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Difficult choices: Taiwan’s quest for security and the good life

Past Event

Taiwan is rightly praised for its democracy. Elections are free, fair, and competitive; civil and political rights are protected; and on some issues, such as responding to COVID-19, the Taiwan government’s performance has been excellent. However, on other issues, its performance is not as exemplary. Sustaining economic growth, caring for an aging population, and reducing inequality are continuous challenges. Most consequential, however, is China’s ambition to end Taiwan’s separate existence on its terms. While these are not easy problems to solve, Taiwan’s political system has, at times, made implementing solutions more difficult.

In his new book — “Difficult Choices: Taiwan’s Quest for Security and the Good Life” — Nonresident Senior Fellow Richard Bush weaves together a detailed and nuanced analysis of the difficult policy choices that Taiwan faces, both internally and externally. He also explores how its democratic political system might improve its performance for the public that it serves.

On April 14, the Center for East Asia Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution hosted Bush for a discussion of his new book, moderated by Senior Fellow Ryan Hass.

Viewers submitted questions via e-mail to or via Twitter at #Taiwan.


Opening remarks


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