IMO probability of Chinese invasion of Taiwan is now over 50%

Nancy may have been seeking commercial advantage for Pauly in the semi-conductor arena, but the people of Taiwan are likely to pay for that.

The Chinese are mightily offended in their nationalist fervor and unlikely to back away any time in the foreseeable future.

The invasion may occur any time over the next two years when Xi has consolidated his third term and the General Staff says they are ready. pl

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62 Responses to IMO probability of Chinese invasion of Taiwan is now over 50%

  1. Fourth and Long says:

    Be a colossal mistake for them if they do because they will be falling for a carefully prepared trap. Why? They are not in position yet to contest possession of the island in any way that is fruitful for them (the PRC). It’s almost laughable the degree to which our media distorts reality, in this case naval and economic realities regarding China, US and Japan. An all out war over Taiwan would put the actual survival of China at risk in serious fashion. The Nancy Pelosi maneuver was sheer brilliance, calculated to maximally perturb China’s sense of dignity and inflame bitter memories of humiliation.

    This is all laid out in a very easy to understand presentation below. You make a serious error underestimating its sophistication if you do so.

    China vs Taiwan August 3rd Economic situation bad for both sides.
    https://youtu.be/V7sAIbKEzQw

    • Worth Pointing Out says:

      “The Nancy Pelosi maneuver was sheer brilliance, calculated to maximally perturb China’s sense of dignity and inflame bitter memories of humiliation.”

      And the purpose of doing that is…. what, exactly?

      Mayhem and chaos for the purpose of chaos and mayhem?

      I get the impression that the “West” is being run by children.

      • Fourth and Long says:

        You certainly have cause to take issue with my choice of words. Better by far would have been “..the maneuver was sheer brilliance however simultaneously sinister and ruthlessly provocative.”

        –“And the purpose of doing that is…. what, exactly?”

        Not quite “chaos and mayhem” but not their opposite either. The purpose was humiliation and or one upmanship in the service of prompting the Chinese authorities to overreact suicidally (and homicidally, in the case of the people living on the island of Taiwan). The arguments presented here in response to Colonel Lang’s post are for the most part informed, moving and well argued but don’t address the wider strategic realities of a conquest or attempt at conquest of Taiwan by force of arms. You need to understand how dependent China is on imports of food and energy resources. And see that such an endeavor would range farther by far than the island itself. There are several well known maritime chokepoints the use of which by navies opposed to China would quickly bring the sustainability of Chinese civilization into question over the short to medium term. Of course the suffering of the Western powers would also be extreme.

        The maneuver looked to cause China to recklessly strike the first blow and consequently lose “the moral high ground.” Ruled by children? Indeed. But children who belong better as scriptwriters of a George Romero Night of the Living Dead sequel. Why did I stop doing New York Times crossword puzzles? Simple. I refused to for the five hundred and fifty ninth time write in “Enola” as the answer to the repulsively obnoxious clue for 1 Across: ______ Gay. In my opinion Nancy Pelosi wanted to make it into the Crossword Puzzle Hall of shame. Sorry Nancy. “No No Nanette” is your call sign forever now. You needlessly grandstanded and no one is the least bit impressed. You did get your point across though, and hopefully responsible people will find a less belligerent solution to the huge raging insecurities inhabiting the minds of what passes for the US leadership.

    • Barbara Ann says:

      This had the brilliance and sophistication of a smack in the mouth. If the aim is to enrage China & simultaneously defend Taiwanese democracy the US should simply recognize the island’s sovereignty.

      • Worth Pointing Out says:

        Well, to be fair, Taipei has to declare independence first.

        Washington can’t recognize “the island’s sovereignty” if the island’s government hasn’t declared its independence from the mainland.

        That’d be… rude.

  2. borko says:

    or all parties could sit down and come up with a plan for a peaceful reintegration in 20 years or so.

    • Bill Roche says:

      Peaceful reintegration along the lines of Hong Kong?

      • borko says:

        BR

        well, they can draw on that experience to make an even better plan. If all else fails you can always go to war.

    • jerseycityjoan says:

      Why would they do that? If we take China’s word that they believe Taiwan belongs to them and we know Taiwan does not want to be ruled China, what is there to talk about? How the Chinese government will take away their freedoms and take over their business sector as their own?

  3. Whitewall says:

    If the Chinese General Staff is anything like the Russian counterpart, it had better say ‘yessir’ if Xi asks. No matter what.

