No Minister


Adolf’s post on MAD/Flexible response (call it what you will) referenced Taiwan. Got me thinking. What would be the reaction of the ‘West’ should China move to ‘liberate’ Taiwan by force … something China has never ruled out doing. One suspects the days when the US 7th fleet acted as a trip-wire and shield against possible Chinese aggression have long gone. The rapid expansion of the Chinese Navy has put paid to that and then you need to factor into the equation that, in the United States, both major parties have become more isolationist in thinking and less inclined to act as the ‘worlds policemen’ as was their wont up until not so long ago.

Just look what happened when China moved to stamp out democratic protest in Hongkong … lotsa disapproving noises but not much more and right now Taiwan is increasingly isolated. The ROC government is recognised by only fifteen countries … the majority of them enjoying ‘tin-pot’ status of the likes of Haiti, Eswatini (never heard of it), Tuvalu, Nauru, Saint Lucia; Marshall Islands and Palau and, while a number of countries (including New Zealand) have trade or cultural links with Taiwan, the vast majority of the world (119 countries) recognise Beijing and have no representation in Taiwan (including non-political, non-diplomatic and non-intergovernmental representation).

The reality is that for all the bluster and rhetoric the US/China relationship is important to both countries and one suspects there is a growing body of opinion that would have it that the China/Taiwan question is an internal problem for China to sort out and, while the use of force is to be abhorred, there would be no repeat of what occurred in Korea when the North Koreans invaded the south … couldn’t happen anyway … in the UN China exercises the veto as a permanent member of the Security Council. Certainly Taiwan does not appear now to enjoy ‘line in the sand’ status with the United States as say Israel does.

No, all that would occur would be a certain ritual gnashing of teeth by the West. China will do what it has always said it was going to do at a time of its own choosing and that time may be closer than we think.

Pity the Taiwanese.

Written by The Veteran

July 18, 2021 at 1:50 pm

Posted in China, General Politics, USA

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16 Responses

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  1. Start making plans to move as many Taiwanese people as possible to the USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, NZ, etc, along with their industries. Perhaps sit down with the major silicon chip manufacturers of Taiwan and start figuring out how to do joint deals with them to have manufacturing in place in Western nations, ready for a rapid expansion should China’s threat grow.

    Three pros on that admittedly rather drastic approach:

    It would be a pro-active approach to what has happened in the past (Jews in Europe 1930’s) and what the Taiwanese people may do themselves.

    It would be a scorched earth policy for China. So they get Taiwan, so what? They don’t get the people, their brains, wealth or any industry.

    It would start to reduce the dependence of the rest of the world on Taiwan for silicon chips. Given how reliant modern farm machinery is on that tech, we can no longer even say that we could still feed ourselves in such a scenario.

    Tom Hunter

    July 18, 2021 at 2:05 pm

    • Most people in Taiwan identify as being Chinese and don’t want to move to the West Tom – they don’t have much in common with Manhattan Socialites or the attendees of the Folsom Street Fair

      You are displaying the typical patronizing, hubris that allows the malevolent people who promote things like CRT to make their case,

      If you look into it a large number of Taiwanese want to find a way of integrating into China while maintaining some form of autonomy and until a satisfactory formula is found for achieving this will be happy to remain with the status quo.

      Whether you like it or not every indicator there is suggests that this will be the Chinese century – the amount of Western Debt held by China is eye watering for example

      And it was Wall Street predatory Capitalists who moved much of Western manufacturing to China in the first place.

      China is on the rise and is doing this by being the worlds largest trading nation – the reason for expanding its navy is to protect its trade routes – this is not Rocket Science

      China has nothing to gain from a military takeover of Taiwan, it would be a dumb move and the Chinese leadership are smart people, not an attribute you can ascribe to most of our Western Leaders

      You yourself posted that photo of the winners of the 2021 Math Olympiad with the wry quote from “The Right Stuff” and you can guarantee that the guys in that photo are not spending their college days playing beer pong but rather using this time to come to grips with the Navier-Stokes Equations and the works of W. Edwards Deming.

      I go down to my local fish and chip shop, Tom, run by a Chinese Couple. The woman barely speaks English, they have three kids who help out at busy times. One is still at school, one is studying Medicine and the oldest is doing a Masters degree in Statistics.

      You go down there on a Friday night to get a fried rice and there is a guy with advanced knowledge of higher mathematics flipping burgers while his sister has taken a break from her anatomy texts to deep fry chips – this says everything

      Clogs to Clogs in three generations


      July 18, 2021 at 6:50 pm

    • Whether you like it or not every indicator there is suggests that this will be the Chinese century

      As I’ve pointed out to you before the Chinese will get old before they get rich, and they’re not exactly on Easy Street re debt themselves. So they own a $US trillion treasury bonds? The Japanese own the same amount. Who are they going to threaten to sell it too? Having said that, the biggest threat is that they’ll simply stop buying the shit.

