The Biden Administration is implementing a plan to draw Taiwan into a direct military confrontation with the People’s Republic of China. The plan bears many similarities to the strategy that was used in Ukraine where Russia was goaded into invading the country in response to emerging threats to its national security. In this case, Beijing is expected to react to mounting challenges to its territorial integrity by US proxies and their political allies operating in Taiwan. These incitements will inevitably lead to greater material support from the United States which has stealthily worked behind the scenes (and in the media) to create a crisis. The ultimate objective of these machinations, is to arm, train and provide logistical support for Taiwanese separatists who will spearhead Washington’s proxy war on China. According to a number of independent reports, there is already growing operational collaboration between the Taiwanese Army and US Armed Forces. That collaboration will undoubtedly deepen after hostilities break out and the island is plunged into war.
The plan to confront China militarily was outlined in the 2022 National Security Strategy in which the PRC was identified as “America’s most consequential geopolitical challenge” who expressed its “intent to reshape the international order.” This NSS analysis was followed by an explicit commitment to prevail in the struggle to control the “Indo-Pacific” region which “fuels much of the world’s economic growth and will be the epicenter of 21st century geopolitics.”...(“No region will be of more significance to …everyday Americans than the Indo-Pacific.”) Biden’s NSS emphasizes the critical role the military will play in the impending confrontation with China: “We will…modernize and strengthen our military so it is equipped for the era of strategic competition with major powers”… “America will not hesitate to use force to defend our national interests”.
Drawing China into a Taiwan quagmire is the first phase of a broader containment strategy aimed at preserving America’s top spot in the global order while preventing China from becoming the region’s dominant economy. The plan also includes economic, cyber and informational elements that are designed to work in concert with the military component. In its entirety, the strategy represents Washington’s best effort to roll-back the clock to the heyday of the unipolar world order when America set the global agenda and the United States had no rival.
Trouble in Taiwan
Taiwan is not a country. Taiwan is an island off the coast of China much like Santa Catalina is an island off the coast of California. No one disputes that Santa Catalina is part of the United States, just as no one disputes that Taiwan is a part of China. The issue was settled long ago, and the US agrees with the results of that settlement. For all practical purposes, the issue has been resolved.
The United Nations does not recognize Taiwan’s independence nor do the 181 countries that have established diplomatic relations with China. In fact, the UN adopted a General Assembly Resolution back in 1971 acknowledging the “People’s Republic of China as the sole legal government representing the whole of China.”
The One-China policy explicitly relates to the status of Taiwan. Taiwan is part of China, that’s what the One-China policy means. Nations that want to have relations with China must agree on the status of Taiwan; it is the foundational principle upon which all relations with China are based. The issue is not debatable. One can either accept that ‘Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory’ or take their business elsewhere. There is no third option.
The United States claims that it is committed to the One-China policy. In their recent visits to Beijing, all three senior-level officials from the Biden Administration (Anthony Blinken, Janet Yellen and John Kerry) publicly stated their unwavering support for the One-China policy. This is an excerpt from an article at Forbes:
Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated the U.S.’ position on its One China policy as he met with China’s leader Xi Jinping Monday, saying it does not support Taiwanese independence and that containing China’s economy was not an American goal….
Blinken said the U.S. held a “One China” policy and does not support Taiwanese independence, but is concerned about China’s “provocative actions” along the Taiwan Strait. Blinken Tells Xi Jinping U.S. Does Not Support Taiwanese Independence, After Meeting To Quell Tensions, Forbes
President Joe Biden has also stated his support for the One-China principle on many, many occasions, which is what you would expect since it is the official position of the United States government. Here’s a short recap on the issue from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
The US made the following commitments to China regarding the one-China principle in the three China-US joint communiqués.
In the Shanghai Communiqué released in 1972, the US explicitly stated that “The United States acknowledges that all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China. The United States Government does not challenge that position”.
In the Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations released in 1978, the US clearly stated that, “The Government of the United States of America acknowledges the Chinese position that there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China”.
