Election politics and considerations dominated the year 2011 for Taiwan in almost every conceivable way. The January 14, 2012 Presidential/Legislative Yuan (parliamentary) elections were watched not without some anxiety by interested entities well beyond Taipei. Indeed, some of the actions taken by Washington and Beijing during the past year, and in the lead-up to the elections, may even suggest the emergence of a preliminary consensus – if not yet a new paradigm – for managing the complex and often sensitive U.S.-Taiwan-China strategic relationship.
As these critical elections were successfully concluded within two weeks of the end of 2011, this report will try to analyze their results in the context of the traditional defense and security focus of this annual review. The report will also provide an overview of the significant political, cross-Strait, and defense developments during 2011, which should perhaps offer some helpful indications as we look for factors that could influence key defense and national security policy developments during the next four years.