Guest episode this week with Andy talking to Brian Hioe and Wen Liu, writers and academics based in Taipei, with the online magazine New Bloom. We talk about the scary headlines warning of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, why the global left seems to dismiss Taiwan in favor of romanticizing the PRC, and what is the relationship between Asian and Asian American politics (if there is any)?
0:00 - Banter
7:00 - Recent headlines over the US’s commitment to defend China + Chinese fighter planes in Taiwanese air space + what is life like for regular Taiwanese people as a chip between two global superpowers + why New Bloom is skeptical about the probability of Chinese invasion.
22:00 - Why the western left reflexively dismisses Taiwanese concerns. We explore a few: PRC romanticism, anti-Republican Party liberalism, anti-US imperialism (esp. among Asian Americans), all kinds of weird racial assumptions, horseshoe anti-war politics, etc. And what Brian and Wen say in response to these.
58:30 - Some takeaways: what distinguishes a “leftist” position on Taiwan? what is the ideal relation between Taiwan and China? what can people in the rest of the world “do”? what is the role of Asian American and Asian diasporic politics for Asia, and vice versa?
Stuff mentioned/reference materials:
John Oliver’s recent 20-minute history + summary of Taiwanese politics
The Intercept’s recent weird piece on Taiwan
Brian interviews Wen about activism and the 2014 Sunflower Movement
Last June, we first talked with Brian about the “tankie” phenomenon