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Offline mystery-ak

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What would America do if China invaded Taiwan?
« on: March 23, 2014, 09:22:24 AM »
http://theweek.com/article/index/258467/what-would-america-do-if-china-invaded-taiwan#

What would America do if China invaded Taiwan?
No country is watching the U.S.'s response to the crisis in Ukraine more closely than China
Published March 21, 2014, at 6:22 AM


Earlier this week, President Obama stated explicitly what everyone already knew: The U.S. is not prepared to go to war with Russia over its annexation of Crimea. We'll impose some tough sanctions, we'll say some mean things about Vladimir Putin, and John McCain will fulminate for a while longer on Sunday-morning talk shows. But the current situation on the ground isn't going to change — because Putin successfully showed that the American president never had any intention of backing up his warnings and threats with military force.

Since I don't think the United States has much of a strategic interest in preventing Russia from swallowing parts of eastern Ukraine — any more than Russia would be especially concerned if we annexed a chunk of northern Mexico — I have a hard time getting worked up about recent developments. But that doesn't mean the events of the past few weeks won't have dangerous geopolitical consequences.

Every time the president allows a stated line to be crossed — as he did in Syria last year over Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons, and now again with Russia's actions in Ukraine — he signals that American security commitments may be hollow.

The overall importance of such signaling in international relations is a contentious topic among those who study foreign affairs. But there is one potential theater of conflict in the world where we can be quite certain that America's recent actions — or rather, inactions — have been very closely noted: the Taiwan Straits.

Ever since Chiang Kai-shek's nationalist government fled Mao Zedong's communist takeover of mainland China in 1949, relocating to the island of Formosa (henceforth renamed Taiwan), the United States has tacitly guaranteed the island's security. The arrangement became more explicit with the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, which included a commitment to "resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion" against the island. Over China's strenuous objections — the People's Republic considers Taiwan to be its sovereign territory — we've backed up that pledge by selling the Taiwanese government significant numbers of weapons over the years, most recently a $5.8 billion package of military hardware in 2011.

So what happens if China, having noted our reluctance to stand up to Assad and complete unwillingness to challenge Moscow militarily, decides to test us by taking Taiwan?

On one level, going to war with a major world power of 1.35 billion people in order to defend an island on the other side of the planet sounds crazy — a quintessential act of imperial overreach. That's certainly my initial reaction, since I'd prefer to see the U.S. playing a more modest role in world affairs more generally. What better way to downscale our global commitments than to back away from this East Asian relic of Cold War brinksmanship?

But before we make that move, we need to be clear about the stakes — and the likely consequences. The United States has made a lot of blunders — and done a fair amount of geopolitical mischief — over the years. But all told and weighed against the realistic alternatives, our military hegemony since the end of World War II has been salutary, minimizing cross-border conflicts and enforcing order across large swaths of the globe. The Pax Americana isn't just a propaganda slogan.

If we allowed China to take direct control of Taiwan (even if the mainland promised to treat it as a semi-autonomous region, like Hong Kong), it would signal once and for all the end of this American-dominated era and the start of another. Coupled with our passivity in the face of Russia's recent actions, we would swiftly find ourselves in a world where nations revert to acting as they have for much of human history: freely invading each other's borders and fighting wars in the pursuit of national self-interest, with no overseeing hyperpower imposing global peace and order from above.

How likely is it that China will make a move against Taiwan?

At the moment, not very. Relations between Beijing and Taipei have improved since Taiwan elected Ma Ying-jeou as president in 2008. On the other hand, China has recently started flexing its military muscles in unprecedented ways. And earlier this week hundreds of Taiwanese university students stormed and occupied the national legislature in Taipei to protest a trade pact with the mainland, a reminder that nationalist sentiment remains strong in Taiwan. How might Beijing respond if the opposition gains the upper hand, threatening to scuttle its plans for slow-motion reunification with an island it still considers a breakaway province?

The fact is that we just don't know. (Last spring no one would have predicted that a year later Crimea would be a part of Russia.)

What we do know is that, if China does make a move in the Taiwan Straits, the future of the geopolitical order will depend on how America responds.

Or doesn't.

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Offline mountaineer

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Re: What would America do if China invaded Taiwan?
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2014, 09:25:17 AM »
Just a guess ...

Just being unique doesn't make you useful.

