To recap, we already know Ukraine is on fire. Nearby, Azerbaijan today launched a new offensive to retake its disputed territory Nagorno-Karabakh region, which is inhabited by ethnic Armenians. Those two countries went to war in 2020, and a ceasefire was held by Russia, which is happy to foment such separatist zones to keep the entire region unstable. Seeing that no one is afraid of Russia anymore, Azerbaijan has broken the ceasefire, Turkey has eagerly encouraged (and supplied arms). Armenia has never forgiven the Turkish genocide during WWI, and it fears a repeat in Nagorno-Karabakh. If you’re looking for a “good guy” to root for, don’t bother with this one. It sucks a lot.
There is a brutal civil war Ethiopia, whose people really can’t catch a break. The Tigray region is bordered by hostile national Ethiopian forces to the south and Eritrea to the north. An estimated 500,000 died in about a year and a half. Elsewhere in Africa, wars rage in Mali, Nigeria, Congo, Central African Republic, and Somalia.
The eight-year civil war in Yemen, mostly a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia, has left nearly 150,000 dead, with another quarter million estimated to have died. There are problems in Iraq, Turkey is building up troops to attack the Kurds in northern Syria, and the rest of Syria is a terrible disaster. Palestine is always smoldering. Serbia and Kosovo (maybe) opened fire on each other in a restive border region on Sunday, calling for a cooling of the 30-day war. (The Virginia National Guard is currently in Kosovo.)
Mexico is a narco-state, the unfortunate home of five of the six most violent cities in the world. China and India are clashing over the border dispute. And now, China is losing its mind over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s planned trip to Taiwan — the island nation founded in 1949 by the losers of China’s civil war. Official U.S. policy is to oppose “independence” for Taiwan, but this is all nonsense, as the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 requires the U.S. to keep. real diplomatic relations and help Taiwan defend itself. An official policy of “strategic ambiguity” is designed to prevent Taiwan from aggressively asserting independence (thus triggering a major war), but also to deter China from taking action of its own. Somehow, it has been working for decades.
Pelosi’s visit to the island next week threatens to upend that balancing act. Chinese state media threatened unwarranted military retaliation if Pelosi landed in Taiwan:
China on Monday once again warned the US that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) will not remain silent if US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visits Taiwan.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian gave this warning in the daily news briefing.
Zhao said that China has repeatedly expressed to the United States its serious concern on this issue and its serious position to firmly oppose Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, and face serious consequences if Pelosi visits Taiwan. emphasized on
“The will of the people cannot be violated, and those who play with fire will be destroyed by it,” Zhao said. “It is believed that the US side is fully aware of China’s strong and clear message.”
China is closely following Pelosi’s visit, Zhao said. “His visit to Taiwan would constitute gross interference in China’s internal affairs, seriously undermine China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, recklessly trample on the one-China principle, seriously threaten peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, China-U.S. Will seriously weaken the relationship. , and leads to a very serious situation and dire consequences.”
China’s Ministry of Defense echoed that threat, saying, “If the US insists on getting its way, the Chinese military will never sit still.”
China is building forces across the Taiwan Strait, yet nowhere near the numbers needed to attempt any invasion. Russia spent six months massing forces for its invasion of Ukraine, and it didn’t require crossing 180 kilometers of rough seas. President Joe Biden shrugged his shoulders while talking to the Chinese leader last week.
He is not wrong. Dictatorships are often confused when other countries do not exercise iron-fisted control over their people.
Attacking Taiwan would be costly, and there is real doubt whether China could pull it off. Its last war was against Vietnam in 1979 … and It was lost. While many have speculated that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has raised the possibility of war with Taiwan, the opposite is true: Can Chinese leaders trust the reports they get from their military leaders? Have received over the years from? China is as corrupt as Russia, and the dictatorship has zero mechanisms for exposing the system’s flaws. There is no independent media to act as a watchdog. There is no whistle-blowing culture. And at least Russia got to test some of its equipment against the powerless Syrian opposition. China’s leadership really has no idea what they have in their military.
That doesn’t mean China can’t match Taiwan with ballistic missiles. But like Russia, the world will not sit idly by. Europe has already announced that any hostile move towards Taiwan will be met with even tougher sanctions than those against Russia:
The Russian attack on Ukraine has prompted European policymakers to consider the myriad consequences of previously imposing economic sanctions on the world’s second-largest economy, should Beijing take military action against Taiwan.
