Can the US support Taiwan against China? - opinion

The disastrous US withdrawal from Afghanistan raises the question of whether they can support other countries that may need their help.

 TAIWAN'S PRESIDENT Tsai Ing-Wen (second right) attends a National Day celebration in Taipei on Sunday. (photo credit: ANN WANG/REUTERS)
TAIWAN'S PRESIDENT Tsai Ing-Wen (second right) attends a National Day celebration in Taipei on Sunday.
(photo credit: ANN WANG/REUTERS)

Much has been said of the disastrous US withdrawal from Afghanistan. The hasty decision by the Biden administration has had profound consequences for the country and in particular, the Afghan allies of US troops and of course the 18 million Afghan women. The poor leadership exemplified by the United States literally handed the Taliban the nation on a silver platter after 20 years of conflict, and in doing so actually provided them with even better weaponry and technology than they would have had before. Afghanistan is lost, but it doesn’t end there.

The aftermath of the US actions in Afghanistan is proving to be even more disastrous for US allies that depend on it. The takeaway message heard around the world by enemy states as well as rival superpowers, was that the US will abandon its allies as well as those who put their necks out to help US troops – be they in Iraq, Afghanistan or elsewhere. In doing so, the Biden administration has emboldened Russia, Iran and of course China into continuing their military aggression throughout the world. 

One of the most concerning examples in recent weeks has been China’s aggression against Taiwan, which has proudly stood as a beacon of hope and democracy in the face of China’s oppressive and human rights-violating regime. In recent weeks, China has sent a record number of jets, bombers and warplanes – approximately 150 – in striking formation into Taiwan’s southern air defense zone for multiple days in a row – a show of force aimed to intimidate Taiwan. In fact, when Taiwanese air traffic control radioed one of the Chinese pilots, the pilot responded with obscenities, cursing the Taiwanese. 

As Chinese military might has continued to grow, so too has the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) thirst for territorial power. With a weak United States that has already proven it won’t stand with allies, the threats of military conflict seem to be looming on the horizon for Taiwan. 

For decades, the tiny island of Taiwan has held out against Chinese pressure to unify with the communist country, despite petty actions of the CCP around the world, threatening and pressuring foreign nations if they cooperate with Taiwan or recognize Taiwan’s independence. The CCP has made it very clear, to the point of obsession, that Taiwan’s commitment to democracy is a thorn in their side – which frankly is all the more reason to support Taiwan.

Taiwan Foreign MINISTER Joseph Wu attends a news conference for foreign journalists in Taipei, earlier this year. (credit: ANN WANG/REUTERS)Taiwan Foreign MINISTER Joseph Wu attends a news conference for foreign journalists in Taipei, earlier this year. (credit: ANN WANG/REUTERS)

Chinese President Xi Jinping has continued to push an increasingly aggressive policy of “complete reunification” with Taiwan and other independent or semi-autonomous areas like Hong Kong. He even called Taiwan independence a “grave lurking threat to national rejuvenation,” to which the Taiwanese responded that only the people of Taiwan will decide their fate, affirming their commitment to democratic values.

Sadly, Xi’s approach has already proved disastrous for Hong Kong, which previously had some degree of independence as a democratic area. For Taiwan, an independent country already fighting for international recognition, the results could be even worse – and deadly.

The recent acts of Chinese aggression have already brought condemnation from the US and Australia, but what does China actually have to fear? It’s not as if the US is taking a strong stand for its allies under the current administration. Beyond empty platitudes and meaningless condemnations, no one held China accountable for its anti-democratic moves to take over Hong Kong. Despite a literal genocide and concentration camps against Chinese Muslims, no one, including the UN, is acting against Chinese war crimes.

This is an extremely precarious position for the world to be in. An expansionist Russia, China, and even Iran with its proxy militias leads directly to a more violent and unstable world. The world must stand up to China before it is too late, and we cannot allow allies like Taiwan to fall prey to the CCP’s delusions of a greater China. The proper response to a bully is to put him in his place, not look the other way. The US and allies must not allow China to continue this path of expansionist aggression, and must defend Taiwan.

The writer is the CEO of Social Lite Creative.