  4. Jose says:

    CGSC has a SI Red Team

    So maybe this is just a scam:

    1. The legislature we will pass is the Build Back China Better Act

    2. Dems look good against China

    3. Shi gets his wag the dog moment just be before reelection

    https://theconservativetreehouse.com/blog/2022/07/31/sunday-talks-senator-manchin-says-his-energy-deal-will-bring-windmills-to-west-virginia-faster-with-batteries-made-in-mexico-and-canada/

    What could possibly wrong wrong, I mean Ukraine is asking for $750 Billion:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/05/world/europe/ukraines-prime-minister-says-rebuilding-will-cost-750-billion.html

    • Peter Hug says:

      I would expect that most of that will in the end be contributed by Russia, one way or another.

      • Jose says:

        Winter is coming, the people that started this madness are running out of time. This a perfect example of the hubris of the Liberal World Order/SPECTRE thinking that the Byzantine West can stand up to the Saracens. Recessions in every country of the Order/SPECTRE will lead to change in policy. One way or another…

  5. Fred says:

    Will General Milley be calling his counter-part in the CCP like he did before Biden the Great became president?

    • Young says:

      I think he called and apologized on Nancy’s behalf. That’s why nothing happened.

      Joking aside, I believe Pelosi is only looking after her interest. She figured she had some unused miles on Air Force due to expire in November. Also, in addition to medal, she probably received some undeclared gifts, like designer handbags, scarfs, etc. Why pay for them, if you can get it for free.

  6. cobo says:

    China’s appeasers, apologists and xxxkissers have ad nauseum repeated that China isn’t an aggressor, doesn’t seek to expand, yada, yada, yada. Now it’s clear they have spittle on their chin spouting threats and are ready to use their guns to show their might. Oops Taiwan, Oops Tibet, oops Line of Control in the Himalayas with India… It’s time to break off all economic relationships with China. It’s time to go to war. No excuses for what we should have, would have, could have. The Russia/China axis is the enemy and war is coming, so yeah, let’s do it.

  7. blue peacock says:

    If the probability is this high, the question is how are the governments of Taiwan, Japan and of course the US preparing for this eventuality? Both militarily and economically?

    Or are they like the German government who became more and more dependent on Russia for energy NOT less, even as they knew there’s a high probability of military conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

    How will Taiwan defend against a Chinese military assault? Have they trained their population to execute a long-running guerilla war? Do they have sufficient sub-launched ballistic missiles to take out significant targets on the Chinese mainland? Do they have sufficient capabilities to dent PLA naval ships and amphibious assault vessels?

    • TTG says:

      blue peacock,

      Taiwan is watching Ukraine now and is taking copious notes. Our whole move towards the new doctrine of multi-domain operations is largely geared towards a war in the Pacific. The Army was to publish their new doctrine this summer, but decided to delay a bit while taking more lessons from the Russia-Ukraine war. Seems we’re taking notes, too.

      • blue peacock says:

        TTG,

        It would appear that with PLA’s overwhelming superiority in men & material the only question is how long Taiwan could hold out. It seems that Taiwan’s options are very limited with the most potent being a long-running guerilla war that makes the occupier continuously bleed.

      • Fred says:

        TTG,

        Does the army have a spare navy hidden somewhere? Ours has some structural problems, the LCS class being a prime example.

        • TTG says:

          Fred,

          The Army already fought a war in the Pacific with an island hopping strategy. That was joint and multi-domain. The modern take of multi-domain operations is a riff on that. Movement by air and sea to islands to engage the enemy not only on land, but also in the air and sea with long range precision fires aided by air, sea and space assets all at once. The Army is putting two multi-domain task forces in the Pacific theater. The Marines are moving in the same direction starting with the 3rd Littoral Regiment in Hawaii. It’s a work in progress.

          • Fred says:

            TTG,

            LOL that was almost a century ago, and with a Navy a lot bigger than the one we have now. How’s the army recruiting going right now in the age of CRT and 1619 project politics? Biden the Great is inspiring young men to do what? How’s the navy planning and ship procurement since the reforms of the Obama – Biden administration, besides the whole LCS class being scrapped?

    • longarch says:

      If the probability is this high, the question is how are the governments of Taiwan, Japan and of course the US preparing for this eventuality? Both militarily and economically?

      Or are they like the German government who became more and more dependent on Russia for energy NOT less, even as they knew there’s a high probability of military conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

      How will Taiwan defend against a Chinese military assault? Have they trained their population to execute a long-running guerilla war? Do they have sufficient sub-launched ballistic missiles to take out significant targets on the Chinese mainland? Do they have sufficient capabilities to dent PLA naval ships and amphibious assault vessels?

