“Good Lord, get us through this…just this once…and I swear we’ll be good.“
I like history and reading about wars, chaos, and tumultuous times. But it’s better when it’s happening to others, ideally centuries ago.
This will be a rough year.
And now three years later the United States is dealing with two wars – in Ukraine and Gaza. Maybe 2.5 wars if you consider the Iranian proxies, the Houthis, shooting up the Red Sea while the US Navy tries to swat down their missiles.
That’s a lot of distraction.
Xi Jinping must be sorely tempted to make his move in East Asia. It’s clearly on his mind, given he started the New Year by saying China and Taiwan will “surely be reunified” [aka China will take over Taiwan].
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been preparing for decades to take Taiwan. It is a capable military, knows the target, and has a fifth column on the island.
Beijing will calibrate based on Taiwan’s January 13, 2024, elections. If Taiwan’s (widely considered more pro-Beijing) opposition wins or takes control of the legislature, Xi may hold off a bit to see what it will deliver. However, the Chinese Communists’ objective remains overt and unchanged.
Xi Jinping told President Joe Biden as much when they met in November 2023. Either help us get Taiwan “peacefully” or we’ll get it another way. We’re not waiting forever.
‘China Hands’ Biding Time
However, the “China hands” are deflating the threat. It’s the same old litany. “Xi wouldn’t dare.” “The PLA’s not ready.” Or, at worst, as claimed by a retired US Navy 4-star, whose Asia experience is rather thin, we have a 10-year “grace period” before China is ready or willing to move.
Something is abnormal about this. As if they are buying time while setting up Taiwan for handover to the Chinese Communist Party. Sure, once it happens there’ll be plenty of tutting, condemnation, and even “profound concern” (and a few “no one could have foreseen it”). But nothing much else.
Can’t risk World War III, you know. And we just don’t have the forces anyway.
Wall Street and the Quislings who gave Xi (of Uyghur concentration camps, human organ harvesting, and strangling Hong Kong) two standing ovations at dinner in San Francisco last November, will insist we restore the status quo.
And it’s not just Taiwan.
The Filipinos have stuck their necks out by publicly defending their maritime territory over the last year. The Chinese have warned them repeatedly and are about to hammer them.
The Americans are talking a good game, but don’t seem willing to do what would really help. That is, send the US Navy and Air Force to accompany Philippine boats trying to protect their country.
In 2012, the Chinese bamboozled the head of the State Department’s East Asian and Pacific Affairs Bureau. His name is still mud in the Philippines.
He will soon be the Assistant Secretary of State (I’m not making this up). The Filipinos are worried that the Americans just might leave them hanging out to dry once again.
They have reason to worry.
EDITORS NOTE: This Center for Security Policy column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.