Do I hear the sound of distant drums calling to war over Taiwan?

May 9, 2021

Since the pivot to Asia initiated by President Obama, President Trump had put into action a trade war and starting the Cold War 2.  In the trade war with China most pundits would agree that the US has lost.  Now, a third attempt by President Biden with the dangerous introduction of Taiwan into the picture took place.  Is war imminent? 

The military industrial complex and its associates in the Pentagon needs to get more funds for its existence hence, it creates an enemy first followed by a request for more funds to defeat the imaginary enemy.  However, such wishful thinking could come true when the war breaks out in the SCS, not by design but by accident.

The world’s attention is now directed a threat of war in the SCS invoking the island of Taiwan when the Economist published an article “China faces fateful choices, especially involving Taiwan”.  Australia is pounding the drums loudly without considering the real consequence of a war.

Many Chinese believe that the conquest of Taiwan is a sacred national mission.  If this dream becomes reality during President Xi’s administration, then he will be elevated almost to deity status, similar to Chairman Mao.  It is a great temptation almost irresistible however, it could start World War III and MAD.

China needs to rein in her most nationalistic ambitions of taking Taiwan back for the time being.  Time is on the side of China and a risen China would get Taiwan back to China by diplomatic talks paving way to a peaceful reunification in the not too distant future.

On 28 April 2021, William Briggs’ article appeared in John Menadue P&I with the title ‘ Taiwan the trigger point for American’s next war”.  This article predicts that war is a possibility, and it is a matter of when it will happen.  After reading the article, I had the impression that America is goading China to war as if they had lost their rationality and “gung-ho” – get the enemy at all costs despite MAD.

The Economist on 1 May 2021 published an article “Superpower politics – the most dangerous place on Earth”.”  For decades just such an exercise of high-calibre ambiguity has kept the peace between America and China over Taiwan, an island of 24m people, 100 miles (160km) off China’s coast. Leaders in Beijing say there is only one China, which they run, and that Taiwan is a rebellious part of it. America nods to the one China idea, but has spent 70 years ensuring there are two.”

If sanity prevails, a disastrous nuclear war can be avoided; and the rational for US not wanting a war was discussed among a group of English educated ethnic Chinese, born under British colonial rule in SE Asia but now living in Five Eyes countries, are comforting.

This group’ s rationale is:

  1. America had finally learned from its involvements in the past: Korea and Vietnam where they suffered materially and humiliation, eventually seeking a truce and a peace treaty.
  2. America has only self-interest – “what’s in it for me?”. Here, there is not much – no oil or other resources.
  3. Short of using nuclear weapons guaranteeing mutual annihilation, China already has (or will very soon) superiority at sea (China has more naval assets than the US) and have weapons that can reach places where the US forces are stationed in the Pacific.
  4. The US does not possess overwhelming superiority power – no “shock & awe” for prime-time TV shows
  5. The US no longer has the appetite for wars (getting out of Afghanistan, not helping Ukraine, Georgia, etc.), especially long protracted wars.
  6. The US has so much debt that the country can no longer afford to finance wars which would take away resources needed for healthcare and to feed its people (it is reported that 30 million people rely on donations of food and food stamps to survive – about the same size population of Malaysia).
  7. US sabre-rattling is for internal consumption.
  8. China is no more the “sick man of east Asia” (東亞病夫) and it would not allow another nation or group of nations like the alliance of 8 nations (八國聯軍) to invade it in 1900. Australia should stop beating the war drums to encourage America and others to try.

To this list I may add:

  1. Does America really care about the 24 million Taiwanese enough to sacrifice the deaths of Americans and destruction in in their own land?
  2. The 1% rich would vote a against an action that would lead to a nuclear war which would render their billions of dollars as useless pieces for paper with nothing to buy.

The reasons why China would not start a war can be summarized:

(1) I do not believe that China would sacrifice all their hard-earned achievements in the last 70 years for her 1.4 billion people for the sake of reunification with an additional 24 million people in Taiwan.

(2) Most overseas Chinese would not support the continuation of the civil war in China where it is seen as brothers killing brothers.  They had this painful experience in the 1940s.

(3)  War costs billions and great casualties and would her citizens be that supportive as in the past when they were poor; and would the citizens unlikely to forego the hard-earned luxuries after 3 generation of hardship?

On the other hand, US can accommodate a rising China and together they can lead the world into peace and prosperity without resorting to vote buying by any sides at the United Nations.

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