      Taiwan has hypersonic missiles and underwater mines. Any PRC infantry ships would have to spend about 100 hours exposed to hypersonic missile fire. In the worst-case scenario, the PRC might get its civilian boats to act as effective infantry transports.

      Taiwan’s submarines may or may not be useful. Taiwan has an air force and is willing to use it.

      Taiwan is probably NOT willing to use its Samson Option, which would be as follows. If Taiwan were over-run, the key oligarchs of Taiwan could destroy their sophisticated chip fabs. It is likely that the oligarchs would not do so. However, Taiwan could be hit by nuclear missiles that could destroy those fabs. The loss of Taiwan’s chip fabs would be extremely disruptive to modern civilization all over the world.

      • morongobill says:

        The US hasn’t come up with a hypersonic missile system, yet Taiwan has one?

        • Tidewater says:

          morongobill,

          Exactly. They have the Gatling and we have not. In the event of a conventional war that is somehow contained before it went nuclear, the United States Navy should be expected to suffer extreme losses in the surface fleet. For example, every carrier group out there right now could very well in a few hours or days be crippled, gutted, or gone. It is simple: China outranges the United States fleet. Chinese drones follow like albatross. And it seems unlikely that there is any defense against a coordinated attack from hundreds of miles away by Chinese or Russian hypersonic missiles. They are too fast. That seems to be one good reason why the US is now quietly building a new base on Tinian. Guam will be hit and could be knocked out for a length of time that might be critical.

          Further, there does not seem to be any real expectation that the United States will be able to close the hypersonic missile gap in the next few years. Whether or not Russia is five or ten years ahead at this point, or will stay there given its lead, is one issue, but in the coming days there seems to be a strong opinion in naval circles that the Russian navy and aerospace force could do real damage to, or actually defeat NATO in the Baltic, the Mediterranean, the Arctic, and a thousand miles in the Pacific off of Vladivostok or Sakhalin… Every surface fleet matchup, you might say, except for the question of the subs. And intriguingly, there are signs of a new Russian naval doctrine in re Svalbard/ Spitzbergen, which seems to be contained in Putin’s Navy Day speech and which needs to be studied for meaning. Russia could simply take Svalbard from Norway: Russia has a strong historical claim and Norway has been puffing on the neocon bong.

          Russia could also cut the cables. And that brings me to the basically unrecognized, over- the-top, untalked about, hyperbolic, unheeded, disbelieved, yet most obvious, if ever invisible, threat: In the event of a war of some sort between China and Taiwan, much, most, or all of the world’s internet will be taken down. China’s, Taiwan’s, of course…and then ours. It will be like a clean nuclear war. And if you think that the markets/ world economy would be back up and running in a week, or a month or two, I really would not count on that. New cable would have to be laid, for one thing, and there would have to be international agreements–a peace conference– about that. It would take time. Which the world no longer has much of left.

          • TonyL says:

            Tidewater,

            “Russia could also cut the cables…
            It will be like a clean nuclear war. ”

            I hope that was part of the US war games that the Colonel had mentioned before that he participated in.
            It’s the ultimate clean nuclear war that nobody talked about.

          • Pat Lang says:

            tonyl Nah! I have been in many political-military wargames on a wide variety of subjects. Don’t let your fantasies run away with you.

        • longarch says:

          The US hasn’t come up with a hypersonic missile system, yet Taiwan has one?

          I apologize. Since 2020 I have been citing the Hsiung Feng missile series as hypersonic. I just looked up the numbers to verify and it seems I have been overestimating its speed for quite a while.

          https://missilethreat.csis.org/missile/hsiung-feng-iii/

          According to the linked page, the Hsiung Feng III can only do 680 to 780 meters per second.

          https://www.19fortyfive.com/2022/08/taiwan-wants-hypersonic-missiles/

  8. TTG says:

    I think China has a strong impulse to maintain a solid connection with the world economy and especially the Western economy. That’s the whole purpose behind the Belt and Road Initiative. They now see what an invasion has brought upon Russia and Russia’s economy. I doubt they want to risk that kind of reaction. Sure they want Taiwan back in their fold, but I’m pretty sure they’ll opt for a more indirect approach.

    • LeaNder says:

      TTG, with Whitehall’s take on Chinese and Russian vs American military obedience in mind.

