Will Taiwan take centre stage in the US-China conflict?

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Will Taiwan take centre stage in the US-China conflict?

The United States has been the world’s overshadowing power for the last 100 years. America’s global hegemony was cemented in 1945, with the US economy accounting for almost half of the global economy. Following the victory in the Cold War and the fall of the Soviet Union, the United States positioned itself as the new international order’s regulator, establishing a unipolar world. Nonetheless, in the last two decades, things have drastically altered. By withdrawing from several international organisations and treaties, former US President Trump has further isolated the US from the rest of the globe.

In contrast, China has risen to become the world’s top trading partner, strengthening its global position. After Trump left the White House, the primary question in US foreign policy was how to deal with China. According to Biden, China has emerged as the primary adversary of US strategic goals today. Biden also claims to have formed a particular working group within the Pentagon to develop a new China strategy. Yet, China and the United States are also engaged in a diplomatic conflict that extends beyond the economy, especially over Taiwan, China’s renegade island country. Chinese officials consider Taiwan to be a breakaway province that must be reintegrated into the country’s borders. At the same time, the United States regards Taiwan as a sovereign state that has aided the United States in resisting Beijing’s rising power.

Nevertheless, China seems to be planning to reclaim control of Taiwan based on reliable facts. From the Deng Xiaoping Revolution to today’s confrontational attitude, China’s foreign policy has changed dramatically over the years. So far, the essential US attempts to enhance deterrence against a possible Chinese invasion of Taiwan have been as follows:

1. Arm Taiwan with advanced weapons to increase the military and human costs that Beijing would bear in the event of a full-fledged invasion. Today, the United States considers sending billions of dollars in sophisticated weaponry to Taiwan and strengthening strategic relations with the anti-communist island. As a result, Taiwan is fast becoming a flashpoint for tensions between Beijing and Washington, potentially sparking WWIII.

2-Washington sought to intensify its economic sanctions on China, wage a global isolation campaign against Beijing, and instil universal anti-Chinese sentiments. If China succeeds in annexing Taiwan, the US military will lose its first, most significant base in East and Southeast Asia, presenting a severe challenge to the US’s worldwide supremacy. Thus, the United States is becoming more concerned about China’s military buildup in the South China Sea. Consequently, the US intends to exhort its other allies, like Australia, to join in protecting Taiwan. Japan may prevent China from invading Taiwan in a possible military conflict by turning cruise ships into aircraft carriers and stationing ballistic missiles on the Ryukyu Islands, situated near Taiwan.

Furthermore, several observers believe that the US is trying to combine both engagement and containment strategies with China under President Biden’s leadership. Although the Biden administration has long used the term “engagement” to refer to its attempts to de-escalate tensions with China, the White House is gradually abandoning diplomatic initiatives. In fact, the US strives to impede Beijing’s political ascendancy both internationally and within East Asia through engagement with traditional allies in Europe, India, Japan, Australia, and South Korea. As a consequence of Beijing’s firm stance on Taiwan, the US’ future activities in the South China Sea will be crucial in a potential military confrontation between China and Taiwan. If the United States tries to exacerbate the ideological schism between China and Taiwan by pitting the idea of a communist and totalitarian China vis-à-vis a so-called free and democratic Taiwan, a major military confrontation between Beijing and Taipei is almost certain to occur.

A direct military confrontation between China and the United States over Taiwan, on the other hand, is highly improbable since a military conflict between the two countries would quickly spread throughout the world. Russia, North Korea, Iran, and Pakistan are allies of China, and they will not sit idly by if the US goes to war with the Chinese dragon.

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