      Besides that, the observations of Chinese work ethic and education are things occurring here in the West, and while many are taking their education and skills back to China I question whether a three thousand year old culture of conformity and obedience to authority will produce any more with such people than in the past. Frankly I don’t see a 21st century thousand flowers blooming there despite all that education, smarts and wealth to date.

      If we’re lucky that Chinese family you know will stay here and do good things for NZ. God knows we’ll need it given the other things you accurately describe about Western society.

      BTW – as with Wayne’s comment do you want me to make a correction to yours…..“Clogs to clogs” implies a reversion rather than an advance.

      Tom Hunter

      July 18, 2021 at 8:05 pm

  2. I agree with you Tom. Taiwan is the only manufacturing hub for a lot of technology, including stuff China is absolutely dependent on. China will be wanting to bluff its way into takeover. Its military prowess is very much unknown capability, having not fought any wars, even by proxy for 40 years. It has a lot of enemies on its borders – I don’t think any are “friends” apart from maybe the 40km the Taliban control. . I can’t imagine India or Russia taking too kindly to an expansionist China. They can more than rattle their sabres.
    China is very dependent on the rest of the world for its raw materials. Stop oil, coal and iron ore, and there would be internal revolt within the country. Look how their boycott of Australian coal turned out – wait till next winter there when everything shuts down because of no power..
    Not to say we shouln’t take the threat likely. We need to move away from China as a major trading partner, but easier said than done.

    Chris Morris

    July 18, 2021 at 2:40 pm

  3. The Veteran and Tom,

    It is inconceivable that you are both unaware of the sentiment toward China that has been developing in the US over the last decade. This is at a full bipartisan level.

    There may have been some doubt in the past about the US military commitment to Taiwan. In my view (and that of many commentators) such doubts are in the past. The US had become very determined on this point. And China is getting the message.

    If China was so foolish as to attempt to invade Taiwan, then the US will defend Taiwan. The Carriers would have to be to the east of Taiwan, but their aircraft would be able to cover into the Taiwan Strait. US submarines would be in the Taiwan Strait. Any invasion fleet would suffer staggering losses, and the invasion would fail.

    What could China do? Attack Guam, attack Japan, encourage the North Koreans to attack South Korea? The latter might be the most likely. While a North Korean attack would probably fail, it may not at least for some level of penetration. The North Koreans might even be able to seize Seoul, but they would pay an enormous price.

    In my view you can rule out any Chinese attack on Taiwan for at least the next ten years. In the meantime Taiwan needs to bolster its defences, and the US needs to sell them advanced weapon systems.

    MOD: Apologies in advance Wayne but I corrected your post to have “China” swapped for “Taiwan” in that third paragraph as I assume that’s what you meant. If not then pop in your corrected comment and I’ll swap it with this one.


    July 18, 2021 at 5:06 pm

    • In my view you can rule out any Chinese attack on Taiwan for at least the next ten years.

      I’d like to agree but as I pointed out in a 2019 post, Democracy dies in Darkness:

      retired U.S. Navy Captain, James Fanell, the former director of Intelligence and Information operations for the U.S. Pacific Fleet, gave testimony to the US House Committee on Intelligence Operations, in which he mapped out where he thinks China is going with all this over the next few decades. It’s 48 pages long but worth your time to read.

      He talks about the slow, steady buildup of the Chinese military but more importantly about the reasons for it. His argument is that China is focusing on the year 2049, the 100th anniversary of the Communist takeover of China, and the desire to have Taiwan “reunified” by then, preferably without firing a shot.
      And the strategy is based on what happened in Tiananmen Square and after

      Beijing believes the West can be counted on to forget even the most barbarous actions after about a 20- year time span.

      In other words, the Chinese Communist leadership have to make Taiwan part of a unified China by 2029.

      As I’ve said before I don’t think the CCP are stupid enough to undertake a military attack, let alone invasion. But multiple means of coercion are another question altogether.

      Tom Hunter

      July 18, 2021 at 6:19 pm

    • It is inconceivable that you are both unaware of the sentiment toward China that has been developing in the US over the last decade.

      I can’t speak for the Vet but I’m well aware of the changed attitudes and them being bi-partisan. I might even agree that it has been “developing” over the last decade.

      But it was Trump who smashed open the gates of public discussion, and certainly within the GOP his opinions about China were not welcome by TPTB.

