Monday, July 15, 2024

China invading Taiwan and The Geopolitical Risk

(1). In a meeting with US officials Admiral Mike Gilday, chief of naval operations iterated his position on the geopolitical risk of China invading Taiwan:

(2). Could the Russian invasion be just the beginning?

By Likam Kyanzaire

The Russian War Against Ukraine is the defining geopolitical conflict of the twenty-first century. The violent confrontation between the former Soviet states has upset the delicate American hegemonic order and empowered nations to improve their military capabilities, re-evaluate their diplomatic standing and prepare for a multipolar world. Since the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, BRIC nations have made plans for a competing global currency, Iran has normalized relations with archenemy Saudi Arabia and Japan has begun rearming its military. Just a year into a growing war of attrition the world is already feeling the effects of this conflict (not to mention the civil strife from increased energy and food prices). 

With all that said could the Russian invasion be just the beginning? In a meeting with US officials Admiral Mike Gilday, chief of naval operations iterated his position on the geopolitical risk of China invading Taiwan:

“When we talk about the 2027 window, in my mind that has to be a 2022 window or potentially a 2023 window,” Gilday told the Atlantic Council on Wednesday.

China and Taiwan

Now of course China did not invade in 2022, but the idea that a high-ranking US official thinks the likelihood of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan is high this year is stark. China, the world’s 2nd most powerful nation, has been open about its position on Taiwan. Taiwan, according to leader-for-life Xi Jinping, is a territory of China. It is common knowledge that China is determined to get the territory back under its control after its loss to the Japanese over a century ago. But today Taiwanese do not see themselves as Chinese at least politically. The split between the two ethnically homogenous regions has its origin in the Chinese Civil War.

The Chinese Civil War

The Chinese Civil War was a long and complex conflict that lasted from 1945 to 1949, resulting in the establishment of the People’s Republic of China on the mainland and the retreat of the defeated Nationalist forces to Taiwan. The war was fought between the Communist Party of China (CPC), led by Mao Zedong, and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) under Chiang Kai-shek. The conflict grew out of decades of political, economic and social tensions between these two factions. The CPC gained support among peasants with their policies like land reform while KMT sought Western-style democracy with limited success. Following their defeat on the mainland, KMT moved their government to Taiwan, where they imposed martial law until 1987. Despite political disagreements between both sides, peaceful relations have been maintained for over a century with minimal military action taken by either side after the cessation of hostilities in 1949 through talks like “The Three Links”.

The Chinese Civil War

After the civil war, the Communist Party of China went on to suffer under the lacklustre policies of founder Mao Zedong. At this point, Taiwan was starting its economic ascendancy, helped by American military and economic aid. By the time China began its liberalization effort in 1979 Taiwan was already an ‘East Asian Tiger’ the moniker given to the handful of Asian nations growing at extraordinary levels. By the 1990s Taiwan was joining the club of industrialized nations along the West, Japan and Singapore. At this time China was in the middle of its economic transformation. Today while China does have a much larger GDP at $18 trillion USD compared to Taiwan’s $770 billion USD, Taiwan’s GDP per capita is about twice China’s at around $32000. This makes Taiwan one of the most prosperous areas in the world, while China is a world power second only to the US.

The TSMC Advantage

A big part of the rise of Taiwan to a highly developed nation is its control over the technology supply chain.