      What’s your take on recent events in the Ukraine?
      Yalensis, the-awful-avalanche-blog, reports this rumor:

      Then, what happened is that the Ukrainian leadership (Zelensky) decided to move several important artillery battalions from the Donbass front to the Southern front. As part of their harebrained scheme to “recapture” Kherson. Their big counteroffensive plan, which they announced to the world, was to (a) destroy the 3 bridges over the river connecting Kherson to the rest of the Donbass; (b) by so doing isolate the 30,000 some Russian soldiers (=30 Battle Tactical Groups, BTG’s) defending the Kherson Front; and (c) then invade and recapture Kherson. From what I understand, the Ukrainians were told they had to do this, i.e., recapture Kherson, by the end of August, otherwise the Americans will cut off the funds and give up on this ill-timed adventure. In other words, the Southern Counteroffensive was an American project. From what I understand, Ukrainian Commander Zaluzhny was against it, and rightfully so. Now he wants to move those artillery units back to Donetsk, but alas for him, it’s too late.

      b/Bernhard, moon of Alabama, had an Ukrainian Sitrep yesterday, which did not seem to inspire Ukrainian military optimism.

      • cobo says:

        ‘b’ has been a russian cheerleader from the beginning, spouting the standard lines. His and other sites were declaring victory by day 3. The russian was warring “gently” against their brothers. The best troops and equipment weren’t being used. The debacle at Kiev was a brilliant stratgey to tie down the Ukrainian forces…

  9. Barbara Ann says:

    “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve” says Isoroku Yamamoto at the end of Tora! Tora! Tora! The Global Times carried a cartoon of Pelosi parachuting into Taiwan wearing a suicide vest. Han nationalism is a sleeping giant and we’ve just spat in its face.

    TTG

    If China had any reservations about an SMO of its own before yesterday I guarantee those reservations are now replaced with plain and simple rage.

    • Fred says:

      Barbara Ann,

      Did you notice China didn’t sign on with sanctions? An simple observation of what the climate change true believers did shows the leverage Russia has over the EU right now.

  10. frankie p says:

    Well said, Colonel Lang. Whether the objective was a boost to Paul Pelosi’s portfolio, a polishing of Nancy Pelosi’s neocon qualifications, a hail-Mary plan to get support for the ailing Democrats in the November elections, or some combination of all three, the ones paying the price will be us, the citizens and residents of Taiwan.

    blue peacock: the sorry state of complete unpreparedness of the military reserve forces in Taiwan are well known and understood by the Chinese. All male civilians who served in the military are considered reserves. They do very little to no training, do not know where they would report to in case of belligerence, do not know what their function would be. Worse yet, the military officer corps have no idea how they would logistically and practically deploy such a force. I often speak with a retired Naval ship captain who is amazed that I am aware of the poor condition of the reserve forces, and he agrees and echos my views. Do the Taiwanese have sufficient sub-based ballistic missiles to hit targets in China? Surely, you are joking; the answer is NO! Finally, there will NOT be an amphibious attack on Taiwan. There will be no need. The massive drills that begin today in six locations (one grid is 15km. off the west coast not far from where I live) surrounding Taiwan should send a loud message. The notification to airlines and shipping to avoid these areas are a harbinger of how the Chinese would conduct any operations. They would use a blockade, massive standoff forces with missile capabilities to stop both air travel and shipping. There will be missiles flying over the island during these military drills, could even be DF-17s if they really want to put on a show.

    TTG is correct that Taiwan is watching Ukraine and taking copious notes, but he is sorely mistaken about the conclusions being drawn. The Taiwanese conclude that they are on their own, and they conclude correctly. This is the lesson of Ukraine. NATO and the US spent the years between 2014 and 2022 training and preparing the Ukraine military, rotating units from Ukraine into training exercises in Europe, arming and reinforcing the defensed around the Donbass. This is the reason that Russia has to grind these forces down as they are, and once those forces and reinforcements are ground down, it will be clear sailing for the Russians, as far west as they would like to go. The Taiwanese, on the other hand, are sorely unprepared for any confrontation with China.

    As the Colonel so accurately stated, the Chinese are incensed, the Taiwanese are going to pick up the check, and this long term resident of Taiwan is wondering why the hell the old witch even had to make the trip here. There was absolutely NO necessary function or objective to the trip. If you say we needed to support (pay lip service) to Taiwan’s vibrant democracy, I will have to vomit.

    Frankie P

    • Sam says:

      If the Taiwanese military is as ineffective as you say, then Xi should invade now. Before they get their act together. If at all.

      IMO, the CCP always whine and act tough in their media announcements. They believe their intimidation tactics will kow folks. Nancy did the right thing. She has every right to visit Taiwan who have been de facto independent for decades.

