A brewing war no one's talking about
It's well-known enough that China's pleased to see the chaos in U.S. elections -- the snide remarks coming from its state propaganda press suggest as much to start. It goes without saying they've never liked democracy and can use it as a means of propagandizing its people to claim that communist tyranny is better.
But there's also news that China's neighbors are nervous, for the exact same reasons. Amid U.S. election chaos, all signs are on that China is at least thinking about retaking Taiwan.
That's why the claims to Biden winning the presidency has prompted headlines like these across the Pacific:
Taiwan President Urges Calm As Pro-Trump Citizens Panic Amid Biden Vote Surge -Newsweek
Taiwan fears loss in US support as Trump booted from office -al Jazeera (of course)
US election 2020: The Asians who are rooting for Trump to win -BBC
A Biden presidency raises more questions than answers for Taiwan -Taiwan News
According to the BBC:
Mr Trump's actions to support Taiwan militarily have also bolstered support for him there. In fact, a recent poll showed that Taiwan is the only country where those that want another four years of Mr Trump strongly outnumber those who want Mr Biden to win.
Beijing has reacted strongly, warning the US "not to send any wrong signals to 'Taiwan independence' elements to avoid severe damage to China-US relations".
President Trump has been a steadfast ally of Taiwan, openly congratulating Taiwan's new president in one of his first moves as a newly elected president. He has warned China to back off Taiwan, initiated a powerful naval buildup after years of Obama administration neglect, and resurged the great white fleet, whose main mission is to ensure the freedom of the seas, the great move that made the rise of China's Asian Tiger state neighbors - Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, and then Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia possible, now joined by Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. The peaceful seas permit trade to flourish and war winds to recede. At the the time Trump took office, that mission was all but erased by the Obama administration and China was building illegal shoals to stake claims in the South China Sea. They've backed off at least to a moderate extent and sometimes more with Trump.
Biden, by contrast, has been concilatory to China, too conciliatory. The news that Hunter Biden's laptop revealed vast payoffs from China's state-linked companies suggests outright cooptation, kompromat, blackmail leverage on the coming U.S. president (if it happens) from China. A Biden presidency, whatever the man says, would likely lead to a weak America unwilling to defend its longtime Asian-Pacific ally, leaving Taiwan, and Vietnam among others, terrified.
Meanwhile, reports like these almost suggest that the Trump administration is seeking to fortify Taiwan before a supposed Biden deluge.
According to the Voice of America:
TAIPEI, TAIWAN - U.S. officials are speeding arms sales to Taiwan this year as the Asian island revamps its defense strategy against old, and more powerful, foe China, and experts on both sides say Washington is extra keen to show support.
Taiwan is shifting toward asymmetric warfare -- the use of unconventional tactics against a stronger enemy -- and analysts believe the U.S. government figures the right defensive weaponry should follow. U.S. officials for their part want to show China they will consistently oppose perceived threats of force against Taiwan, the experts say.
“Probably Washington’s consensus is that the Chinese intimidation is growing, the cross-Strait balance is tilting, heavily, and Taiwan’s arms procurement strategy or items have been in the past too much focused on force-on-force capability rather than asymmetrical capability,” said Alexander Huang, a strategic studies professor at Tamkang University in Taiwan.
In the latest case, the U.S. State Department approved a $600 million arms package Tuesday that includes four unmanned maritime patrol aircraft, along with maritime radar and other hardware to support the aircraft.
On October 21 the department greenlighted the potential sale of three weapons systems, including missiles, artillery and sensors. The full price was estimated at $1.8 billion. Five days later it approved a $2.37 billion sale of 100 Boeing-made Harpoon Coastal Defense Systems. Two other arms sale authorizations were announced earlier in the year for a total $800 million.
“Now what we’re seeing is the transfer of weaponry that can certainly help Taiwan become fortress Taiwan, quote unquote, to make it that impenetrable fortress against Chinese attack,” said Derek Grossman, a senior analyst with the Rand Corp. research institution.
Could the fear of a Biden presidency be behind this? That's the first thought, given the preoccupation with elections here in the states.
But actually, it's a far more nasty and ominous reason. China is apparently really thinking about attacking Taiwan.
Here was a warning from a foreign policy professional just weeks earlier, reported by Eurasian Times on Oct. 30:
A former US diplomat has warned against the Chinese communist regime’s growing threats to unify Taiwan with the mainland during US Presidential Elections 2020.
Charles W Freeman, who has served in Taiwan and China, alerted that Beijing may utilize the time of US Presidential elections to capture the Dongsha Islands (Pratas Islands), or Taiwan’s other outer islands such as Matsu, Kinmen, and Penghu, reported Taiwan News.
Freeman claimed that China’s aim in capturing the islands would be to “give people in Taiwan a sense of the inevitability of defeat.” He pointed out that China may lay the groundwork for assault by sabotaging Taiwan’s airbases.
It gets worse:
Freeman noted that The People’s Daily, another of China’s state-run media, had released a letter earlier in October, which urged Taiwan’s spies “against supporting President Tsai Ing-wen’s resistance to unification with China.”
Titled “Letter to Taiwan’s Intelligence Organs”, it included the phrase “Don’t say that we didn’t warn you”. It was originally used by the Qing Dynasty, “and has become a key phrase used by Chinese official media as the most severe warning previously issued before shots were fired in military operations,” as per China’s state-owned media Global Times.
Freeman says CCP used similar phrases before storming Beijing in 1949 during the Chinese Civil War and before crossing the Yalu River in 1950 during the Korean War, while according to Global Times; similar warnings were issued before the Sino-Indian War in 1962 and the Sino-Vietnamese War in 1979.
Taiwan News reported that China scholar Orville Schell has raised a concern that a contested election result could embolden Beijing to make its move on the islands. He reasoned that the recent turning away of the Taiwanese supply plane from Dongsha by China could be a “harbinger of more aggression in the offing”.
There is no reason for Taiwan to not take these threats seriously as earlier in October, China released a video showing a large-scale military exercise simulating an invasion and a purported confession from a Taiwanese businessman held captive in China on spying charges, as per The Washington Post report.
This is truly shocking news. China loves the election chaos in the U.S. and is seeking to take advantage of it. Conquering Taiwan is its fondest wish and China is likely to make a move while it perceives the U.S. as weak. If it happens, it will be a startling story of Chinese malfeasance, and if heaven forbid, Biden does take the presidency, (a far from foregone but still possible thing), he'll be caught flat footed and moving into making the bad foreign policy calls he's so famous for. For him, China is a COVID and global warming story. But right now it's aiming its guns at Taiwan.
Has anyone in the press been reporting this? Any news about this brewing big war, something that would be one of multiple wars China has been involved in in the past year, its assault on India being the latest?
Anyone have confidence in Joe Biden being ready and able for the presidency with news like this?
Does not look like it, the news reports have been mostly silent on this, entirely focused on the bid to elect Jee Biden.
But the signs are there that China will act against its neighbor. If it happens, the creators of chaos will have much to answer for.
Image credit: Gareth Ursuul, via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 4.0