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Difficult Choices

Taiwan's Quest for Security and the Good Life

By Richard C. Bush
Cvr: Difficult Choice

How Taiwan can overcome internal stresses and the threat from China

Taiwan was a poster child for the “third wave” of global democratization in the 1980s. It was the first Chinese society to make the transition to democracy, and it did so gradually and peacefully. But Taiwan today faces a host of internal issues, starting with the aging of society and the resulting intergenerational conflicts over spending priorities. China’s long-term threat to incorporate the island on terms similar to those used for Hong Kong exacerbates the island’s home-grown problems. Taiwan remains heavily dependent on the United States for its security, but it must use its own resources to cope with Beijing’s constant intimidation and pressure. How Taiwan responds to the internal and external challenges it faces—and what the United States and other outside powers do to help—will determine whether it is able to stand its ground against China’s ambitions.

The book explores the broad range of issues and policy choices Taiwan confronts and offers suggestions both for what Taiwan can do to help itself and what the United States should do to improve Taiwan’s chances of success.

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