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Who's on First?

The world's trouble spots are up for re-election

The US isn’t the only country – or place – holding globally decisive elections in 2024. In March, Russia is holding a presidential vote. Mind, that system is rigged too tight for the average voter to matter much, but it is an opportunity for the cabal of elites keeping Vladimir Putin in power to make themselves obvious. What that gang wants is hard to tell.

In Taiwan - a place where the word “election” isn’t in scare quotes – holds presidential elections in January. The current administration under President Tsai Ing-wen isn’t so much for independence as the status quo maintaining Taiwan’s present incoherent place in the world. Due to term limits, she is stepping down in May. Her vice president, Lai Ching-te is running as the Democratic Progressive party’s nominee.

The main opposition group – the pro-Chinese Nationalist party called the Kuomintang – failed to form a coalition around a single Chinese-leaning candidate last week - the deadline to declare a candidacy. Conceivably, a unified opposition could have won the presidency – divided not so much.

This matters because Beijing would rather much rather dissolve Taiwan into the mainland economically that have to go through a questionable invasion. As it stands, the DPP is favored to win the election. In the last year, Taiwan has tried to rewire their economy away from China’s – with exports to the US up 80%. To put this is context, exports to the mainland were only down about 1%. So this is nothing that we’d call decoupling. China’s President Xi has announced that the People’s Liberation Army needs to be ready for invasion by 2027 – but he has a habit of quietly forgetting his big pronouncements.


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