March 14, 2022

China Readying to Take Taiwan?

“The largest ever nuclear force expansion and arsenal diversification in its history.”

The consequences of weakness from the United States has emboldened our enemies abroad. First Hong Kong and then Afghanistan fell back into vicious hands. Ukraine is surviving by pure grit. What country will be the next to fall?

We need only look toward China, which has made no secret of its designs on the neighboring island nation of Taiwan.

Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Avril Haines reported to Congress last week that China is enlarging its arsenal of nuclear weapons. In fact, according to Haines, it is “the largest ever nuclear force expansion and arsenal diversification in its history.”

China obviously understands that should it carry out its threats against Taiwan, the U.S. and other nations would likely have to step in militarily. Japan, India, Australia, and the U.S. have an alliance known as the QUAD whose job is to police Chinese aggression in the region. Taiwan itself is vigilant in its training and building up its own defenses. The side closest to China is heavily fortified and the Taiwanese are ready for an attack.

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been conducting “military exercises” and other shows of strength in the hopes of intimidating the Taiwanese into surrendering. Or, as the Communist Chinese might put it, a “peaceful” bending to Beijing’s authority à la Hong Kong. No fighting necessary.

However, the U.S. is invested (albeit informally) in an alliance with Taiwan, which produces resources that the U.S. needs in significant quantities. As former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently explained: “Practically every electronic device in the world — from smartphones to the computer chips in our own Air Force’s F-35 fighter jets — contains essential parts that are manufactured only in Taiwan, by Taiwanese companies. This makes the island democracy an immensely important strategic objective. If the CCP could take Taiwan by force, it would also likely gain command over the market for advanced chip manufacturing for the global market. That control would be catastrophic for America and our allies.”

Mainland China is not a very good neighbor. It is constantly encroaching on bordering countries, taking land and resources away from them. Currently, 17 countries have issues with Chinese bullying, though there have yet to be any outright skirmishes. The last time China got into an all-out border scuffle was with Vietnam in 1979.

India in particular has been dealing with China’s revisionist history tactics, as sections of Arunachal Pradesh (northeast India) are being infringed upon. China has already renamed 15 areas, kidnapped a 17-year-old Indian, and used other manipulations to justify the claim that Arunachal Pradesh is actually part of historic China. India is its own nuclear power, though. If China pushed too hard, India could also act.

China hasn’t lasted this long bullying its way to greater and greater territory without understanding the limits to how far it can push its neighbors. Currently, China is watching the Russia-Ukraine war. Even the Associated Press gets it: “The Russian experience in Ukraine is being closely studied by Beijing for lessons about the power of local resistance, the response of the international community and other factors.”

Hopefully, the message China and its communist leaders are getting is that the West can still stand together to face a bully.

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