      Tom Hunter

      July 18, 2021 at 6:34 pm

  4. Wayne … then we agree to disagree. Taiwan (the ROC) was a line in the sand for the US in the 1950s thru to the 1970s. Since then and with the thawing of US/China relations and the economic dependence that is a feature of both countries relationship with each other that line in the sand has become blurred and if push came to shove just how the US would react becomes a moot point … how NZL would react perhaps the greater moot.

    The start point surely is Beijing’s stated intention to bring Taiwan into its orbit by any means … there are a myriad of ways that might happen bur I suspect Mao Zedong’s dictum of ‘two steps forward, one step backwards’ will prevail until they reach the point where only a tiny shove is needed to bring Taiwan to heel. China is adept at playing the long game but the time frame is shortening.

    Question … do you really think the ‘West’ is prepared to go to war with China over Taiwan. Nah, insert Chamberlain for the US President of the day and you probably have your answer.

    The Veteran

    July 18, 2021 at 10:46 pm

    • … do you really think the ‘West’ is prepared to go to war with China over Taiwan.

      Question: After 20 years war in Afghanistan what has the West achieved?


      July 18, 2021 at 11:26 pm

    • Well, on this issue you and I do disagree. I see zero evidence that Biden would do nothing to militarily assist Taiwan in the event of an invasion. It would be such a blatant act that Biden would go to Taiwan’s aid.

      How many countries would join in? Not that many. Australia possibly. Not New Zealand. It would be a China US conflict.

      Having said that, I simply don’t think an invasion is at all likely.

      I do think that the US will build up its Air Force and Navy over the next few years. I also expect more in the way of arms sales to Taiwan. From what I can see Taiwan is becoming more and more quasi independent. China’s actions over Hong Kong being something of an incentive.


      July 19, 2021 at 12:10 pm

  5. OK, Veteran, what would you have NZ do? Mount an invasion of China? Send a helicopter to defend Taiwan? Come on man, show us your plan. Preferably one that doesn’t involve the further waste of NZ lives tilting at windmills.

    Little Dorrit

    July 18, 2021 at 10:53 pm

    • Preferably one that doesn’t involve the further waste of NZ lives tilting at windmills.

      Like that image of Allied POW survivors of “Perhaps you should ask those who survived Changi.”.

      Because in LD-world the name of the game is guilt-shaming and whatever-weapon-comes-to-hand to try and win an argument by emotion.

      If you object to China’s demonisation of Japan in the 2020’s, “Little Dorrit” will show you a picture of emaciated British/Australian/NZ POW’s at the hands of the Japanese in Changi prison, implying his shedding of bitter tears and how righteous we were to fight against Japan’s imperialism and how such crimes as they committed can never be forgiven.

      If you object to the possible invasion of Taiwan by China in the 2020’s, “Little Dorrit”, will squeal and complain about the potential waste of NZ lives in fighting against such a thing as “waste” and imply dry-eyed, geo-political calculations should be to the fore.

      “Little Dorrit”: always arguing with the Left’s double standards, which is to say, no standards.

      Tom Hunter

      July 19, 2021 at 12:16 am

    • LD … don’t put words into my mouth. My argument is that the US would likely stand aloof … New Zealand more so. Rhetoric yes, action no (apart from some ritualistic sanctions to be honoured in the breech). A repeat of Hong Kong.

      The Veteran

      July 19, 2021 at 4:30 pm

  6. when the North Koreans invaded the south

    When Korea was independent, there was no North v South.

    When Japan colonised Korea, there was no North v South.

    Korea was partitioned by USSR and USA. “The North” was simply attempting to reunify the nation, to throw off the shackles of Imperialism and become an independent nation.

    That is exactly what China has done with Macau, Hong Kong, and will soon do with Taiwan. Don’t forget, Taiwan was the last bastion of the Kuomintang who still dream of invading Mainland China.

    Little Dorrit

    July 18, 2021 at 10:59 pm

    • “The North” was simply attempting to reunify the nation,

      Hi, I’m “Little Dorrit”, 1960’s Leftie survivor and I suck Communist cock for free.

      FFS. I realise you’re a hardline, very old Communist supporter, but could you try and be a little less of a cum bucket for the North Koreans (or Noam Chomsky and company who you so shamelessly parrot).

      The only result of such “unification” would have been a shit hole more than twice as large as the current shit hole of North Korea.

      Tom Hunter

      July 19, 2021 at 12:02 am

  7. Wayne

    That’s a very curious double negative.

    I prefer:- “I see much evidence Biden would do little to help Taiwan………..”

    None the least of which is the idiot sitting in the Joint Chiefs’ Chair. He’s so busy sending the US military woke the won’t have bothered with a strategy to sink China’s navy, crush China’s air force, smash China’s missile silos and confine Chia’s army to China.


    July 19, 2021 at 1:01 pm

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