Offline Chieftain

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Re: What would America do if China invaded Taiwan?
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2014, 09:44:32 AM »
Great question.  The Chinee are definitely paying attention to the ongoing farce in and around Ukraine, and one of these days before Obammy is gone the calculus in bringing Taiwan back into the Chinee fold might just suddenly work out.

With the troika of Obama-Kerry-Hagel running things, anything is possible.  I'm waiting to see who decides there will be no US response to use of a nuclear weapon.


Offline PzLdr

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Re: What would America do if China invaded Taiwan?
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2014, 11:05:36 AM »
Our super hero in chief, Captain Feckless, would write a stiff letter, and send the Addams family butler to deliver it.
Hillary's Self-announced Qualifications: She Stood Up To Putin...She Sits to Pee

Offline Oceander

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Re: What would America do if China invaded Taiwan?
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2014, 11:48:57 AM »
Quote
The fact is that we just don't know. (Last spring no one would have predicted that a year later Crimea would be a part of Russia.)

Which is why a competent US president would have been placing pieces strategically all along to do the best to make sure that China thinks twice, thrice, etc..., about trying to take Taiwan by force.

Would that we had a competent president.

Offline truth_seeker

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Re: What would America do if China invaded Taiwan?
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2014, 11:58:50 AM »
Obama will make a serious speech, do nothing, and encourage more of the same.

Obama intended this, when he told Vlad he would have more flexibility once reelected.

Obama wants to change America, from a world power, to a miserable weak land with socialized medicine, food stamps for all, permanent unemployment benefits, etc.

The only remaining superpower isn't so super, and Obama has 2.5 years left to diminish America's power and standing.


Offline evadR²

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Re: What would America do if China invaded Taiwan?
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2014, 12:30:40 PM »
Just a guess ...


DITTO.
Thee feckless one would draw another line.
November 6, 2012, a day in infamy...the death of a republic as we know it.

Offline evadR²

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Re: What would America do if China invaded Taiwan?
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2014, 12:33:32 PM »
"What would America do if China invaded Taiwan?"
I posed this question last week.
Whatever it is they better figure it out because it coming...quicker than you think.
November 6, 2012, a day in infamy...the death of a republic as we know it.

Offline olde north church

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Re: What would America do if China invaded Taiwan?
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2014, 12:33:40 PM »
You have to wonder why Taiwan, Israel and other "outlaw" states don't form an alliance.  I think the old South Africa and Israel had something going on.
Why?  Well, because I'm a bastard, that's why.

Offline Oceander

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Re: What would America do if China invaded Taiwan?
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2014, 12:39:26 PM »
You have to wonder why Taiwan, Israel and other "outlaw" states don't form an alliance.  I think the old South Africa and Israel had something going on.

Israel and South Africa had something going on with nukes, I think.

Offline rangerrebew

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Re: What would America do if China invaded Taiwan?
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2014, 12:58:13 PM »
What could America do?  Attack with sling shots, pea shooters, bean bag guns?  I think some threats from Obama would scare the msg out of them. :silly:
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Offline Fishrrman

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Re: What would America do if China invaded Taiwan?
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2014, 11:41:59 PM »
[[ What would America do if China invaded Taiwan? ]]

Nothing.

It's not worth a world war, and we realize that, regardless of what agreements signed sixty-plus years ago say.

But let me argue as to WHY it's no longer worth it.

In 1950, Red China and Taiwan, although separated by only a small body of water, were opposite ends of the world. Total communism vs. an attempt at freedom.

That was then.
This is now.

I would proffer that TODAY, Mainland China is no longer so far removed from the Chinese of Taiwan. If anything, in the half-century plus that has passed by, the mainland has "moved", considerably towards the system in place in Taiwan.

In 1950, no one in their right mind could see Red China and Taiwan reuniting.

But today, the two Chinese peoples and the economic/political systems under which they live are no longer so "different" as to make a reconciliation and reunification impossible.

The question now is whether such process be consensual, a la Hong Kong, or under duress.

Remember back when the Berlin Wall came down, and how communism collapsed in East Germany? At that time, the tv and print pundits were saying it would take years for a German reunification. And look how wrong they were.

It may not be easy, but I sense that a similar scenario could take place with the two Chinas, under the right conditions...

And THAT'S why it's absolute nonsense to suggest that the United States go to war (which could easily degenerate into a nuclear conflict) over Taiwan ...


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