In the August 17 Communiqué released in 1982, the US unequivocally stated that “In the Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations on January 1, 1979, issued by the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Government of the United States of America, the United States of America recognized the Government of the People’s Republic of China as the sole legal Government of China, and it acknowledged the Chinese position that there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China”, and that “it has no intention of infringing on Chinese sovereignty and territorial integrity, or interfering in China’s internal affairs, or pursuing a policy of ‘two Chinas’ or ‘one China, one Taiwan’”. (China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
The western media would like their readers to think there is some “gray area” here and that the issue regarding China’s sovereign territory has not been settled. But—as we have shown—it has been settled. Taiwan is China. We must assume therefore that the media is being intentionally misleading in order to garner support for an “independence” movement that serves only one purpose; to legitimize the arming and training of US assets and insurgents that will be used in a bloody conflagration with China. In truth, the United States is laying the groundwork for a proxy-war on China, and Taiwan has been designated as the frontlines in that war. The independence movement is merely the cover Washington has chosen to conceal its real objectives.
This is why Taiwan has become a flashpoint in US-China relations. This is why numerous US-led delegations have visited Taiwan expressing their tacit support for Taiwan independence. This is why Congress has allocated millions of dollars to provide lethal weaponry for the Taiwanese military. This is why the US Navy has sent warships through the Taiwan Strait and conducted massive military drills on China’s perimeter. This is why Washington continues to provoke Beijing on the one issue that it is most sensitive. All of these incitements were conjured-up with one goal in mind: War with China. This is from Politico:
The Biden administration announced a $345 million weapons package for Taiwan on Friday, the first tranche in a total of $1 billion the U.S. has allotted to be transferred directly from Pentagon stockpiles to the island this year.
The move is sure to anger China as Washington has been trying to rebuild relations with Beijing. Senior administration officials, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, recently visited China, but the outreach has done little to quell tensions over a range of issues, from U.S. support to Taiwan to Beijing’s spy balloon program.
“We take our responsibilities to Taiwan and to improving their self-defense capabilities very, very seriously,” John Kirby, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, told reporters ahead of the announcement on Friday. “U.S. announces $345M weapons package for Taiwan, Politico
Repeat: “The move is sure to anger China.”
Indeed, the move was designed to anger China. That was clearly the point. But, why? Why is Washington challenging China on an issue on which there is virtually universal agreement?
Two reasons come to mind:
- To goad China into overreacting and thus alienating itself from its allies and regional trading partners.
- To turn public opinion against China by portraying the country as a violent aggressor that poses a clear threat to its neighbors.
Here’s more from the World Socialist Web Site:
The US announced last Friday that it will provide Taiwan with $345 million in weapons as the first tranche of an annual $1 billion in military equipment. The announcement marks another step to arm Taiwan to the teeth as Washington escalates its provocative confrontation with China….
the Biden administration has used the same provision to supply Ukraine with billions of dollars in US military equipment to intensify the war against Russia. Just as it goaded Russia into a conflict in Ukraine, the US is deliberately provoking a conflict with China over Taiwan.
… a Chinese embassy spokesman in Washington, Liu Pengyu, stated: “China is firmly opposed to US’s military ties with and arms sales to Taiwan.” He warned the US to “stop selling arms to Taiwan, stop creating new factors that could lead to tensions in the Taiwan Strait and stop posing risks to peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.”
The US is intentionally undermining the One China policy, which de facto acknowledges Beijing as the legitimate government of all China, including Taiwan, and formed the basis of US-Chinese diplomatic relations established in 1979. Washington knows full well that China has long warned that it would respond with force to any declaration of independence by Taipei.
Preparing for war with China, US provides $345 million in arms to Taiwan, World Socialist Web Site
Imagine if China sent millions of dollars of lethal weapons to a budding secessionist movement in Texas. Imagine if they offered to arm and train Texan separatists in counterinsurgency warfare so they could kill as many American soldiers as possible. Imagine if China sent one political delegation after the other to Austin (Texas) to embolden the rebels and to offer them moral and material support. Imagine if China deployed part of their fleet and airforce to ports and bases near Texas so they could join in the fray when blows were exchanged and the fighting broke out.
How would Washington react to those developments? Would they be as restrained as the Chinese leadership has been in dealing with the relentless US meddling and provocations?
