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DECEMBER 2022

Conflict Over Taiwan Could Spiral Out Of Control Across The Himalayas

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Conflict Over Taiwan Could Spiral Out Of Control Across The Himalayas

Honour guards perform the Taiwan national flag lowering ceremony at Liberty Square in Taipei, on April 1, 2020

Both world wars have shown how crossing red lines may have unpredictable consequences.

Written by Uriel Araujo, researcher with a focus on international and ethnic conflicts

The Athenian general and military historian Thucydides famously wrote that the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta had become inevitable because the latter feared the former’s rising power. “Thucydides Trap” is a term coined by US political scientist Graham T. Allison (based on the Greek thinker’s insight) to describe the situation in which an emerging power threatens to displace the current regional hegemon, and thus war becomes very likely. Some experts doubt the accuracy or usefulness of such a concept as an explanatory tool that could be generalized, but this notion has traditionally been employed to describe the risk of a conflict between China and the United States – and today it seems to have become even more relevant, especially if one considers that  the American Establishment sees the end of unipolarity as a kind of an existential challenge.

American-Chinese differences have been described as irreconcilable for a while – and yet a certain degree of strategic ambiguity on both sides (pertaining to foreign’s policy) has made such differences manageable for decades. Washington, however, broke this very ambiguity regarding Taiwan: commenting on how the US is overextending its power, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace scholar Stephen Wertheim  argues that for many years Washington agreed with the One China Policy while maintaining some level of ambiguity about the issue of Taiwan. The logic, from a US perspective, was not provoking the Chinese into thinking they have no choice but to act there. However, by radically reviewing its One China Policy, as shown by Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island of Taiwan, the Atlantic superpower cornered Beijing, thereby increasing tensions – as exemplified by China’s recent military exercise blockading Formosa.

Proposals such as the Taiwan Policy Act of 2022 and the Accelerating Arms Transfers to Taiwan Act (H.R. 8842) show that large sectors of the American political elite want to repeat the Ukrainian experience in Taiwan, as Washington is actively pursuing a dual containment policy targeting both Russia and China simultaneously. In October 2021, Graham T. Allison wrote, quite convincingly, that the United States could in fact lose a hypothetical war with Beijing over Taiwan because the military power balance in the region has changed and the era of US military supremacy there has come to an end. This is something Washington should consider.

Amid the current new cold war, Beijing is in fact facing containment from several directions, as exemplified by new groupings such as QUAD, AUKUS and also by the fact that NATO has recently labeled China as a “systemic challenge”, as argues Jagannath Panda, an  Indo-Pacific issues expert who heads the Stockholm Center for South Asian and Indo-Pacific Affairs (SCSA-IPA).

Moreover, while China has been defining its bilateral relationship with the US as aiming at a kind of peaceful coexistence, the latter, on the other hand, has framed their relationship in terms of  confrontational great power rivalry, according to Singapore’s East Asian Institute visiting senior research fellow Paul Haenle. Such diverging frameworks have in fact contributed to bringing about a stalemate, as  China’s Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng warned in July 2021. Beijing sees the American growing military presence in South Asia (and particularly in Southeast Asia) as threatening and resents the fact that Washington does not acknowledge its own political and economical system as valid.

The US-China equation (“Thucydides” or not) is complicated enough in itself, but there is yet another risk: A Taiwan conflict resulting from Western provocations could affect the delicate balance of India’s own ambiguous relationship with China and spiral into sparking an Indian-Chinese war, according to Jagannath Panda. New Delhi has been advancing their country’s neutrality, thus making it a kind of a buffer between the West and Beijing, and, he argues, the Chinese reconciliatory tone towards India is partly a response to the latter’s courting by the West.

More recently, both Asian powers have removed their troops from their disputed border area, and in doing so, they have both taken a potential step towards the new Asian century. However, if China were to occupy Taiwan as a response to American provocations, this would dramatically damage New Delhi’s trust of its neighbor, as this trust is based on the need for economic cooperation but not to the exclusion of national security (from an Indian perspective) – hence the risk of a conflict spilling across the Himalayas.

This is of course just a scenario, but in any case bold moves (such as crossing red lines) and escalations of tensions may have unintended and unpredictable consequences, which in turn may spiral out of control – as both world wars have shown us. It’s therefore urgent that Washington put a halt to its dangerous dual containment policy and exercise restraint, while establishing good diplomacy, before a point of no return is reached.

