Beyond Labels

A 360° Discussion of Foreign, National and Local Policy Issues

Foreign Policy


No meeting this week; Taiwan next

As a reminder, the Blue Hill Public Library is closed tomorrow, February 20, in observance of Presidents Day. So the next Beyond Labels meeting will be on February 27.

At that meeting, we’ll follow up on our discussion about Russia and Ukraine to explore a question that arose in that context:

If the U.S. loses enthusiasm for supporting Ukraine in its war with Russia, what message does that send to China and Taiwan about the analogous situation between them?

  • How are the situations analogous? How not?
  • Should the U.S. be preparing to support Taiwan as an independent “country?” (That seems like a heavily loaded term in this context!)
  • How should China’s posture vis-a-vis Taiwan affect our trading relationship(s)?
  • If each of us were President (or Secretary of State), how would we be navigating these relationships?
  • Does the U.S. posture (so far) in Ukraine make the Taiwan situation more simple, or more complex?

Lots to consider.

Dec. 5: All things China

With a fair amount of recent news relating to China, we plan to engage in a “survey” discussion of China. For example:

  • Chinese protests. Do the recent protests against the Chinese government’s “zero Covid” policies pose a real risk to the government? In some quarters, the basis for the protests seems to have grown from anti-Covid-lockdowns to free speech.
    • Will the protests continue to grow?
    • Will the government’s relaxation of lockdowns in some cities encourage others to try the same protest strategy?
    • Will the response be more carrot (relaxed lockdowns) or stick (references to Tiananmen Square)?
  • Trade with China. With both the U.S. and, maybe, Europe becoming more concerned with China’s tendency to autocracy, treatment of the Uighurs, and aggressive commercial/trade stance, will it matter?
    • Will trade with China decline (or at least level off)?
    • Or will short-term economics continue to drive increasing trade with a blind eye to these other factors?
  • Taiwan. Is Chinese action on Taiwan imminent (within the expected duration of Xi’s presidency)?
    • How aggressively should the U.S. and its allies (both in Asia and Europe) prepare for this possibility (or take action to dissuade China from doing so?
  • Russia. Should we be concerned about closer Sino-Russian relationships aligned against “Western values?”
    • Or has Russia’s seemingly poor performance in Ukraine weakened the strength of any such bond?

I’m sure there will plenty of “grist for the mill” and discussion. As an aside, I’ll be joining quite late on Monday. So don’t wait for me!

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