Wednesday, August 03, 2022

Standing up for Taiwan

I am impressed by Nancy Pelosi's courage and the backing she has received (after some initial dithering) from the Biden administration. Not to have visited Taiwan, after her intention to do so was leaked, and after all the chest-thumping from Beijing, would have been a climb-down, almost as humiliating our retreat from Afghanistan last year. It would have been an invitation to Xi Jingping to invade the island whenever he wants. (And he wants very much to do just that, to cement his leadership at the Communist Party Congress in November.)

The People's Republic has no legal claim on Taiwan, which China ceded to Japan in 1895. The island was ruled by Japan for fifty years, after which it was occupied by troops loyal to Chiang Kai-shek and his Nationalist government in Chongqing. China's civil war was won in 1949 by Communist forces under Mao Zedong, whereupon Chiang's government fled to Taiwan. Since 1972 the US has recognized the Peoples Republic as the country ruled from Beijing, while maintaining friendly but not formal relations with Taiwan. As a prosperous democracy and our ninth largest trading partner, the island deserves our support from its bullying neighbor, just as we have supported Ukraine when it was invaded by Russia.

There are strategic reasons, too. Among its other achievements, Taiwan is the world's most important manufacturer of computer chips. Letting it fall into Xi Jinping's orbit would be a folly as great as when Europe allowed Putin to control its flow of natural gas.


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