Thursday, August 18, 2022

Threat of global war

After US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a whirlwind 24-hour ‘unscheduled’ visit to Taiwan, the rising tension between the US and China has even gotten worse as there are fears that Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s ego could push the region to the brink of a serious crisis. China claims scores of islands formerly called as Republic of China (RoC) and presently as Taiwan, as its own. From 1949 the erstwhile Republic of China (presently Taiwan) used to be recognized as China but it changed in 1971 when the communist giant China was rightly accorded the status as main China. In all cases, communist China far exceeds Taiwan by multiple times, on anything. China is 267 times bigger than Taiwan and its economy is also more by multiple times. However, tiny Taiwan is not overawed nor fearful of its mainland sister and despite being recognized by hardly a dozen of the around 195 countries in the world; the tiny nation is an economic giant. In fact, Taiwan is the world biggest manufacturer of very high-quality microchips. Taiwan dominates the foundry market, or the outsourcing of semiconductor manufacturing. Taiwan has the world’s largest foundry that counts major technology firms such as Apple, Qualcomm and Nvidia as its clients. The sad part is that even the UN does not recognize Taiwan but considers it as a province of China and so also the UK, USA and all nations. This has only fuelled China’s aim of ‘reuniting the two as ‘one China’. In fact, the UN and all western nations who rant and wail against Chinese belligerence, rights abuse and various unethical trade practices, share the same concept of ‘One China’. Nations across the globe have strong economic ties with Taiwan as the US does but are disinclined to accord the tiny nation recognition. China had warned the US of dire consequence if Nancy Pelosi dared visit Taiwan. According to US media sources, even US president Joe Biden tried to persuade Pelosi to not go to Taiwan lest it fuelled anger and retaliation by China. The contradiction over Taiwan’s official status is the main source of tension. It provides China with an excuse to be belligerent about Taiwan. The US foreign policy vis-à-vis China hardened especially after Donald Trump was elected as president of the USA in 2016. Trump followed a policy of tit-for-tat with China especially over trade and later strategic cooperation with Asian nations whose territories disputed by China. Nancy Pelosi visit to Taiwan may have added fuel to fire and the US will also have to respond. Often, under the threat of nuclear war nations ruled by dictators like China and Russia, have managed to thumb their nose on other countries. If the US shirks its obligation, then it will mean a huge loss of reputation and also a signal that the free world is willing to succumb to threats. Even in the Ukraine war, the US and its NATO allies have taken a back seat while Putin grinds Ukraine to dust through bombs, rockets and missiles. China and Russia are encouraging and inspiring other rogue nations for an axis against free nations.

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