Thursday, July 27, 2023

Spinning Taiwan

At the time of this writing, the world is in a mess.  More of a mess, I'd say, than at any time since the Korean War, for sure.  It isn't that there are lots of countries engaged in kinetic conflict.  But it's definitely at a point where a lot of places are in a lot of flux.  A whole range of pots of simmering on the stove, all seemingly about to boil over.

If you've been keeping up, you can list conflicts -- political, environmental and economic -- on just about every continent, with the possible exception of Antarctica, where penguins still worry about little more than the occasional orca.  Most of the world's conflicts are pretty generic, driven by stated and actual agenda, along with secret deals and ulterior motives.  

One thing you can count on, however, is that they all come wrapped in the patriotism of each country's national flag. Every faction is sure that God is on its side, justifying whatever it is they plan on doing to the other, so most of these conflicts run by the same playbook.

Well, almost all of them.  To me, the big exception is China and its plans for acquiring Taiwan. I suspect that one is not going to end the way most people think:

The first thing you have to realize is that the clock is running, at least until 2024. That's not a political statement; that's just the way things are. I don't know anyone who thinks the world has been normal since 2020, either here in the United States or anywhere else on the planet.  We've all been through a lot in a relatively short period of time. But realistically, an election in the USA could signal a return to traditional politics just as quickly, which means every country, from Russia to China to France to the United Kingdom has only a limited time to get their agenda completed -- or not.

China is not immune from this. It knows it has to move on the capture of Taiwan before the end of 2024, because that's the last time it can do so without firing a shot.  Here's how:

First, realize that at least four generations have long since forgotten why Taiwan even exists.  They have no recollection of Chiang Kai Shek, Chinese history and the fact that Taiwan is actually a free country that rejected communism outright.  So for most of the world, there is no moral imperative to save Taiwan or its free society. 

Second, those who do know their history can point to the repatriation of Hong Kong, which also occurred without warfare:  The British colony simply handed over the keys to the Chinese and that was that. So what's the big deal about Taiwan?

Third, and likely the most important, Taiwan, like Hong Kong, is really nothing more than a muscular ATM, dispensing cash to whomever owns it.  With the Chinese economy tanking, it needs as much revenue as it can muster, which means it has no intention of destroying Taiwan, but preserving its revenue-generating capacity. It's a gold mine and China wants that gold.

Fourth, the rest of the world that depends on Taiwan's manufacturing doesn't want any interruption of its supply chain.  So they really don't care who owns Taiwan, as long as the chips and semi-conductors keep flowing.  To them, a non-violent takeover is a win/win situation.

And the United States is going to let it happen with barely a yawn.

Of course, there's going to be a heavy spin effort blasted at the American public and the world at large in order to justify the conquest.  My bet is that instead of this being reported as a "hostile takeover," the Biden administration will sell this as "a long overdue reunification of the sovereign Chinese people."  In fact, I'd bet that someone, somewhere will nominate Secretary of State Anthony Blinken for a Nobel Peace Prize citing his part in "the glorious reunification considered unimaginable just a few short years ago."

Then everyone will get back to business.

Think people won't buy it?  Depends who you ask and how many of them are getting their fourth booster shot.


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