We must respond to China's saber-rattling about Taiwan
When looking at what China is doing, it's difficult to imagine that Biden administration officials, the more educated people in the mainstream media, and our allies are missing the parallels between today and the years that led to World War II. We must not repeat the same mistakes, à la Neville Chamberlain's "I believe it is peace for our time." It can be peace in our time, but that cannot happen unless China's wings are clipped. (Just imagine how different things would have been if Hitler's wings had been clipped in the 1930s.) Unfortunately, I fear that Biden could fit Chamberlain's mold easily.
It is becoming increasingly clear that Xi Jinping sees China as the next world superpower, replacing the United States, with himself as its leader. To that end, China has engaged in ongoing and increasing investment in military technology, an army and a navy that are already numerically greater than ours in terms of men and weapons, and repeated statements about Taiwan being part of China. All these things, culminating in the remarks about Taiwan, are clearly aimed at intimidating America into refraining from a military response in the event that China makes a military effort to take Taiwan.
Unfortunately, a window of opportunity has opened for China to do just that: the Biden administration has shown itself to be mired in second thoughts and doubts about engaging in any military conflict, something made obvious thanks to the administration's near-panic-stricken, uncoordinated withdrawal from Afghanistan. Biden has proven to be a weak and indecisive leader and increasingly is losing support across party lines. China may see this as an extremely propitious time to launch a surprise invasion again Taiwan, to which we may well not respond aggressively.
Image: China's military on parade. YouTube screen grab.
Therefore, I emphatically urge the following effort be made as soon as at all possible: we must engage our allies — NATO, India, Japan, Australia, and as many other nations as are willing to join in, to make the following proclamation to China: "If you attack Taiwan, we, collectively, will freeze (perhaps confiscate) all Chinese assets in our territories as well as sever all trade with China."
This would be a credible threat. China's internal economy is insufficiently developed to be self-sustaining at a level adequate to feed 1.4 billion people. On the other hand, the allies, with some economic displacement and some hardships, have more than the required industrial, economic, and technological capacity to survive such an embargo.
In the face of a worldwide (or partial worldwide) embargo, China will be forced to back down and reassess its national goals. However, to make this work, it is absolutely essential that the West present a united front, all the while understanding that time is of the essence.
Please note that the virtue of this plan is that neither side needs to fire a shot in this confrontation. Thus, no lives or treasure needs to be lost.
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