Ever wondered where World War III could begin?
There has been a clear and worrying consensus in the American national security community the Taiwan Strait is likely a place to start a major war between the United States and China; that it could begin soon, and that such a conflict would soon turn into a nuclear confrontation.
In March, a leading U.S. foreign policy organization, the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, released a report in which Taiwan became “the most dangerous flashpoint in the world”. There, a unique and disturbing set of geopolitical developments conspired to escalate the war of attrition between the People’s Republic of China and the United States more than ever. Recently, the newly appointed commander of U.S. forces in the Indo-Pacific, Admiral John Aquilino, noted that the possible attack of the People’s Republic of China on Taiwan is “much closer than we think.”
Ever since Mao’s victory in China’s civil war in 1949 and the establishment of a Western government on the island, Beijing has launched a patient and methodical campaign to restore sovereignty over the island, now home to a 24-million-strong autonomous democracy. high-tech and strategically invaluable semiconductor industry.
Taiwan has an army of 300,000 members and more than 400 jet fighters, but the deterrent to preventing the island from being invaded by force has been the U.S. military capability. For 40 years, Washington’s policy of “strategic ambiguity” has been successful both in preventing China from occupying the island by force and in declaring the Taiwanese independence, a move that various Chinese officials say is a clear provocation. will be for war. Current US policy officially recognizes China as the only country in China, but also promises military and political support for Taiwan. The 1979 Taiwan Relations Act declared that the United States “considers any effort to determine Taiwan’s future other than peaceful means as a threat to peace and security in the Western Pacific and a serious concern for the United States.”
Thus, the United States has promised not to protect the island, but has given it the opportunity. It has also signaled its commitment to Beijing through various diplomatic and military means. This policy, also known as “bilateral deterrence,” later came under considerable pressure. President Xi Jinping has issued a series of harsh and even harsh messages that he wants to make the union a reality soon. Indeed, CCI sees unification as the ultimate goal of its strategy of “national rejuvenation,” in which China takes its rightful place on the world stage and shapes international order in a way that it has described as “fair” and reasonable. ”, Given the growing importance of China. As Xi said in a recent speech, “China must be united and will be united … We will not abandon the use of force.”
The Chinese leader refused to talk to President Donald Trump in 2016 until he reaffirmed that the United States would not change its “one China” policy, and Chinese authorities recently protested President Joe Biden’s decision to leave the Trump administration. Some toughened US political and military ties with Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, have called the decision an unwarranted interference in China’s internal affairs and a military provocation.
Meanwhile, the PRC, the world’s most powerful naval force alongside the U.S. Navy, has increased the frequency and intensity of its direct fire drills in the Taiwan Strait. Chinese ships and aircraft regularly chase U.S. naval and air patrols operating in international waters in the South China Sea. Beijing diplomats have stepped up a campaign of violence by neighbors such as the Philippines and Vietnam to accept its territorial claims and conclude exploitation agreements with Chinese companies.
U.S. politicians and military strategists have expressed grave concern that Beijing is constantly improving its “anti-access / regional” capabilities, as defense expert Michel Flurnoy writes in a recent issue. Foreign Affairs, “To prevent the United States from using military force in East Asia to defend its interests or that of its allies. As a result, in the event of a conflict, the United States can no longer expect to gain air, space, or naval dominance any time soon; the U.S. military will have to fight against constant efforts to disrupt and downplay its war control networks in order to gain an advantage and then maintain it. ”
Beijing, meanwhile, has also launched a complex and complex information war campaign in Taiwan itself. According to Rush Doshi, director of the China Strategy Project at the Brookings Institution, the initiative means “supporting China’s favorite candidates and sowing distrust in Taiwan’s democracy.” In order to form a favorable image of life under its rule, Beijing has chosen a number of media outlets on the island, even one of the largest media conglomerates on the island.
Xi and his Chinese Communist Party colleagues, many Western experts, believe that the United States is a declining power, no longer suitable for leadership in international affairs at all, let alone in East Asia. This belief itself is a very destabilizing factor in US-China relations, as it increases Beijing’s sense that the United States does not have the will to defend its interests and that of its allies in East and Southeast Asia.
