The Fate of Taiwan Will Decide the Future of the South China Sea

by Mark Antony Rossi

The South China Sea is bordered by the countries of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. China is also a bordered country and has become an aggressor by using its economic might and military prowess to claim nearly the entire South China Sea for itself.

Little has been done to stop China from poaching in territorial waters of the Philippines and Vietnam with huge commercial fishing fleets. Apart from diplomatic protests, the regional response to this open theft is anemic and serves to encourage China to continue the illegal practice. Armed military overflights of Malaysia have convinced that country to upgrade its air force but in Taiwan, nearly daily aerial incursions have only met with public statements and the thin hope that the United States will come to the rescue.

This Taiwan rescue is not fictional but neither is the attempt practical. The fighting will be over before any substantial American force arrives. And once the Chinese dig in on the island, there is little American public appetite for a protracted ground assault. While it is entirely in the realm of possibility that Taiwan can defend and win against a full-scale Chinese invasion, there are current indications it is not ready to do so.

National Attitude: The Taiwanese are not mentally prepared for the Chinese invasion. They are either convinced the Chinese have too much to lose or America will sail in and rescue their island nation. Look at Hong Kong. Understand at the height of the Cold War between the Soviet Union and America, Russia’s aerial incursions for a year did not add up to what China is doing over Taiwan in a few days.

Military Conscription: Taiwan imposes four months of military training. This is woefully inadequate and completely unacceptable. Training needs to be boosted to two years for the military and national drills for the civilian population on a bi-monthly basis. The lack of preparation in Taiwan is akin to a sick animal in the forest. It sends a signal of weakness.        And then it’s eaten.

Military Equipment: More spending is urgently required. The target of 3% (which I still believe is low) is not being met and Taiwan’s military spending is currently at 2% GNP. Missile acquisition and anti-missile systems are crucial to any island defense or offense. US Patriot batteries and Israel’s Iron Dome should be on Taiwan’s military shopping list.

Military Strategy: They say a good offense is the best defense. Taiwan should acquire and train in the near islands a bomber group. The bombing of Chinese military assets on its shores is an offense move guaranteed to hurt their invasion aspirations. And likely reduce the chances of another invasion should the first invasion fail to take Taiwan.

One China Policy: Declare independence and stop this fantasy. The Chinese don’t believe it and are preparing to force unification (another term for enslavement.) The nation of Taiwan is asleep in the dream world China is bluffing and America is all it needs for defense. Both of these thoughts are dangerous illusions. Taiwan; not American leadership, has the capability to save the island from destruction.

Taiwan is Pivotal: Taiwan is pivotal in rolling back Chinese aggression in a South China region that will fall like mindless dominoes if Taiwan fails to listen to the signs. If Taiwan fails to defend itself. For if China succeeds the surrounding nations will not put up a fight. The name Taiwan will be removed from the mouths of anyone seeking to trade with a growing Communist empire who right now as we speak is imprisoning an entire race of people, Uyghurs, in vast concentration camps replete with torture, rape, and murder to extract human organs for sale in the black market.

Freedom is not free. It is paid for by the blood and sacrifices of those hearing the call to put their principles and bodies to the hazard. I do not doubt the resolve of the Chinese leadership. They are painted in a corner. They must win in Taiwan or face a revolt in many sectors of their empire from within their shores to outside like Hong Kong or Tibet. And please understand “win” doesn’t necessarily mean taking over the island and turning it into another Hong Kong. A win can also mean burning Taiwan to ashes. Such a horrific outcome would still serve their increasingly desperate need for total control of the region.

There is no Unification. There is only Domination or Liberty. What Taiwan decides, fair or not, will alter the course of the world for decades. It might very well start WWIII because free trade and individual freedom will be under grave threat. If Taiwan falls if will not be the first in this fight which is bound to forge a great alliance of united forces of human rights and national sovereignty to defeat China. Sadly, at this point, Taiwan will not be a reality, but rather a battle cry for those of us remaining.

About the Author:

Mark Antony Rossi is a poet, playwright and author of the bioethics volume “Dark Tech” now available from Amazon. His most recent plays have been produced in Liverpool and New York. He also hosts a podcast called Strength to be Human.

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