If the Chinese don’t end their blockade of Taiwan, the Biden administration will be under immense pressure to respond. So let us hope that cooler heads prevail in China and that a decision is soon made to end the pointless “military exercises” that the Chinese are currently conducting.
When the live-fire drills were first announced, we were told that they would last for only four days. That was supposed to be it. On Monday, they were supposed to go home. But that didn’t happen. Instead, on Monday the Chinese announced that the military exercises in the waters off Taiwan would be extended, and no new end date was given…
China said Monday it was extending threatening military exercises surrounding Taiwan that have disrupted shipping and air traffic and substantially raised concerns about the potential for conflict in a region crucial to global trade. The exercises would include anti-submarine drills, apparently targeting U.S. support for Taiwan in the event of a potential Chinese invasion, according to social media posts from the eastern leadership of China’s ruling Communist Party’s military arm, the People’s Liberation Army.
This move by China crosses a very important line.
The Chinese have essentially established a “maritime and aerial blockade” around Taiwan, but it was only supposed to last from Thursday to Sunday…
The Chinese military designated six closure areas, one of which is merely 12 miles from Taiwan’s southern shipping hub of Kaohsiung. Beijing also warned commercial airliners to avoid wide swaths of airspace around Taiwan, in what amounts to a no-fly zone over major flight routes. Even though China portrays this as a step short of total encirclement, Taiwan’s defense ministry describes it as “a maritime and aerial blockade.”
A four day blockade wouldn’t have been that big of a deal.
But a full blown “maritime and aerial blockade” that lasts for weeks or even months is clearly an act of war.
Taiwan relies on food and essential supplies from the outside world. If commerce is severely restricted or cut off completely, life on the island will radically change.
And the pressure on the Biden administration to “do something” will become enormous.
Of course it is still possible that the Chinese could decide to go home at some point this week.
And let us hope that actually happens.
But right now both sides continue to escalate matters.
For example, in response to the Chinese “drills”, the Taiwanese have decided to conduct live-fire exercises of their own…
Meanwhile, Taiwan’s official Central News Agency reported that Taiwan’s army will conduct live-fire artillery drills in southern Pingtung county on Tuesday and Thursday, in response to the Chinese exercises. The drills will include snipers, combat vehicles, armored vehicles as well as attack helicopters, said the report, which cited an anonymous source.
That certainly won’t ease tensions.
And members of the U.S. Senate are publicly calling for more economic and military aid for Taiwan…
In an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) backed the House speaker’s travel to Taiwan and tied the two foreign policy issues together — warning that China is watching how the U.S. continues to respond to Russia’s attack on Ukraine as the war nears its sixth month. Graham directed his message directly at China and pushed for the passage of the bipartisan Taiwan Policy Act, which is aimed at bolstering Taiwan economically and militarily.
The Chinese are going to interpret this as a threat. It has become quite obvious that many prominent members of Congress consider Taiwan to be analogous to Ukraine, and that is definitely not going to help matters.
On top of everything else, it has been announced that U.S. forces will actually be participating in war games very close to India’s disputed border with China later this year…
The US will participate in war games with the Indian military in an area of India that is less than 62 miles away from the country’s disputed border with China, known as the Line of Actual Control (LAN). The drills will be held from October 18-31 and will be the eighteenth iteration of annual exercises between the two militaries known as Yudh Abhyas, which is Hindi for “war practice.” They will be held in the Auli area of the Indian state of Uttarakhand in the Himalayas mountain range.
For years, I have been relentlessly warning that a war with China was coming, but my hope is that cooler heads will prevail and that this current crisis can be resolved peacefully.
Because a shooting war with China would instantly change all of our lives for the worse.
If we go to war with China, shipments of the thousands upon thousands of products that we currently receive from China would immediately cease.
And if the Pacific Ocean becomes a war zone, trade with other Asian powers such as Japan and South Korea would be paralyzed as well.
In addition, Taiwan produces more of our microchips than everyone else in the world combined…
In particular, Taiwan’s position in the world of semiconductor manufacturing is a bit like Saudi Arabia’s status in OPEC. TSMC has a 53% market share of the global foundry market (factories contracted to make chips designed in other countries). Other Taiwan-based manufacturers claim a further 10% of the market. As a result, the Biden administration’s 100-Day Supply Chain Review Report says, “The United States is heavily dependent on a single company – TSMC – for producing its leading-edge chips.” The fact that only TSMC and Samsung (South Korea) can make the most advanced semiconductors (five nanometres in size) “puts at risk the ability to supply current and future [US] national security and critical infrastructure needs”.
If China invades Taiwan, the global flow of microchips would permanently be reduced to a trickle.
I don’t think that I even have the words to describe what that would do to the global economy.
The stakes are incredibly high, and our leaders should be doing all that they can to avoid a needless war with the Chinese.
Unfortunately, our leaders are not exactly what you would call “competent” at this point, and we could soon find ourselves involved in pointless conflicts with the Russians and the Chinese at the same time.