The challenge launched by the United States to China, with the visit to Taiwan of the president of the House of Representatives of that country, Nancy Pelosi, has set fire to the geopolitical powder keg of the Far East. However, we must not lose sight of the fact that this is one more step, and announced, in Washington’s strategy of global hegemony, well defined at the recent NATO summit in Madrid. This global prevalence of the United States, as indicated in the new strategic concept of NATO at the service of Washington’s interests, goes through Russia’s encirclement in Europe Y bullying china as its only great political and economic rival.
The mistake in the diplomatic strategy of the United States is in the comparison of its two rivals, the European and the Asian. While in the case of Russia, the approach led by Washington has brought huge benefits from the war, for its arms industry, its sales of liquefied gas to Europe and in the face of the rebirth of NATO as a military bloc, this confrontation with China predicts a more dangerous response from Beijing and not necessarily armed. In the economic sphere, this response will have a strong impact on the US allies in the Pacific —Japan, South Korea and Australia— and on the US economy itself, despite the fact that it is closely linked to China.
An “extremely dangerous” step
The Chinese government has already indicated that Pelosi’s visit to Taipei is an “extremely dangerous” step and a threat to the stability of the region. Pelosi is the highest-ranking US official Washington has sent to Taiwan in the last quarter century. The United States does not recognize the island as an independent state, but has not hesitated to arm it to the teeth, as part of its strategy to strengthen a security “cordon” between China and the Pacific Rim, which includes South Korea, Japan and Australia.
In October 1949, the island of Taiwan became the stronghold of the Kuomingtan Chinese nationalists, defeated on the mainland by the communists in the Chinese civil war. Since then, Beijing has demanded the reintegration of the island as part of its indivisible territory and considers any military, diplomatic or economic approach to the former Formosa by any country in the world an offense. This is the so-called “one China” policy.
Pelosi, in her farewell, has made it clear that “she will not leave Taiwan”
Pelosi, who arrived in Taiwan as the final leg of an Asian tour, explained the reasons for her visit in an editorial published in the Washington Post shortly before his arrival on the island. “We cannot stand by while the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) proceeds to threaten Taiwan and democracy itself,” Pelosi explained. United States, he said at the conclusion of his visit, “will not abandon Taiwan.”
Washington does not maintain official relations with Taipei, which does not prevent the United States from being the largest supplier of weapons to the Taiwanese Army and the US president himself, Joe Bidenhas indicated on several occasions, perhaps in yet another example of verbal incontinence, that he will help Taiwan militarily if China tries to invade the rebellious island.
China’s response, diplomatic for now, to Pelosi’s visit to Taipei has not been long in coming. His Ministry of Foreign Affairs has stated that this step again breaks the adhesion of the United States to the “one China” principle, it has “a serious impact on the political foundations of US-China relations”, and “seriously infringes China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”.
The US Asian strategy already defined in Madrid
Democrat Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan has a lot to do with the mid-term legislative elections to be held in November in the United States. Pelosi ranks third at the helm of the Biden Administration, after the president himself and the vice president, Kamala Harris. His dialectical bellicosity and his many years of criticizing the Chinese dictatorship make for a very welcome battering ram for Biden’s propaganda. A strategy that is based on the definition of clear external enemies to unite the country at a time of serious world economic crisis and when US hegemony abroad is highly questioned for its inconsistency.
Russia is the official enemy, but the real opponent is China
A year ago saw the hasty American exit from Afghanistan and the return of the Taliban regime to Kabul. As much as this withdrawal was agreed, the reappearance of radical Islamists in the streets of that capital, the immediate rollback in civil rightsthe bloody settling of accounts and the return to the “Afghan game” of old acquaintances in the region, such as China and Russia, were considered in Asia as a dishonorable defeat of the United States. A defeat that showed that the apparent victory of 2001 over the Taliban had been only partial.
This withdrawal from Kabul also showed that US international policy was always very fickle and ready to move from one scenario to another with amazing ease and without remorse for leaving its circumstantial allies unprotected. the ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskyyou must be quite worried at this time when the predictions of the NATO summit in Madrid, last June, are being fulfilled: yes, russia is the official enemy, but the real opponent is china. Let the Europeans be the ones to face the effects of the war in Ukraine, while US foreign policy focuses on the Great Game with China for dominance of the Indo-Pacific region and, therefore, of the world.
A wall around China
It is not just about economic hegemony. There is a lot of security in this Great Game of interests between Beijing and Washington. That is why it was so important at the NATO Summit in Madrid that countries like Japan, South Korea, New Zealand or Australia close ranks with the Atlantic Alliance and bet on “special” and armed cooperation in the East. There are the statements of the former Australian Defense Minister, Peter Dutton, who warned at the end of last April and pointed the finger at Beijing that “The only way to preserve peace is to prepare for war”. Dutton claimed that the Asia-Pacific region was in “a very similar period” to that of the 1930s, when Japan embarked on a genocidal conquest of East Asia.
In the new NATO strategic concept approved on June 29, China was defined as “a challenge” and its methods of “subverting the international order based on rules” were denounced. In the norms, of course, of the West. The document stressed that the People’s Republic of China “seeks control of key technological and industrial sectors” by abusing its economic advantage. The United States therefore responds to the Chinese challenge with threats from its international armed wing, a NATO with its tentacles extended to the East.
The Great Game in the Pacific
It’s not that the United States has nothing to worry about with China in the Pacific. We will not see Chinese maneuvers in the Eastern Pacific or Chinese bases in Palau or the Fiji Islands. But his interest in the region is evident, since, just as the United States is the great superpower on the eastern shore of this ocean, China is on the west bank.
The Chinese agreement with the Solomon Islands is part of a Beijing strategy to create a “Sino-Pacific” bloc in the region. The tour carried out in late May by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi was one of its diplomatic components. He visited eight countries in the area, beginning with the Solomons and ending in East Timor on June 4. On this tour, financial injections, infrastructure projects and other economic bets were put on the table, but also Beijing’s approach to the Pacific islands in terms of security.
The result of Wang’s trip was mixed, with interest from the Pacific states, but misgivings in the face of Chinese avidity. the same doubts that raises Washington’s anxiety in the area. Criticisms from the region’s leaders were much the same as those leveled at US attempts to apply free association agreements everywhere. The regional authorities feel neglected while the Chinese and American representatives sell their plans to the big companies based in those territories.
It was the Chinese president himself, Xi Jinping, who a few days ago told Biden what could happen if this crisis worsens: “who plays with fire, gets burned”. Unlike Russia, incapable of hurting the US, but able to hurt a European Union stubborn in its war of sanctions against Moscow, China can affect the US economy a lot. Like Russia, China can withstand an economic war better than the United States or Europe. He is already rehearsing it with his very long confinement. seems unlikely a military confrontation between China and the United States by Taiwan, but the crisis is served and will be of notable proportions. If we still see the war in Ukraine as the biggest problem threatening Europe this fall and winter, let us wait under cover for the storm that is currently brewing in the South China Sea.