International security expert Oriana Skylar Mastro says conflict between China and Taiwan is plausible within the next 10 years, and the U.S. will likely be involved.

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President-elect Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping talk during an expanded bilateral meeting with other U.S. and Chinese officials in the White House on February 14, 2012. Photo: Getty Images

By Alice Wenner

Conflict between China and Taiwan is not a question of “if,” but rather of “when,” Oriana Skylar Mastro told Michael McFaul on the World Class Podcast.

“2028 to 2035 is the window,” said Mastro, an international security expert with a focus on Chinese military and security policy.

China regards Taiwan as a breakaway province and has threatened to annex it by force if necessary. …


U.S. support will be strengthened, but Trump’s provocations will disappear.

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President of Taiwan Tsai Ing-wen waves to supporters during a rally campaign ahead of the Taiwanese presidential election on January 15, 2016 in Taipei, Taiwan. Photo: Getty Images.

By Oriana Skylar Mastro and Emily Young Carr

Note: This article was originally published in Foreign Policy.

Last week, the world was waiting to see whether U.S. President Donald Trump would be reelected. Four days later, the verdict was in. Joe Biden, winning more overall votes than any other candidate in U.S. history, will be the 46th president of the United States.

While the United States was fixated on the final days of campaigning, China didn’t miss a beat in its aggression toward Taiwan. The day before the U.S. presidential election, Chinese aircraft flew into Taiwan’s airspace eight separate times. These military maneuvers are part of a disturbing trend of increased Chinese military activity over the past two months. Since Sept. 9, Beijing has flown near-constant sorties into Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), sometimes conducting as many as 30 in a day. On Sept. …


In a letter to his students, Herb Lin emphasizes the power of activism, education and helping others during uncertain times—such as now.

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A February 1990 photo taken from the Voyager 1 spacecraft shows the Earth from a distance of more than 4 billion miles and about 32 degrees above the ecliptic plane. Photo: NASA

2020 has been an unprecedented year is so many ways — global pandemic, widespread racial protests, a crashing economy, wildfires on the West Coast, hurricanes on the East Coast. And Election Day, which has traditionally brought a measure of political certainty to the nation, has done nothing of the sort as of the date of this writing. …


Even after casting their ballots, American voters still have a role to play in helping to foster a free and fair election.

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People wait in line to vote in Georgia’s Primary Election on June 9, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo: Getty Images

By Michael McFaul and Bronte Kass

Over 79 million Americans have already voted in the 2020 U.S. presidential election — an incredible number that surpasses 160% of the early turnout from four years ago. This turnout is especially impressive given the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, rising numbers of cases, and continued voter suppression. Some even speculate that suppression efforts may have backfired in states like Georgia (currently at over 80% of its total 2016 turnout) and Texas (at 94% of its total 2016 turnout). As the long lines at many polling stations underscore, the obstacles that Americans are overcoming should not be understated — voting remains much harder than it should be in many states. At the same time, American determination in casting their votes is also inspiring. …


Russian President Vladimir Putin and his proxies are at it again, but the Kremlin’s campaign includes some notably different tactics this time around.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin. Photo: Getty Images.

By Michael McFaul and Bronte Kass

As observed in the 2016 U.S. presidential election — and numerous elections around the world since then — the viral spread of misinformation and disinformation can disenfranchise voters, delegitimize results, and erode public confidence in the overall integrity and legitimacy of democratic processes. Sources of misinformation and disinformation can be foreign or domestic. Social media platforms make it easy for foreign actors to interact with domestic disinformation propagators and American voters. Although not only the foreign actor influencing the U.S. …


On the World Class Podcast, Nathaniel Persily weighs in on the risk of voter fraud, questions about mail-in ballots, and his work with the Stanford-MIT Healthy Elections Project.

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Photo: Getty Images

Despite what President Donald Trump says, there is no significant risk of fraud associated with absentee voting for the 2020 U.S. presidential election, Nathaniel Persily told host Michael McFaul on the World Class Podcast. But just because there isn’t a high probability of voter fraud does not mean there aren’t problems with the system, he added.

Listen to the World Class Podcast ^

Several western states have had a majority of voters casting mail-in ballots in previous elections and have systems already in place to ensure that many of their residents will be able to vote by mail smoothly. …


Amidst a rapidly changing environment, it is more important than ever that all Americans are empowered to cast their ballots safely, including in-person if they so choose.

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Working in bipartisan pairs, canvassers process mail-in ballots in a warehouse at the Anne Arundel County Board of Elections headquarters on October 7, 2020 in Glen Burnie, Maryland. Photo: Getty Images

By Michael McFaul and Bronte Kass

Despite an unprecedented push for expanding vote-by-mail throughout the country, tens of millions of Americans will still cast their ballots for the 2020 U.S. presidential election in person. They already have begun doing so. In addition to populations that are generally less likely to vote by mail, certain individuals may vote more easily in person, for instance if seeking language assistance or help with a disability. …


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Photo: Getty Images

Excerpt from Invisible China: How the Urban-Rural Divide Threatens China’s Rise by Scott Rozelle, the co-director of the Rural Education Action Program (REAP) at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, and Natalie Hell, a writer and researcher at REAP (re-printed with permission from the publisher):

China is at a critical juncture in its development. Amidst the glitter and gold of China’s urban miracle, economists and financial pundits are just now becoming concerned about slowing growth rates. A few bold scholars are warning that China is at risk of falling into what economists refer to as the “Middle Income Trap.” This describes the empirical regularity in which many countries that have attained middle income status (as China has) are unable to keep developing into stable, high income, developed countries, and instead stagnate or collapse (Mexico, Turkey, Argentina and Thailand are famous examples). These economic observers have written a flurry of concerned articles presenting the dangers of misaligned exchange rates and outdated industrialization policies for China’s growth. …


Voting by mail does not create opportunities for fraud, nor in the past has it advantaged one party or the other. If given sufficient time, there is every reason to believe that all votes will be counted, irrespective of the way they were cast.

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An employee at the Utah County Election office puts mail in ballots into a container to register the vote in the midterm elections on November 6, 2018 in Provo, Utah. Photo: Getty Images

By Michael McFaul and Bronte Kass

During the COVID-19 pandemic, widespread concerns about the health risks of in-person voting for the 2020 U.S. presidential election have not subsided. Increased demand for absentee voting has generated dozens of states to propose changes to their existing election laws, statutes, and systems. New policies range from temporarily eliminating excuse requirements to automatically sending ballots or request forms to registered voters. …


Many state officials demonstrated a passion and creativity for creating the necessary conditions for Americans to vote in August. But additional reforms are required for November.

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People wait in line to vote in Georgia’s Primary Election in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo: Getty Images

by Bronte Kass and Michael McFaul

September 22 is National Voter Registration Day !

Visit Vote.org to check your registration status, register to vote, or request an absentee ballot for the general election. To plan your vote in November 2020, visit Plan Your Vote or How to Vote in the 2020 General Election.

Following a challenging series of presidential primaries during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, sixteen U.S. states held primary and runoff elections in August with greater success. With expanded access to absentee balloting and updated in-person voting in coordination with public health guidance, many states like Georgia and Wisconsin saw widely recognized improvements. …

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The Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies is Stanford’s premier research institute for international affairs. Faculty views are their own.

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