And, ask yourself this: Haven’t we seen this drill before? Didn’t this same scenario unfold in Ukraine following the CIA-backed coup in 2014 after which the US armed and trained Ukrainian forces to dig-in and provoke hostilities with Russia? Didn’t Washington deliberately choose an issue on which Russia was particularly sensitive in order to ‘get a rise’ out of Moscow?
Of course, they did. In his 22 years in office, President Putin has never started a war. In contrast, in America’s 247-year history, there have been only 16 years when the US was not at war. It is an astonishing record of violence that has no equal. As former President Jimmy Carter said, “The United States is the most warlike country on earth.”
People who have been following developments closely in US-China news, know that Team Biden has been playing a game of “good cop, bad cop” in which US diplomats have been making every effort to ingratiate themselves with the Chinese leadership (to assuage the allies) while—at the same time—pumping Taiwan full of weapons hoping to incite Beijing. The objective of this charade is to preserve so-called “strategic ambiguity” on the one hand while ratchetting up the savagery on the other. Regrettably, the tactic seems to be working. Chinese leaders are getting progressively more irritated which leads us to believe that, eventually, Uncle Sam will get the war he is looking for. At least, that is how things played-out in Ukraine. Here’s more from the WSWS:
Last week the Taiwanese military carried out its annual, multi-day war games known as the Han Kuang exercises, focused on repelling a Chinese invasion of the island. This year’s drills dealt more heavily than previously on threats to major infrastructure and transportation hubs, including the island’s main Taoyuan international airport….
Speaking to the media, Taiwan’s premier Chen Chien-jen justified the exercises, declaring: “Today’s drills in Tainan, include the simulation of wartime scenarios, is not only because of the increased international sensitivity triggered by Russia’s war in Ukraine. It’s even more a reflection of the constant threats and provocations from China directed at our country.”
The reality is that the US, not China, has upended the status quo in North East Asia, setting the stage for a conflict in the Indo-Pacific between nuclear-armed powers, even as it intensifies the war with Russia in Ukraine. Just as it has sacrificed countless Ukrainian soldiers and civilians, so it is prepared to do the same in Taiwan and is marshalling its regional allies including Japan, South Korea and Australia, for war. World Socialist Web Site
All of these developments suggest that US plans for a kinetic conflict with China are in a very advanced stage and that the Taiwan powder-keg could be ignited at any time. A number of recent polls indicate that the American people—who remain completely ignorant of the events we have discussed here—have been conditioned to regard China as an unscrupulous competitor and a growing threat to national security. According to a recent survey from Gallup, US public opinion of China has fallen off a cliff. Here’s an excerpt from the report:
A record-low 15% of Americans view China favorably,…… More than eight in 10 U.S. adults have a negative opinion of China, including 45% who view it very unfavorably and 39% mostly unfavorably….
In addition to holding a largely unfavorable opinion of China, more Americans name China as the United States’ greatest enemy than any other nation by a wide margin. This view is closely linked to two other measures in the poll, which find that Americans broadly believe China’s military and economic powers represent a “critical threat” to the United States’ vital interests in the next decade. “Record-Low 15% of Americans View China Favorably, Gallup
Additionally, the PEW Research Center produced the same grim results:
Naturally, a great deal of the animus towards China is the result of the media’s relentless propaganda which is aimed at demonizing America’s most formidable economic rival. Consider, for example, how the American people were whipped into a frenzy over a Chinese balloon that drifted off-course and traversed parts of the US posing no threat to anyone. The media transformed this inconsequential incident into a lurid tale of international espionage as the errant civilian airship was dubbed the “Chinese spy balloon” whose nefarious purpose was to “gather intelligence from several sensitive American military sites”. Now we can see how trivial incidents like this are being used to smear Washington’s enemies and prepare the people for war.
Is War With China Inevitable?
