Is Taiwan the next? – The New York Times
A fragile peace
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has raised concerns that the world is returning to a Cold War-like period in which the most powerful nations competed for dominance.
That means not only Russia exercises control over Eastern Europe, but also China imposes itself on East and Southeast Asia – especially Taiwan.
China has claimed Taiwan since the island split from the mainland in 1949 and has threatened to force the two sides to reunite. It made the issue a priority: Days after the Russian invasion, Chinese officials reiterated that they were committed to “solving the Taiwan issue.” During Friday’s call with President Biden about the Russian invasion, the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, seems more interested about the fate of Taiwan rather than the war in Ukraine.
China, like Russia, seems to see the void after the Western powers retreated from the world stage, standing aside from internal strife and America’s failed wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the West, victory in the Cold War convinced many that a new democratic world order would maintain peace – without realizing how fragile that peace really was.
“People have forgotten about great power politics,” said Jennifer Lind, an expert on East Asia at Dartmouth College. “People were hoping we had changed international politics, but we didn’t.”
However, Russia’s failure to date to tame Ukraine, and the West’s haste in punishing and isolating Russia for its invasion, will make major or emerging powers skeptical of its potential consequences. similar intrusions, experts say.
China, after all, has benefited from relatively peaceful world order of recent decades; it turned into America’s only real economic rival as the world became more and more integrated. An invasion of Taiwan could disrupt that order and potentially isolate China from the global economy, as Russia’s experience has shown.
So what happens in Taiwan will likely be influenced by what happens in Ukraine. If Russia succeeds in overcoming Ukraine, that will increase the risk for Taiwan. If Russia eventually pulls out, or suffers long-term, damaging consequences, that could be good news for the island.
Because the Russian invasion was less effective, Chinese officials are likely to be more cautious about sending troops into Taiwan, said Liang-chih Evans Chen at the Institute for Defense and Security Studies in Taiwan. .
That would be a relief for Taiwan, an island of nearly 24 million people with a strong liberal democracy – it is the only Asian government to legally allow same-sex marriage – and a strong economy. modern economy.
Taiwan does not expect that it can completely defeat China’s powerful military, especially without direct assistance from the United States, instead, it aims to make a The war seemed so costly to China that they could not invade.
The war in Ukraine has shown how this can happen. By American estimates, Ukrainian resistance was fiercer than anyone expected – killing thousands of Russian troops. The same can be proved to be true in Taiwan, where polls find nearly three-quarters of the population is ready to resist the Chinese invasion.
The West’s sweeping sanctions against Russia also suggest that an invasion of Taiwan could cause economic damage to China. Along with the weapons being shipped to Ukraine, the sanctions show Western countries’ willingness to support democracies under attack.
Western resolve could go even further in Taiwan, with the possibility of US forces intervening directly against an invasion. Biden has said that the US military will not fight in Ukraine, but the US keeps intentionally ambiguous line on Taiwan.
China has strengths that Russia does not. Its economy is much larger and more diversified, lessening the damage that sanctions can do. The countries that will impose sanctions on China, from the US to European nations to Japan, often depend more on trade with China than on trade with Russia.
Unlike Ukraine, Taiwan is not globally recognized as an independent country – not even by the US – potentially leading to questions about whether China’s attack is an invasion. or not.
China also has a great military advantage, with about one million active-duty ground troops, compared with Taiwan’s 88,000. (Though, unlike Russia, China would have to cross 100 miles of water to invade—a difficult and complicated undertaking.)
The response to Russia’s invasion also shows some limits to the West’s readiness, with countries refusing to send troops to defend Ukraine. And America’s ambiguity about Taiwan leaves room for American forces not to go to war.
Most importantly, China has time: Any invasion of Taiwan could take years, if it happens, experts say. That gives China time to build up its military, insulate its economy from possible sanctions, study what Russia went wrong in Ukraine, and see if the West’s resolve is indeed right. are not.
Thus, the return of the political powers may depend on the outcome of the war in Ukraine – and whether it is ultimately worthy of Russia’s view.
Russia has made a significant profit yesterday. The force has advanced into the besieged city center of Mariupol, moving closer to linking its forces in southern Ukraine with its separatist allies in the east.
Mariupol was one of the places where Russian forces dealt a blow to the Ukrainian army. Russia too destroy a barracks south, killing at least 40 marines in one of the deadliest attacks on Ukrainian forces since the war began, and knocking down an arsenal in the west.
Russia said it used hypersonic missiles to destroy the depot, but that cannot be independently verified. The missile launch would be an escalation and the first use of such a weapon in combat; They can travel at five times the speed of sound.
Russia seems to be gearing up for a long fight around Kyiv, its biggest prize. Satellite images show Russian forces setting up defensive positions.
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