The Big Ideas

‘China faces fateful choices, especially involving Taiwan’
‘China faces fateful choices, especially involving Taiwan’
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February 18, 2021
BIG IDEA | 'Should Mr Xi order the People’s Liberation Army to take Taiwan, his decision will be shaped by one judgment above all: whether America can stop him. If China ever believes it can complete the task at a bearable cost, it will act.’ ‘
BIG IDEA | ‘To many Chinese, Taiwan’s recovery is not just a sacred national mission. Its fulfilment would also signal that American global leadership is coming to an end. If China ever believes it can complete the task at a bearable cost, it will act.’

'If, one day, an armoured Red Flag limousine carries Mr Xi as a conqueror through the streets of the island’s capital, Taipei, he will become a Communist immortal.’

  • ‘He will join Mao Zedong as co-victor of a Chinese civil war that was left unfinished in 1949 when the defeated Nationalist regime fled to exile in Taiwan.’

‘Should Mr Xi order the People’s Liberation Army to take Taiwan, his decision will be shaped by one judgment above all:’

  • ‘whether America can stop him.’

‘To many Chinese, Taiwan’s recovery is not just a sacred national mission.’

  • ‘Its fulfilment would also signal that American global leadership is coming to an end.’
  • ‘If China ever believes it can complete the task at a bearable cost, it will act.’

‘Robert Blackwill, a former national-security aide to George W. Bush and co-author of a new paper by the CFR, “The United States, China and Taiwan: A Strategy to Prevent War”, wants America to create credible “geoeconomic deterrence”, as well as to shore up the military kind.’

  • ‘He says America, and allies such as Japan, should make clear that China will be expelled from dollar-based financial and trading systems if it attacks Taiwan.’

‘Alas, the hardest part of deterring China involves building robust coalitions that are ready to challenge Chinese aggression.’

  • ‘Today, there is no consensus among America’s regional allies that Taiwan’s survival is a vital interest over which it is worth angering China, often their largest trade partner.’

‘Meanwhile Chinese leaders are trying to reduce their country’s vulnerability to external economic pressure.’

My Take

Not much to say here, except the primary aim of the Biden administration and the ones following is to ensure that the cost of invading Taiwan is not bearable to China.

The good news is that the Biden team seems to understand this. The rest is detail.