So far, 2022 has seen the invasion of Ukraine, abnormal rates of inflation, several increases in interest rates to control inflation, monkeypox, employees on strike, chaos in air travel, a recession, and more.
But wait, there’s more. The next big thing is China’s invasion of Taiwan. China sees Taiwan as its territory, the same way Russia sees Ukraine.
China firmly believes that China and Taiwan operate as “one country, two systems”. China uses a communist government system, while Taiwan uses a democratic system.
Did China ever occupy Taiwan?
The short answer is yes, no, maybe.
In the 17th century, the Spanish and the Dutch established bases in Taiwan. The Japanese ruled Taiwan for 50 years between 1895 and the end of World War 2 in 1945.
In the meantime, two political ideologies were at war in mainland China. The Republic of China (ROC) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The ROC was considered the official Government of mainland China between 1912 and 1949.
In 1949, there was a civil war in mainland China, and the ROC lost mainland China to the CCP. Only Taiwan remained under the control of the ROC, as they got expelled from China.
Interestingly, the People’s Republic of China (CCP) is usually known as China, and the Republic of China (ROC) is generally known as Taiwan.
The CCP controls mainland China, and the ROC controls Taiwan. Despite their disparities, the ROC and the CCP agree that they represent all of China. In 1992, the ROC and the CCP formally agreed that only one China existed; therefore, “one China, two Governments”.
In the past few years, the CCP has shown interest in unifying Taiwan with mainland China under its control.
In recent years, China, under the Communist party’s rule, stated that it was willing to use military force on Taiwan should it pursue independence from mainland China.
Taiwan was never under Chinese control or technically under the Chinese Communist Party’s authority. How can the CCP say that Taiwan is part of mainland China and, therefore, cannot claim independence?
Imagine that China and Taiwan are two people who know each other. China is claiming that it’s married to Taiwan. In the meantime, China is stating that Taiwan will get into trouble if it divorces China. On the other hand, Taiwan states that it never married China. How can two people divorce each other if they were never married in the first place?
China cites the 1992 agreement as a form of marriage. Nevertheless, Taiwan declines China’s interpretation.
Will China invade Taiwan?
There is no clear answer. However, there is a possibility of this scenario. Hadn’t Russia invaded Ukraine, the chances of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan would be low but never zero.
Hadn’t Russia invaded Ukraine, China might get deterred by potential economic sanctions imposed by the US, EU, UK and other NATO countries that could cripple it economically. In the same way, these nations attempted to harm the Russian economy because of the war in Ukraine.
Overall, it seems that Russia is doing quite well for itself after almost five months of economic isolation because of the war. The sanctions imposed by Western countries on Russia did more harm to those who imposed them. The sanctions backfired big time. Ill calculated or karma?
The perception of the sanctions is like someone drunk arguing with their reflection in a mirror. At a point, the drunkard argues with their reflection and swings a punch at the mirror. The drunk missed striking the mirror and ended up knocking themself out instead.
Russia isn’t fighting the Ukrainians but indirectly at least another 30 countries, or what is known as a proxy war which includes the US, the 27 member states of the European Union, the UK and other NATO members.
If Russia managed to do well overall, what’s keeping China from doing the same with Taiwan? In a way, Putin showed China the way forward.
“Anything is impossible until done”, while quoted out of context as it involves war and the destruction of human life and property, is suitable in principle.
The ghosts of wars past
The US Government showed weakness in handling the withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan. The US Government effectively replaced the Taliban with the Taliban after spending nearly $3 trillion on a twenty-year war with thousands of casualties on both sides.
The American public sentiment after the withdrawal chaos was that the US should have never invaded Afghanistan and Iraq. The money spent on the war could have improved the lives of millions of Americans at home.
The chaos in the withdrawal from Afghanistan signalled that the world’s greatest army got defeated. The message didn’t resonate well around the world.
The US isn’t directly fighting with Russia in the war between Russia and Ukraine. Likewise, the US is only providing weapons and support in Ukraine. The US public doesn’t seem too keen on entering another war, especially one that doesn’t affect it directly.
Decades of the unjustness of non-Western countries by some influential Western countries created a coalition of countries that opposed Western influence and interference.
A few notable mentions include Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS). The initial role of BRICS was to provide mainly economic prosperity for its citizens. However, it seems it is becoming a political club, siding with Russia.
Other countries that support Russia include Iran and North Korea, perhaps the most economically isolated due to sanctions imposed by Western countries.
The way Russia is currently navigating through the sanctions is a unifying idea to create a new collaboration to counter Western powers.
Russia seems to be writing the playbook for other countries like China on the way forward. The West now has two huge threats on its hand, Russia and China.
One has to keep in mind that Russia and China have raw materials such as natural resources and manufacturing, while the Western countries are consumers of their production.
The repercussions of imposing sanctions could grind the global economy to a complete standstill causing stagflation. The sanctions on Russia created chaos in the global economy. If the West imposed the same sanctions on China, it would create even more devastating effects, as China is considered the world’s factory.
Geopolitics is a sensitive and complicated subject. Western countries need to thread more careful when dealing with China.
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