      After the CCP’s treatment of HK, the Uigyurs and Tibetans. Their constant provocations across the Himalayan border with India, no one should pay attention to their histrionics.

      Any invasion of Taiwan will have costs. The PLA could be all over Taipei quickly. However, the response from the region and the US may not be so sanguine.

      Those who warned of dire consequences –even war-if Pelosi landed in Taipei, now ask “why upset the long-time US/PRC status quo ?” Yes, pacta sunt servanda. But that mutual restraint agreement was violated by PRC territorial demands viz US allies & friends + island seizures

      https://twitter.com/eluttwak/status/1554871787820879872?s=21

    • Worth Pointing Out says:

      Pelosi is following in a long tradition: strutting (in her case, tottering) into a place, dropping a huge turd, then strutting out again neither knowing nor caring how the residents deal with her dump.

      It is a constant refrain from Stephen Walt – one that I agree with – that Washington believes it has the ability to simply turn its back and walk away from whatever overseas mess it creates.

      No accountability = No restraint.
      No blowback = No holding back.

      • Fred says:

        WPO,

        Imperial aristocrats have acted that way since Hector’s brother ran off with Menelaus’ wife. Which leaves one asking why the Chinese were not outraged at Seantors Duckworth, Burr, Sasse, Graham of SC, or any of the others who visited Taiwan in April or May; or others the year before.

        • Worth Pointing Out says:

          A) She is second in the line of succession to the Oval Office, the others are nothing by comparison

          B) The Chinese may well know far more about the reasoning behind this visit that do you or I.

  11. Eliot says:

    Frankie,

    I think we would fight China if they invaded Taiwan.

    – Eliot

  12. lobo says:

    One can never predict what an emperor does. So I wont.

    But while everyone raises historical/military issues (dont try to raise cultural narratives please unless you are fluent in chinese and can read their media), no one has raised the economic side.

    One surprise from ukraine was initial western solidarity on economic measures, so much so Xi asked his advisors on how to defend against it. And here is the thing – he cant anytime soon. The CCP has invested much in infiltrating western systems because they divide and conquer. But if the war goes hot and the developed world collective psyche goes “CCP = hitler” all that goes poof. This loss would be magnified since China is trying to pivot its economy (read Michael Pettis, China is kinda trapped, they cannot stimulate anymore and wealth transfers to households are politically difficult) IMO. The west would suffer hugely, but I wonder if China even more so due to their transition.

    So “why is the west so stupid to provoke china now” ? Other posters here have a much better view into DC. However, the big CCP meeting is coming up and Xi has to secure his 3rd term. The consensus view is Xi has neutered all his enemies, but as outsiders we really have no idea. Many here have raised the point Pelosi’s visit is rage inducing – but another way to look at it is that if Xi does not react meaningfully, he suffers a HUGE loss of face. We already seen signs of this on weibo where there was a mood of “why didnt we stop pelosi from landing after all the shit we said?”. Also if you have been following what is happening in China economically, Xi is suffering setbacks continually. He owns dynamic covid 0 with no exit plan (this is big as businesses refuse to invest/employ even after lockdowns ended), RE crashed under his watch (3 red lines), the recent mortgage strikes (like GFC jingle mail in the US but worse in a way), province/local governments hitting the wall on debt and having no funding (bezzle built up over years coming to light) and increasing nervousness on the banking system (touched off by henan). I wonder if this “slap” is deliberate to push things over the edge and Xi has actual enemies waiting in the wings.

    But hey, I could be falling into narrative bias of my own and this is all stupidity from the USA that gives Xi an excuse to rally to war and distract his own domestic population/political opponents and actually helps him out. Reminds me why so many geopolitical discussions are really mutual pleasure generators; fun to do but ultimately no meaningful outcome.

    • LeaNder says:

      Vaguely aware of warnings concerning the Chinese banking system, earlier and recent events. But curious what the result would be if something like Chinese vs. 2008 happened.

      Will the Chinese be as creative as the Americans and their friends were in: dicing up these rotten pieces of financial meat

      Had to look up ‘jingle mail’.