And then there is the generally dangerous question of the long-term intentions of the PRC. The vast majority of Western international relations and Chinese scholars now reject Beijing’s portrayal of new self-restraint in the Indo-Pacific region as an integral part of its “peaceful rise” and believe it pursues a strategy of regional hegemony in Asia, and perhaps even a a direct call to U.S. global leadership in the long run.
Among those who allegedly buy this interpretation of China’s foreign policy, count President Joe Biden, who said on March 25 that “China … has a common goal to become the most developed country in the world, the richest country in the world and the highest in the world.” become the most powerful country in the world. It won’t be on my watch. ”
Biden’s Chinese strategy is most likely to start at the top, mainly because he has taken firm steps to strengthen America’s enduring influence at home and abroad by reaching out to key allies and partners, joining a number of international institutions. and seriously laid. and agreements and the adoption of the most glorious domestic reform legislation after the new treaty. Moreover, it warmly welcomed the quadripartite security dialogue countries in order to develop a joint strategy to maintain China’s naval power and its sustained diplomatic efforts to bring America’s allies and Asian partners into its orbit.
But the feeling that China could later, before Biden mobilizes the allies and move US military assets from the Middle East to the Pacific, seeks to gain Taiwan has sparked a heated debate in strategic circles about the future of strategic uncertainty. Richard Hass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, has made a great contribution to the Foreign Affairs with his counterpart David Sachs, arguing that the policy has prolonged its usefulness, and that Washington should announce that its forces will indeed help Taiwan repel the Chinese attack. Such a clear directive, Hass and Sachs state, “could strengthen U.S.-China relations in the long run by improving and reducing the risk of war in the Taiwan Strait.”
Three other leading scholars on U.S.-China relations have made a critique of the Has-Sax essay a few weeks later, as well as on Foreign Affairs, on the contrary, argues that the elimination of uncertainty is seen by China as a provocative emergency move that could trigger such an attack. According to Bonnie S. Glaser of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, such a move could force Sira’s hand because “failure to take drastic measures [against the U.S. and Taiwan] it exposes him to internal criticism and jeopardizes his desire to be China’s leader for life. ” He argues that, according to current policy, “Thirty is unlikely to jeopardize China’s other interests in order to achieve this goal.” It would be better for the new US president to maintain official uncertainty and give the Chinese president a private warning about the dire consequences of such an operation, if it is and when the move seems imminent.
Michael J. Mazarr of the Rand Corporation agrees with Glazer’s criticism of the US bailout: “If China believes that the United States is making a security promise to Taiwan, that prospect could be a reckless push on its own. action ”. And such a guarantee, Mazarr says, seems to require the deployment of significant U.S. forces in Taiwan as a sign of determination, and an action that will inevitably provoke a Chinese military response. “Instead of guaranteeing a war of attrition, Mazar-i-Sharif can easily move the chain of events that makes conflict inevitable,” Mazarr writes.
“The prospect of a clash in the Taiwan Strait is not a happy one for U.S. forces, according to all experts.”
There are other reasons for maintaining the status quo, as the Biden administration engages in the business of restoring U.S. military detention and developing ground rules and protocols with Beijing to manage their growing competition. Biden must seriously consider whether, given the huge shift in the balance of power in the region, it makes sense for the United States to forcibly question China’s attack on Taiwan, given that the island’s unification with the mainland is a matter of protection for Beijing and the Chinese people. Taiwan’s independence is much more important to the Biden administration or the people of the United States.
The prospect of a clash in the Taiwan Strait is not a happy one for U.S. forces, according to all experts. Taiwan is 100 miles from mainland China and 5,000 miles from the U.S. Pacific Fleet base in Hawaii. Given the intense A2 / AD capabilities of the PRC, U.S. forces will make a serious effort to just try to get to the throat, except for what they suffered when the conflict escalated. It has been an open secret in Washington for a long time that the Chinese team has consistently beaten the American team in Pentagon combat games. In March, Air Force Lt. Gen. Clinton Hinote told Yahoo News that the U.S. team had lost “a number” of its last combat games, and in the last game – last September – “it wasn’t just that we were losing. but we were soon defeated. ”
Is maintaining Taiwan’s autonomy worth risking thousands of Americans? Or nuclear war? The answer, of course, can no longer be a “yes” knee.