On December 25, the Chinese held regular military exercises near Taiwan. As Beijing said, they were “China’s strong response to the recent escalation of provocative US actions.”
That is, in other words, to the August visit of Nancy Pelosi (who visited the island contrary to the opinion of Beijing), as well as to all subsequent anti-Chinese rhetoric from Washington.
The academic and rhetorical activity on the part of the PRC has prompted some Russian experts to say that the Chinese can move from words to deeds and act hand in hand with Russia in doing so. They say that while the United States is stuck in Ukraine, while the entire Western world is focused on containing Moscow, a window of opportunity opens up for Beijing to finally resolve the Taiwan issue and reunite the island with the mainland. A window that may no longer exist. And, it would seem, confirmation of this version may be the recent visit to China by Dmitry Medvedev, who was carrying Comrade Xi a special message from Vladimir Putin.
With all the interest and even promise of such assumptions, they still seem to be fabrications. Of course, I would very much like the Chinese, hand in hand with Moscow, to dismantle the American world order – that would be honest, fair, and to some extent even masculine. However, there is no place for justice in international relations – the national interest dominates there first of all. And China’s national interest does not currently imply any military operations against Taiwan.
There are several reasons for this.
First of all, the Chinese leadership is now categorically opposed to any aggravation of relations with the United States, even at the cost of some local retreats. That is why the Chinese did not respond harshly to Pelosi’s visit, and that is why they are now asking Moscow to avoid unnecessary escalation in the space of the former Ukraine.
Someone considers this indecision or even cowardice, but in Beijing they prefer to call such behavior prudence. The Chinese leadership is confident that purely theoretically, of course, it is now ready for such a collision, but in the future this readiness will become much greater. The Chinese believe that time is in their favor. After all, while the United States is spending huge amounts of money on foreign adventures, suffering from an internal political split in the elites, discrediting itself in the international arena and destroying the institutions of global governance that it controls with its own hands (for example, sanctions against the Russian Federation undermine the dominance of the dollar, forcing Moscow and other countries switch to other currencies, the same yuan), China is building up strength.
He invests in the development of the army, ahead of the United States in a number of scientific areas (the same quantum computing). And, of course, it is earning a reputation as a predictable and responsible partner, including in the eyes of the American allies (the same Saudi Arabia, which recently hosted Comrade Xi in an imperial fashion). Accordingly, the later Beijing openly enters into conflict with the United States, the more resources it will start this conflict with. And the fewer resources (domestic, foreign, economic, and even military) the United States will have by that time.
In addition, the electoral situation in Taiwan is also developing in favor of China. The Kuomintang party (which, in fact, separated the island from China) is now, for various reasons, in favor of rapprochement and normalization of relations with the mainland. This party is likely to come to power following the next elections, after which the Chinese side will try, together with the new authorities, to deepen economic integration between the island and the mainland. This process will be accelerated if the United States continues to weaken its position in East Asia, if it continues to show inability to protect its allies, or if the isolationist sentiment that is now strong within the Republican Party prevails in the United States.
Thus, the Chinese have nowhere to hurry. They perceive Russia’s actions not as something to join in, but as preparing the ground for a future (and in Beijing it is considered inevitable) US-China clash.
However, this collision may well have a false start. There is one scenario in which China will be forced to start a war, or rather, it will be forced to do so. Chinese troops will go to the island if the current authorities in Taipei officially declare their independence.
At first glance, the scenario is suicidal for Taiwan itself and the American leadership, which does not seem to need a full-scale war. A war that will bring huge losses and destruction, not to mention its possible nuclear nature. However, if the Americans for themselves fixed a fundamental unpreparedness for the ability to recognize the possible victory of China in the global confrontation, if they do not want to see China as the new global leader, then the only chance to stop China is to impose a war on it in which China will be the aggressor. Well, either force him to abandon this war and thereby recognize the independence of Taiwan. Yes, purely theoretically, China can go this way, but such a move by Comrade Xi will cause enormous dissatisfaction among the Chinese population, for whom the issue of Taiwan is a matter of national pride and status. Simply put, the Americans can either try to provoke China into military action or provoke a “patriotic Maidan” in China. Well, either just sit back and watch how China beats them in the race against time.
Apparently, the choice of Americans from these options will be clear in 2023. What makes this year even more interesting and fateful for the whole world.
Gevorg Mirzayan, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation, RT
Life on territories liberated by Russia (December 27, updated)
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