Leaders in Taiwan Republic, Japan, and the US must study how the Chinese Communist Party defeated China Kuomintang in 1949. With a formidable military, funded with American aid, and equipped with topline American weapons, Chiang Kai-shek’s military evaporated. 2022 Taiwan Republic is not 1949 Nanking RoC. The world has changed significantly. Though, old habits die hard. Has the Taiwanese Ministry of National Defense democratized and modernized its mentality? Has it realized that rather than a lumbering bureaucracy for an old continental power, it is now a ministry for a mid-sized democracy that requires agility creativity and rapid problem-solving skills? Have the democratic allies of Taiwan, Japan, and the US studied how the Chinese communists infiltrated, sabotaged, and defeated Chiang’s government military from within – spies and infiltrators, useful idiots, and fifth column united front idealists alike? In an environment where malevolent authoritarians like the Chinese communists are using full-domain information warfare against liberal democracies, how should democracies such as Taiwan balance freedom of the press, free flow of capital, migration, and business in a way that protects national security? The most important lesson from the defeat of the Chiang regime in 1949, buttressed by examples from South Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Ukraine, is this. Hardware and weapons will only get one so far. In the struggle between democracy and dictatorship, the most important battlefield is ideological-political-information. Or as the Ukrainians have shown, one cannot defeat authoritarians without heart. How to actively defend democracy without resorting to authoritarian means is the most important lesson for leaders in Taipei, Tokyo, DC, and other frontline democracies. 3.9.2022
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