I’m British, not American, and I’m fairly left-wing/liberal, so I observed both the Trump presidency and the Boris Johnson prime ministership in various shades of aghast.
My wife shares, or at least did share, the same politics as myself - a DPP supporter and strongly anti-China. She also shared or at least did share my own very low opinion of Trump.
However, when Trump started offering his support to Taiwan for reasons I considered somewhat less than sincere, I was frankly astonished that so many Taiwanese decided they liked Trump - including my wife. And not just solely in the sense of him being anti-China: like a switch being thrown, Biden was suddenly the devil, faking the election results and Trump a hero despite a tsunami of evidence to the contrary.
I can understand Taiwanese wanting Taiwan to be back on the international stage where I agree it belongs. I can even understand why they might think Trump favouring Taiwan is a good thing, but what on Earth is going on in people’s minds, even formerly left-wing and liberal types like my Taiwanese wife, that this somehow excuses everything else bad that Trump has done?
Who anywhere really gives one about Taiwan. Trump talked tough on China and favored Taiwan, which people liked. Not hard to understand. Whether it was really to Taiwan’s benefit is a deeper question, but the overriding truth here is always that the ultimate answers look ugly.
I think this is where you might be making an incorrect assumption about people.
“I don’t like Trump but…” was a common start to many voiced political opinions over the past 4 years.
The truth is that Trump (courtesy of his advisors in many cases) had a few not bad policy positions, at least directionally. His motivations almost certainly weren’t pure, but that didn’t matter so much to people who felt that he was at least paying attention to issues that other politicians were totally ignoring.
I think this pretty much explains the Taiwanese “support” for Trump. He was basically the first US president to stand up to China in a way that lots of people could understand. Not saying that will prove to have been effective, but perceptions matter when it comes to political opinion.
I think it’s pretty easy to understand. The Trump administration had been far more outspoken about Taiwan than the ones before him, and Taiwanese people simply do not care about US domestic politics. Why would we anyway? It doesn’t affect Taiwanese people at all. It’s not like covid dead bodies in the US were shipped to Taiwan.
And it’s not exclusive to Trump. The last time US image hit such a low point was during the Iraq War where Europeans and Canadians strongly denounced the US military actions for as long as it lasted, after that there was the PRISM scandal which angered Germany. Neither dented US image in Taiwan even a little bit because they didn’t involve Taiwan at all. The same phenomenon can be observed in other American key allies in East Asia such as Japan and South Korea, and other countries that hate China such as Vietnam and India. Foreign policy-wise Trump was antagonistic to the region’s public enemy (China) and America’s allies in Europe as well as Canada, but not to us.
That’s the other thing. Trump administration overstepped China’s “redlines” like a billion times with Taiwan and China has done nothing relevant to retaliate. The most they did was the meaningless sanctions they announced today, which I doubt Pompeo et al. would lose any sleep over. Many (like that Australian China shill Kevin Rudd) have argued that US support is actually detrimental to Taiwan, but it is painfully obvious that we have not experienced any of that damage.
Isn’t it just a matter of exposure? TW aren’t exposed to US domestic issues first hand. Plus that’s their overall way of being anyways from my experience, they tend not to concern themselves with things outside their own immediate situations. It probably explains why they’re so friendly.
Gosh how should I say this without offending you. Unlike the Trump haters of the West, Taiwanese are East Asian and do not suffer from White Guilt and Wokeism.
The Trump platform would represent a perfectly normal or popular platform had Trump been a Taiwanese president and running the Taiwanese government. Think about it: Pro-family, Pro-religion, Pro-business, Pro-freedom-of-speech, strong sense of national border and national interest, Taiwan-First, anti-WTO / WHO. Trump himself has a very successful family life and business career and that’s good credential.
Yes DPP borrowed the leftist political tactics and is a copycat of the previous Western Left, but the Taiwanese society at large doesn’t really vote DPP for their tactics. Taiwan votes DPP for the general ideal of liberalism (AND libertarianism for some) and Taiwanese Nationalism.
Even the things Trump say, 99% would have been just normal in Taiwan. Only1% that get the Western Left triggered and they get fixated on that 1%. Factor in the language barrier and most Taiwanese simply do not share the Trump Derangement Syndrome.
Trump is liberal by 2010 standard. It is the Marxist Left that hijacked the liberalism.
Yet another reason is many Taiwanese still has intimate knowledge of how the Cultural Revolution came about in China. We see the obvious parallels.
As a liberal Taiwanese for more than 20 years, I want nothing to do with the US Leftist / Race Hustlers / Grievance Industry. I consider it beneath me, TBH.