China watches Ukraine, eyes Taiwan
Barack Obama is bringing Pax Americana to an end, convinced that American domination of the world is a bad thing. Bashir Assad and Vladimir Putin both have taken the measure of the man and acted in the manner of tyrants and bullies throughout the ages. This attitude is contagious.
Paul A. Rahe is asking the question that has been on my mind: Could China Be Planning Something? A former student of his wrote him:
...notice China’s silence…. I’m sure Putin worked things out in advance with the Chinese. They can expand into the Pacific, while Putin expands into the Ukraine. Ukraine sets a precedent of sorts for a Pacific expansion by the Chinese. Those Chinese living up in Siberia make for a very long term issue when compared with the amazing opportunities in far more important parts of the world that are offered by three more years of the current American administration. That’s my take on things.
He is right about one thing. The Chinese are on board:
Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov discussed Ukraine by telephone with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, on Monday, and claimed they had "broadly coinciding points of view" on the situation there, according to a ministry statement. (snip)
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said: "China has always upheld the principles of diplomacy and the fundamental norms of international relations.
If China were to seize Taiwan, I can imagine the Russian foreign ministry spokesman saying, "Russia has always upheld the principles of diplomacy and the fundamental norms of international relations. At the same time we also take into consideration the history and the current complexities of the Taiwan issue."
I could easily imagine Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping doing a Hitler-Stalin tango. Folks, this will not be over before the fat lady sings.
Of course, an invasion of Taiwan would be a bloody and costly mess, much larger in scale and riskier than seizing the Crimea. An amphibious invasion would be required, and Taiwan possesses formidable armaments.
But American weakness is provocative. While President Obama and Secretary Kerry seem to believe that the 21st Century is different from the rest of human history, that the growth in trade and interdependence means territorial aggression is unthinkable, Putin and the Chinese suffer no such delusions.
With a weak and indecisive leader, one who thinks leading from behind is real leading, the free world face perilous times.
Hat tip: Cliff Thier