Last week, we took a little detour to discuss the inauguration of President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan. It’s worth a read if you’d like to learn more about Taiwan’s COVID-19 response efforts and the challenges that the country will face over the next four years. We’re back to our normal discussion about all things Asia, Eurasia, Nat. Sec, and Middle East. As Aaron mentions, there is a lot a convergence on a number of issues we’ve been discussing over the last couple of months.
On May 20, 2020, President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan began her second term in office. In a more subdued ceremony than is the norm, Tsai took the office of oath, along with new Vice President Lai Ching-te. Her second inaugural address focused on the COVID-19 pandemic and Taiwan’s response; it also set forth Tsai’s priorities for the next four years. In her speech, Tsai said, “No matter the difficulties we face, we can always count on our democracy, our solidarity, and our sense of responsibility towards each other to help us overcome challenges, weather difficult times, and stand steadfast in the world.”
Mid-May is upon us. I would like to thank our readers who have loyally read our weekly discussions throughout the pandemic. I hope you all are healthy and safe, and continue to stay the course in staying at home. This week, Aaron joins me for a riveting discussion on important developments related to China, Taiwan, Turkey, the F-35 jet program, and the ongoing Marine reforms—Maia is off this week sunbathing in Tahiti.
The World Health Assembly (WHA)—the annual plenary session of the 194 members of the World Health Organization (WHO)—convenes on May 18, 2020. The perennial question of Taiwan’s participation and access has again become especially prominent and contentious, largely because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact of the novel coronavirus has enhanced the arguments—and international support—for restoring Taiwan’s access and, with it, providing a boost to Taiwan’s international stature and, in turn, its security. But Beijing’s opposition and other factors create challenges more daunting than those that Taipei faced when it began its earlier eight-year run of WHA attendance. The push for Taiwan’s regaining engagement and participation is a case of what should be an irresistible force meeting what may be an immovable object.
Congratulations to our readers: you made it to May! Celebrate the small victories, and do something special for yourself today (aside from reading today’s titillating conversation, of course). Some states are beginning a slow re-opening, but please continue to stay safe, especially if you’re going to be partaking in activities in which others will be near you. Maia Otarashvili and Aaron Stein are back after taking off last week, when I had a great discussion with our Black Sea Fellow Bob Hamilton. You can read that here. We’re back to discussing all things Asia, Eurasia, and the Middle East. There have been plenty of developments around the world that I know Maia and Aaron are anxious to discuss!
The end of April is in sight. Most of us have been working from home and living under quarantine and social distancing policies for six weeks now, but somehow, April’s almost over. Some misguided individuals are now protesting to end the social distancing policies, which could increase the number of cases and add an unnecessary stress on healthcare workers. So, simply put: don’t be stupid and stay home. Important non-COVID developments are still happening around the world; some countries are making controversial decisions while the world is focused on the pandemic, so we continue to keep you up to date on important developments from around the world.
The Streisand Effect, referring to “the act of trying to suppress information but simply making it more widespread as a result,” was coined in 2005. The term is named after singer Barbara Streisand because in 2003, Streisand sued photographer Kenneth Adelman for taking a photo of her home in Malibu while he was documenting California’s coast. Apparently, before the lawsuit was filed, the photograph had been only downloaded six times. Instead of leaving well enough alone, Streisand launched a cultural zeitgeist with her lawsuit. The explosion of social media since the early 2000s has made the Streisand Effect seem like a daily occurrence: Beyoncé, Pippa Middleton, and Tom Cruise have all fallen victim of trying to suppress something only for it to go viral.
We’re now in week four of social distancing and quarantine. Today, we’re welcoming our second guest to the Beyond COVID-19 discussion. Jacques deLisle is joining me to discuss important issues related to China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and East Asia. While China has been in the news due to it being where COVID-19 originated, not much else related to China has been covered widely in the news. This discussion will cover some important topics, such as Chinese political warfare, penetration into the American education system, the trade war, and Hong Kong, among other things.
We’re entering the month of April and week three of social distancing and quarantine. The country has at least another month of abiding by the national guidelines to flatten the curve. Since April Fool’s Day was yesterday and people may be getting anxious about spending another month inside, we’re going to mix things up a little. You’re going to get a break from our regular discussion of key foreign policy developments. Instead, we’re going to discuss how we’re spending our free time inside. We all need to find ways to kill the hours of quarantining, so maybe something in our conversation will help you.
Welcome to week three of social distancing and quarantine. Due to the increased number of cases in the United States, President Donald Trump has renewed all restrictions on social gatherings until the end of April. As everyone remains in their homes to flatten the curve and stay healthy, the Foreign Policy Research Institute will continue its discussions of important issues that would normally receive attention but aren’t due to the pandemic. This is our fourth “installment” of Beyond COVID-19. We hope that this discussion will inspire you to follow-up on these important developments from around the world.