Liberal Peace in East Asia? A Study of China-Taiwan Relations
According to the concept of democratic peace, the more democracies emerge, the less conflict will occur. However, a mature democracy is not built and can not be consolidated in one day. In fact, an immature democratic state may increase the risk of conflict with other states. To be specific, the probability of conflict between states may increase or could actually occur when a state is in the process of consolidating its democracy. In a word, for a young democratic state such as Taiwan, the peace may not come along with democracy. As a result, democracy may not necessarily produce the pacifying effect on China-Taiwan relations. The conventional wisdom claims that trade generally reduces conflict. In fact, the pacifying trade effect on conflict is conditional. In a nutshell, the claim that trade generally reduces conflict is unclear; that is, it implies that the pacifying trade effect on conflict may not suitable to China-Taiwan relations. Finally, domestic factors in Taiwan, such as national identity and party ID, play crucial roles to influence people’s attitudes toward China and to affect people’s voting behavior. Therefore, leaders need to take domestic factors into their considerations while making China policies. All in all, does democracy produce the pacifying effect on conflict? Does more trade lead to less conflict? Could domestic factors affect the cross-Strait (China-Taiwan) relations? Build upon studying those million-dollar questions, a wider picture of understanding about whether or not the concept of liberal peace is suitable to East Asia could become more clear and vivid. Hence, this dissertation aims to shed some lights on those research agendas. To conclude, my contribution is to test the conventional liberal peace wisdom to see if it is a useful policy to deal with a rising China. Hopefully, this dissertation can shed some lights on forthcoming scholars who are interested in an ascending China.