How Taiwan’s High-Speed Trains Expose California’s Lack of Nerve

While the Golden State Made Excuses, the Poorer, Smaller Island Country Transformed Its National Transit System

When it comes to fast trains, a California consensus has hardened: High-speed rail is beyond our capabilities.

We may be the world’s high-tech capital, but we say that high-speed rail is just too technically challenging for us. We may have one of the planet’s richest economies, but nevertheless maintain that high-speed rail is too expensive. We are a giant, sprawling state of 40 million people, but believe we’re too small to construct even one high-speed rail line.

If we’re right about our own powerlessness to deliver high-speed rail, then how do …

Why Democracies Need the Right to Vote “No”

To Boost Participation and Promote Compromise, Taiwan and Berkeley May Let Citizens Cast Ballots Against Candidates

If we want our civic life to be more positive, we might need to vote in the negative.

That’s the compelling case that Sam Chang, a retired banker who lives in …

Why Taiwan Would Be Better Off Neutral

A Citizen of Switzerland and Sweden Argues That a Stance of Non-Aggression Can Protect Small, Vulnerable Democracies

How can Taiwan best defend its democracy from the explicit threats of mainland China—and the security machinations of great powers in the Pacific?

Neutrality might be the answer.

I was born and …

Can Taiwan Teach California How to Thrive Under an Authoritarian Power?

The Island Nation Knows How to Navigate Beijing's Threats. The Golden State Could Do the Same With Washington.

Is California becoming another Taiwan?

In asking that, I don’t mean that earthquakes will turn California into an island. Instead, what California and Taiwan share is a problem—the predicament of the …

Can Anyone Really Rule the South China Sea?

East Asian Powers Jockey for Islands and Atolls in an Ocean that Defies Man-Made Boundaries

Wherever you go in the Philippines, the sea is never too far away.

I spent summers as a child laying on sunny beaches and playing in the waves. Sometimes we …

Pizza and Politics in Taipei

The Taiwanese Need to Decide if Their Government Can Function as Beautifully as Their Civil Society

“A table for three,” says my host at a basement entrance.

We’re at an Italian restaurant in central Taipei, Taiwan’s capital. Within a few seconds, we are seated by a …