    • Barbara Ann says:

      lobo

      You make some good points and yes, this could be a calculated plan with a view towards regime change come the 20th CCP National Congress (November?). Two points on that:
      1) Weibo abuzz with why-didn’t-we-do-nuttin talk and Xi’s obvious loss of face makes the situation more dangerous for Taiwan. The Falklands war is an obvious modern example of a revanchist war started with the intention of boosting the popularity of the incumbent leadership. The fact that it provided a fillip for the other side’s leader too is not irrelevant. That might in fact be exactly what the hawks in DC want, but as Col. Lang says it is the Taiwanese (and at least 2 commenters here) who are in the cross hairs.
      2) Be careful what you wish for. I have no idea whether the non-Xi camps vying for power in China are more pro-Western or more nationalist. But in any case Pelosi’s stunt has clearly strengthened the hand of the latter. This was wrecking ball diplomacy.

    • Sam says:

      lobo,

      I have brought up CCP’s financial situation several times here.

      You are spot on. CCP mismanagement of their finances can only be papered over for so long. The size of the Chinese banking system relative to the size of their economy has surpassed Japan’s at the height of Japanese economic strength in the late 80’s. Their banking system is effectively insolvent and will require massive recapitalization. Much of the financing have gone into fixed asset construction as that was the easiest way for local and provincial CCP leadership to achieve their GDP targets. Many of these projects are underwater. Property development and speculation in this market with huge participation by the Chinese upper & middle classes are showing increasing strains. As you point out the mortgage strike is just building a head of steam as property prices decline for the first time in decades. Evergrande one of the largest property developers is insolvent and so are many of the others, already defaulting on their dollar debts. This not getting better as the dollar keeps rising. There is also the speculation in “wealth management” products which have roped in again many of the same middle and upper classes with high yields which was once again used to fund these fixed asset projects. Xi is trying to do what they’ve always done – more stimulus through financing of the the State-owned enterprises and recently announced half-measures to support banks. Xi is sitting on a massive bailout of their banking system.

      The one thing they got going is their huge trade surplus with the US and the rest of the world with their manufactured goods exports.

      Xi would love a distraction. Nothing like a war that stirs up huge nationalist fervor and puts the domestic CCP opposition in a box. He’s already jailed and executed many from other CCP factions and consolidated direct power. The challenge with a war for Xi is that the export machine will be under threat as the South China Seas gets closed for some period. He’ll not only need to finance the war but also the banking system bailout, which would mean financial repression of the working class and squeezing of the upper class.

      Not an easy path to navigate. Of course the US and the West will not act in time to reduce the fallout by reshoring rapidly critical manufactured goods. The gravy train for our oligarchy is too rich to make any changes.

  13. Jake says:

    Previously I went public on these pages stating I have no clue as to whether or not there will be war between China, and the US, or another ‘Proxy War’ using Taiwan as bait. And I’m no wiser after Pelosi burnt some more tax-Dollars on her trip around Asia, moving to South Korea, where no ‘Higher Ups’ wanted to meet her, apparently. They were not available, on holiday, or abroad, the accounts I read said.

    When Pat is offering us a chance of war expressed as a percentage, I must assume he used some analytical tool that I have no access to, so debating the outcome on its merits is impossible. Personally I’m highly skeptical of such tools, to be honest. Especially in very complex situations which require way too many data which rely on guesswork. So, yes, I’m ‘Old School’. Old enough to remember that the CIA brought down a passenger plane in the fifties to kill Zhoe Enlai, the foreign secretary of Mao’s China, with the help of Kuomintang Chinese which had retreated to Taiwan, after being defeated on the mainland by the communists. The commercial aircraft came down alright, killing the sixteen people traveling on it, but Zhoe Enlai was not among them. He switched flights, and died in a hospital in his own country in 1976, age seventy-seven, after being diagnosed with cancer in 1972.

    Killing political leaders is something western intelligence agencies are fond of, but I think that ‘tool’ is overrated. So Pelosi reached her destination, and left, unhindered. But China did respond. It responded by declaring fresh military exercises all around the island of Taiwan, and by formally stating that they would no longer recognize the informal median separating the mainland and Taiwan, which had been breached previously. Several commentators here are talking about Taiwanese independence, but Taipei never even declared independence, and does not want to be seen as an independent nation. When they launched an airline based in Taiwan, they called it ‘China Airlines’, not ‘Taiwan Airlines’.

    Without losing myself in generalizations, which always, and necessarily so, can be undercut by pointing to exceptions, the Chinese on the island of Taiwan see themselves as Chinese, and part of the people of China. They do not want to be cut loose from the mainland at all. A few still harbor overblown illusions of one day conquering the mainland, but most of them want to be left alone, while congratulating themselves on living in a, more or less, democratic part of the world. Yet they travel to and from the mainland to do business, and I’ve met scores of them while in China. While they may not regard Xi as their friend, or the communist state as ideal, they value their business and lives too much to risk it all by going to war with the mainland, with or without American help. And since Ukraine showcases what American help entails, the bulk of them is smart enough to understand that they will throw everything they built under the bus if they go down that path.