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vietnam

south front went too far on this. not sure how is that possible? taiwan is a small island just off china southern coast within a stone’s throw. south front read geography wrong? south front just figured it out itself? once ukraine is done, it is gonna be either south korea or taiwan.

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Donnchadh

“This is of course just a scenario”- last paragraph it sounds to me like a US propaganda prophesy to cause a military clash between India & China –Modi isn’t that stupid when both sides have withdrawn troops and there is talk of economic cooperation .

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vietnam

what is disturbing about south front is that it tends to buy into PSYOP, the infamous yanquis mockingbird operation of generating lies and pump yanquis what is left of their life. it is a sign of desperation. it doesn’t take rocket scientist to figure it out. africa is no go for yanquis, south latin america is no go for yanquis, asia is becoming no go for yanquis.

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Blek

Taiwan is an island smaller than the donbass region in Ukraine. It sits at a little over 100km from mainland China. It’s isolated (as an island) and can’t be fed weapons in form of a proxy war like Ukraine. A war there would not look pretty and would not last very long.

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nostradamus

but usa stationed some nukes there. thats why. also taiwan is a nice go between for usa sanction policies china want to keep the technology flowing and for now feed the markets with goods too.

Blek

There are no nukes in Taiwan and any similar soft of weaponry nearby would get Guam under the sea.

FHTEX

Nothing will change the course of Eurasian integration. India is now firmly in the Eurasian camp, led by its longtime ally Russia and its former rival China and the Central Asian energy giant Iran. The author needs to get out of Europe to see the writing on the wall.

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Darius

“However, if China were to occupy Taiwan as a response to American provocations, this would dramatically damage New Delhi’s trust of its neighbor, ”

China were not to “occupy” Taiwan , since it is original Chinese territory. And I think it would not necessary damage New Delhi’s trust ; it is just a wet American dream; the fears which are spread in such articles try to provoke such a damage. New clashes or even war between China and India would be the best for the so called West , but it will not happen. They hope in vain. China has really many border problems , but Taiwan Question is quite special and can’t be compared to the other countries like India, Vietnam etc

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Captain Hohol

Taiwan was created by Chinese people fleeing Mao’s revolution, it isn’t the property of communist china, and never was.

Ziological Warefare

The US is a satanic monster in need of beheading….they will bring it onto themselves and the bagel bakers will need to find a new sugar daddy to suck dry

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AC VV DI

It is a matter of logic US escalations regarding the status and armament of Taiwan will in time exceed limits of restraint currently displayed by China. Indeed, the US is largely replicating the Ukraine format (integration into military-missile architecture, involving an objective of achieving close proximity fast strike potential). As US-NATO-allied bloc operationally supported Ukrainian escalations against the ethnically Russian populations of the LDNR eventually triggered a Russian military response (as was the US intention, to engineer ‘another Afghanistan’ for Russia), so will US escalations regarding Taiwan result in war. All parties are preparing for this situation assessed as almost inevitable by various analysts.

US involvement in this war scenario is certain, as is the inevitable response by the PLA. Note :Reports indicate Russia will assist China in such a war scenario. As Australia will be a key platform for offensive allied military and naval blockade operations, it would be prudent for the military commands of Russia and China to quietly prepare accordingly.

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Last edited 2 months ago by AC VV DI
Daniel

Today 27 September on RT, article by Elizaveta Naumova about Iran

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AC VV DI

In addition to US-allied preparations to wage another war, this time against China, it is important to note the US is also currently escalating tensions regarding the DPRK with the latter warning of war. As the DPRK will not abandon its nuclear deterrence capabilities and as the US is uncompromising in the objectives of regime change and ‘denuclearization’ (considered as required to minimize the retaliatory potential of the DPRK upon a kinetic stage of operations), war is also a logical eventual outcome. The PRC will not allow US-allied forces to establish a presence in the DPRK meaning the PLA would become involved. When US-NATO-allied bloc escalations of the US engineered war in Ukraine (intended to engineer ‘another Afghanistan’ for Russia) are considered in the context of approaching situations of US-led wars against China and the DPRK (the ME concurrently moving towards a multi-front conflict due to escalations by the Israeli regime), the foundations of a world war should be evident. It would be prudent to monitor these development closely as they precede a logical outcome (this gradually unfolding world war occurring in a nuclear era). Note: This does not translate to human extinction but would eclipse all previous wars.

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