As Russia continues its military onslaught against Ukraine, the impending threat of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan has also become a hot topic among foreign policy analysts in legacy media.
For years, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has made clear its intention to capture the island nation, with incursions into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) and threats of military force becoming more frequent in recent years. With the outbreak of war in Ukraine, however, there is growing concern that such long-held desires by China to forcefully annex Taiwan could materialize sooner than originally anticipated.
Since the beginning of Russia’s blitzkrieg against Ukraine, the CCP has wasted no time in ramping up its propaganda efforts over its fictitious territorial claims to Taiwan. During a press conference last week, Beijing’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying publicly declared that “Taiwan is not Ukraine” when discussing comparisons between the two geopolitical flashpoints, while adding that Taiwan “has always been an inalienable part of China” and that such a claim “is an indisputable legal and historical fact.”
China’s state-run media has also joined in the fray, with Global Times commentator Hu Xijin saying on Thursday that Taiwan should “get used to” People’s Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft entering their airspace, while also threatening that there “may be more PLA aircraft fly there [Friday].” The tweet came in reply to a Thursday report from Taiwan’s defense ministry that documented nine PLA aircraft entering the southwestern region of the country’s ADIZ.
In response to a potential uptick in military aggression from China, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has taken precautionary measures to maximize her nation’s regional and national security efforts. During a meeting with a working group tasked with overseeing the Ukraine crisis by her National Security Council last week, Tsai reportedly emphasized that all military and defense forces on the island “must raise their surveillance and early warning of military developments around the Taiwan Strait.”
“But in the face of foreign forces intending to manipulate the situation in Ukraine and affect the morale of Taiwanese society, all government units must strengthen the prevention of cognitive warfare launched by foreign forces and local collaborators,” she said.
Joe Biden’s Weakness Invites Aggression
Whether it’s the invasion of Ukraine or the prospect of military action against Taiwan, the ability of rogue actors like Russia and China to advance their geopolitical goals without fear of significant consequence can be traced back to the weakness of one man: U.S. President Joe Biden.
Throughout his short tenure as president, Biden has overwhelmingly failed to institute a foreign policy that instills fear and uncertainty in antagonistic nations on the international stage, thus leading to a much more unstable global political climate. As noted by Federalist senior editor John Daniel Davidson for instance, the current invasion of Ukraine can be directly attributed to the feckless approach to Russian aggression perpetuated by Biden and his administration.
“[T]he United States needed to have a firm, steady hand in its dealings with Moscow,” writes Davidson. “In this, Biden failed miserably, coming into office with a lot of bluster about how he was going to take a firm line on Putin, that he alone knew how to deal with Moscow … The time to put pressure on Putin and declare that an invasion of Ukraine would be a ‘red line,’ has passed. Now, Biden is reduced to haggling publicly with our European allies over sanctions that will certainly be watered down given Europe’s energy dependence on Russia.”
Coupled with his disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan and willingness to leave his own country’s borders wide open to potential foreign hostiles, Biden’s weakness telegraphs to the world that America isn’t led by a serious commander-in-chief who’s willing to enforce red lines when needed. For countries like China, which seeks to dethrone the United States as a regional and global hegemon, Biden’s four years in office are a political gift that permits them to fast-track and achieve objectives that were unattainable under the Trump administration.
Taiwan Deserves Better U.S. Leadership
For the people of Taiwan, the looming prospect of a Chinese invasion now threatens to destroy all that they’ve built over their nation’s history. What was once an island under strictly enforced martial law in 1949 has now become a fully-fledged democratic, capitalist society where the concepts of individualism and personal liberty are widely cherished.
With Biden sitting in the White House, however, such remarkable accomplishments are now at risk more than ever. As Biden continues to fumble the ball on major foreign policy ventures and exemplify weak U.S. leadership to the world, Xi Jinping and the CCP are likely to become even more emboldened to escalate their military activities in the Taiwan Strait and accelerate plans for forced annexation of Taiwan.
With its sovereignty and safety under increasing threat, the very least U.S. leadership could do for Taiwan is to emulate strength and dominance in the face of Chinese aggression. Instead, Taiwan is left with an American president whose incompetence jeopardizes the free society they’ve fought so hard to achieve.