Playing The Taiwan Card, Will It Come Up Trumps?

By David Schlesinger

China’s air force is again flying encirclement runs around Taiwan, giving stark evidence that the issues of the island and its sovereignty, autonomy or independence could easily become a serious world flash point – particularly as the U.S. administration of Donald Trump seems to want to play a “Taiwan card” to tweak China’s dragon tail.

Here are some questions to consider:

  • What is a nation? In your mind, at what point do geography, history, ethnicity, size and power come together to say a place is a separate nation?
  • Taiwan has 23 million people; China has 1.4 billion. Taiwan is the world’s 22nd biggest economy; China is the 2nd. Does size matter in making diplomatic decisions? Should it?
  • What should the U.S. role in Asia be? What if China started playing more of a role in, say, the Pacific coast off Latin America? Do you see that as the same or different?

Below is the recording of an interview that I gave to Monocle radio on this topic.


David Schlesinger is the Founder and Managing Director of Tripod Advisors, a consultancy that advises on political risk analysis and strategy, and on running complex, dispersed global organizations with an emphasis on China and the media sector. He previously was Reuters’s global editor-in-chief before becoming chairman of Thomson Reuters China, responsible for government relations and businesses in financial markets, legal and regulatory databases, scientific information and journalism.
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Playing The Taiwan Card, Will It Come Up Trumps?