    The mainland would most likely succeed if they invaded Taiwan, in a military sense, but they would be vulnerable to repercussions on the national level, since few Chinese would see why such a move became necessary after some octogenarian lady visited the island in her tax-payer operated private Boeing 737. And building their ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ to improve world trade would become vastly more difficult. What Beijing is aiming for, and has been aiming for ever since it opened up to the west, is finding enough common ground to close the book, shake hands, and join forces to conquer the world through trade. In my own, ‘Old School’ analysis there actually is a fair chance that this little dash of Pelosi could backfire spectacularly, causing her ‘friends’ in Taiwan to lose ground to less hawkish political hacks. The opposite of what people assume she wanted. But who knows what Pelosi is after? War, most likely, because she isn’t exactly a dove. But how?

    This is where I must remind those who are reading this contribution of a 2016 study by the Rand-Corporation, where they reached the conclusion that the US could win a war with China, if war broke out before 2025. After that, the US was toast. Mind you, that is using analytical tools I do not have access to, but this ‘Old School’ guy says: Why not try peace for a change? Honoring signed agreements, and living by a code of honor, observing international law, instead of trying to impose your own shifting rules, and stabbing people and countries in the back who might become as wealthy, and influential as you are yourself, because you are slacking?

  14. A. Pols says:

    WE have been talking for decades about the Chinese invading Taiwan, but there’s no corresponding chatter from them.
    It’s my considered opinion (and has been for a long time) that, as Chinese economic power grows (in the southeast Asia sphere) and ours fades, Taiwan will simply be absorbed into China’s economic and cultural orbit and we will be irrelevant in terms of who controls what in that part of the world. I hear people like Hugh Hewitt and Mark Levine ranting about “standing up to the Chinese” and consider their vaporings to be just a circle jerk.
    I just think the Chinese Govt. has no plans to invade Taiwan. They are as patient a people as we are an impatient people, and the process of integration of Taiwan’s and China’s economies is well under way and will be complete all in good time. Ultimately that integration is all that really matters.

    • Notfakebot says:

      If things are so great, why did Biden pass the CHIPs act in such a hurry and why did Pelosi’s husband sell his Nvidia stock?

      Taiwan’s status as the world’s emininent semiconductor maker doesn’t look so secure.

      • frankie p says:

        A. Pols: Cue up the Rolling Stones at a Karaoke Club, President Xi crooning away: “Time is on my side, yes it is! Now you always said that you want to be free. But you’ll come running back, to me.”

        Your comment is quite accurate from my perspective. The Chinese ARE a patient people, and they will continue to watch their economy outgrow the US, with the resulting increases in defense spending and capabilities. Taiwan will have to come to terms with the fact that they will be reabsorbed, and to be honest, as someone who has lived among the Taiwanese for 35 years and has developed a pretty good understanding of their history and mindset, as long as they are able to retain their personal and economic freedom, they will be able to handle it. They are very pragmatic. They will not become raving Chinese nationalists, but they will hunker down and work hard, provide for their children and families, and prosper.

        Notfakebot: Taiwan’s status as the world’s eminent semiconductor maker is NOT secure, but there is no threat from the US in replacing Taiwan. Look at comments from Morris Chang, semi-retired Chairman of TSMC. Costs of producing wafers in the US are fully 50% higher than in Taiwan. TSMC gave in to Trump’s demand to build a 5nm fab in Arizona, but they are learning quickly that it may end up to be a costly mistake. I facilitated English training in the 5nm fab in Tainan Science Park here in Taiwan in spring of 2021, before Covid hit here in Taiwan and they stopped all non-essential vendors from coming in to the fab. All of the trainees were line and department managers who were on the list to be posted to Arizona for three years to get the fab up and running. At that time, they were scheduled to report to Arizona in September 2022 to start production. As of today, TSMC plans to start production sometime in 2024. That’s right, nearly two years behind schedule. Let me tell you that this phenomenon is unknown here in Taiwan. When they schedule the opening of a fab, they meet the deadline.