Foreign policy mandarins on both sides of the aisle have repeatedly pushed for America’s deeper involvement in Central Asia. Grandmaster Zbigniew Brzezinski first made the case in his classic The Grand Chessboard where he said:
“..how America ‘manages’ Eurasia is critical. A power that dominates Eurasia would control two of the world’s three most advanced and economically productive regions. A mere glance at the map also suggests that control over Eurasia would almost automatically entail Africa’s subordination, rendering the Western Hemisphere and Oceania (Australia) geopolitically peripheral to the world’s central continent. About 75 per cent of the world’s people live in Eurasia, and most of the world’s physical wealth is there as well, both in its enterprises and underneath its soil. Eurasia accounts for about three-fourths of the world’s known energy resources.” Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard,Wikiquote
His views have been universally supported among the Washington pundit class and their chief proponents like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who said:
“It is becoming increasingly clear that, in the 21st century, the world’s strategic and economic center of gravity will be the Asia-Pacific, from the Indian subcontinent to western shores of the Americas.”…
“Harnessing Asia’s growth and dynamism is central to American economic and strategic interests…. Open markets in Asia provide the United States with unprecedented opportunities for investment, trade, and access to cutting-edge technology…..American firms (need) to tap into the vast and growing consumer base of Asia.” “America’s Pacific Century”, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton”, Foreign Policy Magazine
And here’s one more from former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter’s speech at the McCain Institute at Arizona State University:
(The) ” Asia-Pacific…is the defining region for our nation’s future”… “Half of humanity will live there by 2050″ and that “more than half of the global middle class and its accompanying consumption will come from that region.”….”There are already more than 525 million middle class consumers in Asia, and we expect there to be 3.2 billion in the region by 2030…President Obama and I want to ensure that… businesses can successfully compete for all these potential customers. ….Over the next century, no region will matter more… for American prosperity.” Former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, Department of Defense
The above quotes help to underscore the importance the US places on it’s strategy for the region. China is not only the gateway to Central Asia, it is also the main obstacle to the US plans to establish itself as the regional hegemon. That is why there must be a strategy for dealing with China, a strategy that isolates, sanctions, contains and eventually subjugates America’s biggest rival. Not surprisingly, Biden’s 2022 National Security Strategy articulates that plan in clear, unambiguous terms that leaves no doubt that the country is headed for war. Here are a few excerpts from the 48-page document:
The post-Cold War era is definitively over and a competition is underway between the major powers to shape what comes next… We will build the strongest and broadest possible coalition of nations that seek to cooperate with each other, while competing with those powers that offer a darker vision and thwarting their efforts to threaten our interests… We will…modernize and strengthen our military so it is equipped for the era of strategic competition with major powers,..
The Indo-Pacific fuels much of the world’s economic growth and will be the epicenter of 21st century geopolitics. ………..No region will be of more significance to the world and to everyday Americans than the Indo-Pacific… We reaffirm our iron-clad commitments to our Indo-Pacific treaty allies… America will not hesitate to use force when necessary to defend our national interests… The military will act urgently to sustain and strengthen deterrence, with the PRC as its pacing challenge….
The PRC is the only competitor with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to do it…. The American military is the strongest fighting force the world has ever known……America will not hesitate to use force when necessary to defend our national interests….
Around the world, the need for American leadership is as great as it has ever been. … …. We will partner with any nation that shares our basic belief that the rules-based order must remain the foundation for global peace and prosperity.. There is nothing beyond our capacity. We can do this—for our future and for the world. National Security Strategy, White House
- The Indo-Pacific is now America’s top foreign policy priority because that is the area that will experience the most growth
- The US will lead with its military and with the allies who share US interests
- “We will…modernize and strengthen our military” to prevail in our “strategic competition with major powers.”
- America’s Number 1 enemy is China; “the PRC presents America’s most consequential geopolitical challenge ….The PRC is the only competitor with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to do it…”
- “The post-Cold War era is over” but the United States is prepared to preserve the “rules-based order” whatever the cost in blood and treasure.
This is America’s foreign policy in a nutshell. US leaders and their globalist allies are fully committed to prevailing in today’s great power struggle with Russia and China. They have a clear grasp of the objectives they want to achieve and they are prepared to risk anything, including nuclear war, to achieve them. Any developments in Taiwan must be seen through the lens of Washington’s geopolitical ambitions which are clearly driving events.
Mike Whitney writes on politics and finances and lives in Washington state. He can be reached at [email protected]