I wonder where the third world war could break out? Try Taiwan – .

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I wonder where the third world war could break out? Try Taiwan – .


Have you ever wondered where World War III could break out?
A clear and disturbing consensus has emerged within the US national security community that the Taiwan Strait is the most likely location for a major war between the US and China; that it could begin soon and that such a conflict could quickly degenerate into a nuclear confrontation.

In March, the United States’ leading foreign policy organization, the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, released a report concluding that Taiwan has become “the most dangerous flashpoint in the world.” There, a unique and disturbing set of geopolitical developments conspired to make a gunfire war between the People’s Republic of China and the United States more likely than ever. Recently, the new commander of US forces in the Indo-Pacific region, Admiral John Aquilino, noted that a possible invasion of Taiwan by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) “is much closer than we think. “.

Ever since a pro-Western government was established on the island following Mao’s victory in the Chinese Civil War in 1949, Beijing has waged a patient and methodical campaign to restore sovereignty over the island, which is home to today an autonomous, 24 million-strong democracy with a high-tech economy and a strategically invaluable semiconductor industry.

Taiwan has an army of 300,000 and more than 400 jet fighters, but the main deterrent preventing Beijing from taking the island by force has been the military might of the United States. For 40 years, Washington’s policy of “strategic ambiguity” succeeded in dissuading China from seizing the island by force and in dissuading the Taiwanese from declaring independence, an act which various officials say. the PRC, would be an open provocation to war. Current US policy officially recognizes the PRC as the only Chinese nation, but also promises military and political support for Taiwan. The Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 states that the United States “will regard any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means a threat to the peace and security of the Western Pacific and a grave concern to the United States.” United “.

Thus, the United States did not promise to defend the island but left itself the possibility of doing so. He also signaled to Beijing through various diplomatic and military channels his willingness to do so. This policy, also known as “double deterrence”, has recently come under considerable pressure. President Xi Jinping has issued a number of rather harsh, even belligerent messages that he intends to make unification a reality as soon as possible. Indeed, Xi now sees unification as an indispensable goal in his strategy of “national rejuvenation,” in which China takes its rightful place on the world stage and begins to shape the rules-based international order. in a way he called “fair and reasonable” given China’s growing importance. As Xi said in a recent speech, “China must be and will be united… We are not giving up the use of force.

The Chinese strongman refused to speak with President Donald Trump in 2016 until he reaffirmed that America would not change its “one China” policy, and Chinese officials recently raised vigorous objections to President Joe Biden’s decision to relax even more than the Trump administration. certain restrictions on US political and military communications with Taiwan’s capital Taipei, calling the decision unwarranted interference in China’s internal affairs and military provocative.

Meanwhile, the PRC Navy, by far the most powerful in the world after the US Navy, has stepped up the frequency and intensity of its live-fire exercises in the Taiwan Strait. Chinese ships and planes regularly harass U.S. naval and air patrols operating in the international waters of the South China Sea. Beijing diplomats have stepped up their campaign to intimidate neighbors like the Philippines and Vietnam into accepting its territorial claims and signing operating contracts with Chinese companies.

The constant improvement of Beijing’s “anti-access / area denial” capabilities, which are designed, as defense expert Michele Flournoy writes in a recent issue of Foreign Affairs, “Prevent the United States from projecting its military power into East Asia in order to defend its interests or its allies.” As a result, in the event of conflict, the United States can no longer hope to quickly achieve superiority in air, space or sea; The US military would have to fight for an advantage and then keep it, in the face of continuing efforts to disrupt and degrade its combat management networks.

Meanwhile, Beijing has also orchestrated a sophisticated and complex information warfare campaign on Taiwan itself. According to Rush Doshi, director of the China Strategy Project at the Brookings Institution, this initiative aims to “support China’s favorite candidates and sow distrust of Taiwanese democracy.” Beijing co-opted a host of media outlets on the island, even taking control of one of the island’s largest media conglomerates, in order to shape a favorable perception of what life would be like under its rule.

Xi and his colleagues in the Communist Party of China, most Western pundits agree, share the perception that the United States is a declining power, no longer suited for leadership in international affairs in general, let alone. in East Asia. This belief itself is a highly destabilizing factor for US-China relations, as it tends to fuel Beijing’s sense that America lacks the will to defend its interests and allies in East and South Asia. Is.