“In the event of a military attack, we have made it clear that the European Union, together with the United States and its allies, will apply measures similar to or greater than those we have now taken against Russia,” the EU said in China. The incoming ambassador, Jorge Toledo, said earlier this month.
Europe can afford to be more aggressive against China – it doesn’t depend on the world’s second-largest economy to heat its homes. Neutral Switzerland has already agreed to follow suit. On the other hand… China is the second largest economy in the world. An economic war would have devastating global consequences.
Russia lost nearly 40% of its GDP as Western firms pulled out in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine. China would be in a similar position, with its manufacturing sector accounting for around 40% of its GDP – the largest and heaviest export-facing in the world. China cannot afford to lose millions of jobs dependent on American, European, Japanese, Australian, and other aligned markets. Likewise, its service economy, which includes hotels and transportation, will be heavily impacted by the halt in foreign business travel.
Here are some numbers:
- China’s GDP: $14.6 trillion (US’ $21 trillion)
- China’s exports to the EU: $557.31 billion (2021)
- China’s Exports to US: $450 Billion (2020)
- China’s Exports to Japan: $151 Billion (2020)
- China’s exports to South Korea: $149 billion (2021)
- China’s exports to Taiwan: $82 billion (2021)
- China’s exports to Australia: $58 billion (2021)
- China’s exports to Canada: $51.5 billion (2021)
Trade alone would affect about 10% of China’s GDP, but the economic pain would be even deeper, threatening China’s access to global capital, closing factories (and all the ancillary businesses that depend on those workers, such as restaurants, package delivery, etc. .), and losing access to Taiwan’s semiconductors – its greatest strategic value. No one makes as many chips as Taiwan, and China is as dependent on them as the rest of the world for devices, computers, phones, cars and anything else with a brain. In fact, the semiconductor threat is so real that a United States Army War College Quarterly The article argued that Taiwan could potentially deter Chinese aggression by threatening to destroy it Its own chip factories.
Of course, such an economic war would completely destroy the entire global economy. Forget iPhones, clothes, accessories, furniture…whatever No Made in China now? Companies like Apple began diversifying their manufacturing hubs in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic when logistical disruptions threatened manufacturing supply chains to a degree from which they have still not recovered (a major contributor to global inflation). But those efforts are still in their infancy.
If it feels a little like nuclear weapons, it has exactly the same “mutually assured destruction” feel. It is hard to see how China’s leaders can maintain order with millions of desperate unemployed Chinese workers. China got a taste of that possibility in Shanghai, where residents frustrated under a strict Covid lockdown erupted in riots.
So is China really going to retaliate for Pelosi’s visit? The whole “PLA will not sit idle” rhetoric can run a whole range of options. A tabloid editor and state preacher, Hu ZijinTweeted, “If US warplanes take out Pelosi’s plane in Taiwan, that’s an attack. The PLA has the authority to forcefully intercept Pelosi’s plane and US warplanes, including firing warning shots and strategic movement of intercepts. If ineffective, kill them.” (When Twitter pulled down the tweet for its incitement to violence, Hu complained about “Western censorship,” noting that Twitter is completely censored in China. , was so ridiculous.)
There is also a great deal of domestic instability in China right now, as leader Xi Jinping seeks an unprecedented third term this fall. A great deal of this saber-rattling can only be designed to fend off any challenge from the nationalist wing of the Communist Party. Some may see Pelosi’s visit as an “insult” to Xi, thus requiring a dramatic show of force in response. (At the same time, anything that rocks China (The currently weak economy may not bode well for Xi’s candidacy.)
In fact, the most likely outcome is China engaging in “military exercises” off the coast of Taiwan, with lots of spitting and explosions. The USS Ronald Reagan is moving north along with other US military assets near Taiwan to protect the Speaker and demonstrate its power. This is a geopolitical pissing match.
Pelosi is the highest-ranking American to visit the island since Speaker Newt Gingrich did so in 1997. is Pelosi visiting Taiwan, especially at this time of global tension?
no clue Given the sensitivity of the matter, the stopover is not on his official itinerary. And if it’s not on his official itinerary, it obviously means that no one wants to talk about the trip or justify it. But maybe I have missed something.
Of course, this whole “living in history” thing we’ve had going on for the past several years has gotten old. Hopefully, no one has any original Hunger for another global disaster.