Politically Wrong-The Neglected Truth Behind Taiwan?s Political Index Ranking

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Recently, a Globalization Index released by A.T. Kearney/Foreign Policy Magazine ranked 62 countries in the areas of economics, personal contact, technology and political integration. In each of the first three categories, Taiwan ranked consistently well — 29th for economics, 30th for personal contact, and 17th for technology. However, for the category regarding political integration, the Globalization Index ranked Taiwan an unfair 62nd, resulting in an overall ranking of 34th. The truth behind the political integration ranking needs to be unveiled. Situated at the Asia-Pacific crossroads with limited land and natural resources, Taiwan has been recognized for its successful economic development, democratization and globalization. It has also received well-known appellations throughout the world, such as being one of the four “Asian Dragons” and the “Taiwan Experience.” Through the hard work of its 23 million proud and diligent people, Taiwan is now an outstanding example of economy and democracy: it has the 16th largest economy and is the 14th largest trading nation in the world. Brown University ranks Taiwan’s e-government as the best in the world and the World Economic Forum ranks Taiwan 3rd in global competitiveness. In terms of democracy, Condoleeza Rice, the U.S. National Security Advisor, praised Taiwan during a lecture at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research in New York last October as one of many countries that “show that freedom manifests itself differently around the globe and that liberties can find an honored place amidst ancient traditions.” These examples attest to the fact that when given the chance, Taiwan has the ability to develop its economic, technological and democratic potential despite the many obstacles it faces. Nevertheless, the international political environment, especially the political pressures from China, continues to suffocate Taiwan. According to the magazine, the political variables of the Globalization Index are determined by a country’s membership in international organizations, participation in U.N. Security Council missions and diplomatic relations with other countries. However, due to China’s ruthless and merciless political blockade, Taiwan remains the only country in the world excluded from the United Nations and its specialized agencies. Therefore, Taiwan cannot develop formal diplomatic ties with other countries, let alone participate in U.N. Security Council missions. Moreover, Taiwan does not have the equal political opportunities afforded the other 61 countries in the Globalization Index, and such unfair criteria explain why Taiwan ranks last in the Globalization Index’s political integration category. The exceptional situation of Taiwan’s exclusion from the U.N. and other international organizations is not only contrary to the universality principle of the U.N., but also creates a critical gap in the global network that is crucial for the fight against terrorism and against AIDS, two issues that are so important today. Despite these political challenges, however, Taiwan still shows its eagerness and willingness to participate in the international community. For example, after years of hard work, Taiwan is now a member of World Trade Organization and is ready to further connect itself to the global trading system. Also, following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Taiwan provided $20 million (U.S.) in financial and humanitarian assistance to the victims and their families. Taiwan has also pledged its support to the United Stated in its fight to combat international terrorism by announcing Taiwan’s cooperation, under Resolution 1373 of the U.N. Security Council, to combat terrorism. What’s more, in the event that military action against terrorism becomes necessary, Taiwan has pledged that it will afford the U.S. and its allies clear passage through Taiwan airspace. Taiwan also has joined the global fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria by donating $1 million to the United Nations Foundation last December. These are only a few examples of Taiwan’s unrelenting efforts to carry out its full duties as a member of this global village. That is also why U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell acknowledges Taiwan as a “success story,” noting that Taiwan has a resilient economy, a vibrant democracy and is a generous contributor to the international community. The Globalization Index figures for Taiwan released by A.T. Kearney/Foreign Policy Magazine provide important statistical information for governments and academicians around the world to recognize Taiwan’s success in the globalization of its economy, personal contact and technology. Moreover, it is also high time for all members of this global village to realize the fact that Taiwan has continued to be treated unfairly in the international political arena, made especially evident by its isolation from the U.N. and other international organizations. In a world of accelerating interdependence, no country should be left out. Taiwan needs the World, and the World needs Taiwan. ”Raymond Wang, Consul General, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, can be reached by phone at 808-595-6374, by Fax at 808-595-6542 or by mail at 2746 Pali Highway, Honolulu, HI 96816.”