Taiwan holds a place in the American consciousness similar to that of many places in Asia. Many may have heard of it, but very few could point to it on a map – even fewer could describe its political significance. Ted reviews Richard Kagan’s newly published biography of former Taiwanese president Lee Teng-Hui, titled “Taiwan’s Statesman: Lee Teng-hui and Democracy in Asia.”
Taiwan is in the precarious position of not being recognized as an independent sovereign state andÂ yet not really a part of China. No one really understands Taiwan as controlled by Beijing, but the international community continues to deny its status as an independent nation. Kagan’s book, while documenting the personal history of the former president, Lee, is perhaps more important as a biography of the island itself as it has developed over the past few centuries of global influences, rising to economic power and establishing its own democratic institutions.