And then there is the generally worrying question of the PRC’s long-term intentions. The vast majority of Western and Chinese international relations scholars now reject Beijing’s description of its newfound self-confidence in the Indo-Pacific region as an integral part of its “peaceful rise”, and believe it is pursuing a strategy of regional hegemony in Asia, and perhaps even a direct challenge to the long-term global leadership of the United States.

Among those who seem to subscribe to this interpretation of China’s foreign policy include President Joe Biden, who noted on March 25 that “China has … an overall goal of becoming the leading country in the world, the most rich in the world and the most powerful country in the world. It won’t happen under my watch.

Biden’s initial strategy in China is, by most accounts, a great start, in large part because he took firm and dramatic steps at home and abroad to solidify the failing prestige and reputation of the America by reaching out to key allies and partners, joining a number of international institutions and agreements, and passing the most ambitious national reform legislation since the New Deal. In addition, he warmly embraced the countries of the quadrilateral security dialogue – India, Japan, Australia – with a view to formulating a common strategy to contain China’s naval power and its robust diplomatic efforts to attract Asian allies and partners to the America in its orbit.

But the feeling that China might be tempted to seize Taiwan as soon as possible, before Biden mobilizes allies and redirects US military resources from the Middle East to the Pacific, has led to heated debate in the United States. strategic circles on the future of strategic ambiguity. . Richard Hass, Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations, published a major article in Foreign Affairs with his colleague David Sacks, arguing that the policy had exceeded its usefulness, and that Washington should declare that its forces will indeed come to the aid of Taiwan to repel a Chinese invasion. Such a clear directive, Hass and Sacks argue, “could strengthen long-term US-China relations by improving deterrence and reducing the risk of war in the Taiwan Strait.”

Three other leading scholars on US-China relations published a review of the Hass-Sacks essay a few weeks later, also in Foreign Affairs, arguing to the contrary: that removing the ambiguity would be considered by China as an extremely provocative gesture that could well trigger such an invasion. According to Bonnie S. Glaser of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, such a move may well force Xi’s hand, because “failing to take decisive action [against the U.S. and Taiwan] would expose him to internal criticism and jeopardize his candidacy for the head of China for life. She argues that under current policy, “Xi is unlikely to jeopardize other Chinese interests in order to urgently achieve this goal.” Much better for the new US president to preserve official ambiguity and issue private warnings to the Chinese president about the grave consequences of undertaking such an operation, if and when it seemed imminent.

Michael J. Mazarr of the Rand Corporation agrees with Glaser’s criticism of a comprehensive US aid guarantee: “If China thinks the US is about to make a security pledge to Taiwan, this prospect could itself become the impetus for China to be reckless. action. And such a guarantee, Mazarr says, would appear to require the stationing of significant US forces in Taiwan as a sign of determination, a move that would certainly elicit a Chinese military response. “Rather than preventing war,” writes Mazarr, the guarantee of security “could easily set off a chain of events that would make conflict inevitable.”

« The prospect of a clash in the Taiwan Strait for US forces, all experts agree, is not a happy one.«

There are other good reasons to maintain the status quo as the Biden administration deals with restoring U.S. military deterrence and developing ground rules and protocols with Beijing to deal with their growing rivalry. Biden needs to give serious thought to whether, given the vast shift in the balance of power in the region, it makes strategic sense for America to challenge a Chinese attack on Taiwan by force, given that unification of the island with the mainland is a much, much more vital issue for Beijing and the Chinese people than the preservation of Taiwan’s autonomy is for the Biden administration or the people of the United States.

The prospect of a clash in the Taiwan Strait for US forces, all experts agree, is not a happy one. Taiwan is 160 km from mainland China and 5,000 km from the US Pacific Fleet base in Hawaii. Given the PRC’s formidable A2 / AD capabilities, US forces would suffer heavy casualties simply attempting to navigate the strait, not to mention what they would suffer as the conflict escalated. It’s been an open secret in Washington for a long time that the Chinese team regularly defeats the US team in the Pentagon war games. In March of this year, Air Force Lt. Gen. S. Clinton Hinote told Yahoo News that the US team had lost “a number” of recent war games and that in the most recent game – in last September – ”it wasn’t just that we were losing, but we were losing faster.

Is preserving Taiwan’s autonomy worth risking thousands of American lives? Or nuclear war? The answer, surely, can no longer be a “yes” reflex.

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