        So, why is Taiwan’s status as the world’s eminent semiconductor maker not secure? It’s not secure because the result of punishing a country as big and wealthy as China by forcing TSMC not to sell 5nm chips to Huawei is that they will develop the capabilities domestically. I’m not sure whether you’ve seen the news that SMIC, China’s biggest wafer fab, has been filling orders for 7nm wafers. To put it into context, Intel is unable to fab their own 7nm wafers, and TSMC is currently setting up a new fab in my city, Kaohsiung, which will fabricate 7nm. wafers for Intel. If China is currently able to fabricate 7nm. wafers, the jig is up. In a year or three, they will be fabricating 5nm. wafers, and then 3nm, and then 2nm. More context: TSMC has built two 3nm. fabs here in Taiwan, but production has not started yet. China certainly doesn’t have the capabilities of TSMC (NOBODY does, not even Samsung), but they are getting closer and closer. TSMC is fully aware that as China gets closer, TSMC will lose orders to SMIC as customers look for lower prices and SMIC improves quality.

        Same as if ever was. The US has used the specter of Chinese spying by Huawei to try to hamstring the Chinese, prohibiting TSMC and global semiconductor machinery companies (ASML, Applied Materials, etc) from selling to China. Result: China will develop its own capabilities, provide for its own market first, and then steal customers from the entire globe. THAT is how a free market works.

      • Peter Hug says:

        I’m not really sure how Nvidia is relevant here one way or another – it’s an American company based in Santa Clara, CA.

        • frankie p says:

          Nvidia is a fabless design house. It designs graphics processing units (GPUs), application programming interface (APIs) for data science and high-performance computing as well as system on a chip units (SoCs) for the mobile computing and automotive market. It has some strengths in AI.

          Design is vital, and TSMC has NO capabilities in design. They fabricate wafers for companies that do their own design. I believe that Apple is their biggest customer, at nearly 25% of their revenue.

  15. Nothing I have read in these comments deter me from the conclusion the best thing for the US to do is cut and run from everywhere.

    The individual American gets nothing out of our being in Asia or in NATO. Many of the young have no hope of homeownership while we shovel out money to arms manufacturers.

    Unlike some here, I don’t care if the Ukes have a triumph at Kherson, or Xi is insulted by Nance.

  16. Mark Logan says:

    I suspect key in the Chinese decision proceess is they are about 80% dependent on ME oil. If it really came to shove the US can cut that off and the current Chinese navy has little to no chance of preventing that from happening. The infrastructure to Russian oil can only handle about 17% at the moment, and despite efforts to expand it there is more than pipelines involved. The Russian oil is not the sweet crude of the ME, it takes more refining. There’s a lot of work left to do even to get to 50%. Most think a decade or more.

    A major effort by the Chinese to address this issue could be a key indicator.

    • Notfakebot says:

      Iran.

    • Jake says:

      The Saudis handed Biden a pretty big middle-finger, not producing anywhere the amount Biden said they agreed upon. Immediately after his tour of the Middle-East the Saudis had a chat with Putin. Instead of serving western interests, the Saudis are in talks with BRICS to formally join the Chinese led organization, while NATO is left with Sweden and Finland. Two more mouths to feed. The US does not control Opec any longer.

  17. Notfakebot says:

    Should we really be asking if a new World War may start in the next two years?

    • cobo says:

      No. The war has been on for a long time, directed against western countries. Time to get back at them, the global communists, within and without.

  18. Young says:

    I think he called and apologized on Nancy’s behalf. That’s why nothing happened.

    Joking aside, I believe Pelosi is only looking after her interest. She figured she had some unused miles on Air Force due to expire in November. Also, in addition to medal, she probably received some undeclared gifts, like designer handbags, scarfs, etc. Why pay for them, if you can get it for free.

  19. Harper says:

    Agree that the next 2-3 years is a critical window for a move on Taiwan. In June, Xi Jinping in his capacity as head of the Central Military Commission, signed 59 new orders approving Chinese “non war military operations” below the threshold of general war, but involving military forces deployed to protect Chinese assets abroad and intervene in regional situations which might impact Chinese national security. A mirror of the new NATO Strategic Concept which extended NATO’s theater of operations into the Indo-Pacific and highlighted China and the China/Russia strategic partnership.

    Also, November there are local elections in Taiwan, and China has imposed sanctions on critical Taiwanese exports that are almost exclusively directed at the PRC, including white sand for chips, and a wide range of food and agricultural goods. This may impact the Taiwanese economy and boost KMT (PRC’s preferred ruling party in Taiwan, which is not pro-independence as the ruling DPP is) prospects in the elections. So there are many hybrid options for China to move closer to annexation without a fullscale military invasion, which remains an option if Taiwan declares independence. Pelosi visit may have boosted Xi’s third term and control over the Standing Committee and Politburo during the 20th party congress by giving him an external threat to rally against.

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