Now that Hong Kong has been put firmly under mainland control, with elections postponed (in a manner reminding me of Palpatine from the Star Wars movies), Taiwan seems to be next on the list…
That was the opening for this article which I wrote a couple of weeks ago, but as with the article about the Belarusian border crisis, it shows the problem of writing about various topics when the launching of your site gets delayed by a lazy editor… and I don’t care that he got terribly sick and had to stay in bed for more than a weeks, that´s no excuse! Here is what I wrote plus what has happened since written bold…
Taiwan has faced repeated threats, but Biden has actually indicated his support. I don’t know what to think of this. Both Paleocons and doves might fear another Iraq War and rightly so. Why is Biden suddenly a cold war hawk? What would the long term strategy be? Is this intended as just another foreign adventure?
However, whether interventionist or neocon foreign policy are a good thing are not the main issue here. The real question is pretty simple: once an alliance is formed with another nation against a common enemy, do you stick to it or not? Taiwan was the only part of China that remained under the control of America’s ally after Mao’s victory.
Taiwan was a crucial player during the Cold War.
The issue of loyalty to an old ally aside, this is not about overthrowing corrupt regimes or interfering with internal politics of a nation, but defending an ally against attack. It doesn’t involve enforcing a certain kind of goverment. It will just involve preventing an invasion. It wouldn’t be a Vietnam, thanks to the Ocean. Air support could sink an invasion (what Nixon promised to South Vietnam before… let’s not get into that now…)
Problem though is, the USA kinda sucks on foreign policy right now. Its goverment is more unpredictable than ever. The last few years, its military intelligence has been, what is the right four letter word? Let’s just leave it at POOR!
But maybe Taiwan’s ever closer ties with Japan is the real solution. Japan is just a bit more in that region and its so called self defense force has become rather impressive. If they’ve created a strong enough air-force (and maybe developped some nukes?) it could help to deter an invasion.
I highly doubt that Japan will feel comfortable with China controlling the powerful economy and strategic location of Taiwan, after it has already completely taken over Hong Kong.
Thankfully the hawkish LDP kept a comfortable majority during the recent elections. They’re likely to continue to oppose China’s threatening stance within the region. Taiwanese people probably spent every second refreshing the election results page. But do they have the manpower and technology sufficient to deal with a Communist invasion of Taiwan? It has been expanding its forces the last few years and been engaging in various alliances and deals. It has developped its first marine unites since WWII recently.
Thankfully this speculation appears to have been largely justified. Former prime minister of Japan Shinzo Abe warning China against invading Japan, since it would be economic suicide and saying that a Taiwan emergency is a Japan emergency. At least Taiwan is strengthening its military in advance instead of taking it lying down and doesn’t appear to have been completey abandoned South Vietnam style. Though South Korea has remained oddly and yet predictably muted.
The Philippines might want to prevent communist expansion as well. It has experience with marxist insurgencies after all. How strong would an alliance of the Philippines, Taiwan and Japan be?
So maybe we shouldn’t defend Taiwan, but some ally defintely should. Maybe giving them loads of weapons is the right call. Maybe giving aid to Japan so they can grow as a counterthreat to China. But let’s not engage in appeasement towards China nor engage in another Afghanistan.
Finally, some country in Middle America nobody cares about has also withdrawn diplomatic recognition of Taiwan. Seems like its quality over quantity when it comes to allies.