Taiwan – the drum roll

Image: Jiawei Cui
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By MÁRIO MAESTRI*

In Ukraine, as in Taiwan, the possibility of radicalization of US imperialism is a growing trend.

Taiwan was born as bunker unconquerable American ship, a natural aircraft carrier, two strokes off the coast of the People's Republic of China. And so it remained for decades. For a long time, China's claims to the big island were in vain, and its threats to recover the stray Chinese province by force, which the US always took as rhetorical exercises. Since 1949, Taiwan has been a protectorate that US imperialism does not intend to emancipate. Today, however, the situation is reversed. China and Formosa – name given by the Portuguese – are no longer the same. Chinese troops could land on the island and conquer it, without the US perhaps rehearsing an effective military movement to defend it, which is not currently a commitment assumed by imperialism. The question is: if they can, why not? And when and how do you intend to do it?

At the end of 1948, Chiang Kai-shek's troops were trapped on the coast by the Chinese People's Liberation Army, despite American support. Trapped, one and a half million civilians and what was left of the Kuomintang [pro-bourgeois and pro-imperialist] took refuge on the island of Taiwan – in the local language –, protected by at least 180 km of sea in the strait. The entire Chinese fleet had accompanied Chiang Kai-shek's troop withdrawal. In the following decades, the situation remained unchanged in the Republic of China, the grandiloquent designation of the puppet state founded under the protection of the Yankee navy. The powerful 7th Fleet was formed in 1943, based in Yokosuka, Japan, over two thousand kilometers from the island of Formosa. Like Italy and Germany, countries defeated in World War II, Japan is still occupied by important Yankee troops. [GUILLERMAZ, 1970; GUILLERMAZ, 1973.]

Practically without a navy in 1949, the Red Army of Workers and Peasants of China accumulated on the coast, to repel an eventual imperialist landing, supported on the island of Taiwan. Especially in 1954 and 1958, China bombed the largest islands controlled by the nationalists in the Taiwan Strait, seeking to occupy them, in which it was successful with the islands of Yijiangshan and Dachen. It was prevented from continuing this offensive by the 7.a Fleet. In 1972, the international situation underwent a radical turnaround. The agreement between Mao Zedong and Nixon, in an anti-USSR bias, opened space for capitalist restoration in China, assumed as official State policy in late 1978.

In the new scenario, while advancing the “Chinese road to capitalism” in Beijing, Democratic President Jimmy Carter, in Washington, on January 1, 1979, announced the recognition of China as the “only legal government”, which it had already been done at the UN and by the vast majority of nations. Despite the US breakup of diplomatic relations with Taipei, arming and support for the island continued more discreetly, through the “Taiwan Relationship Act”, in April of that year, approved by the US Congress. It allowed the sale of "defensive" weapons against any attempt to modify the status quo from Taiwan. What China was unable to do. In 1979, Beijing proposed a path for the peaceful integration of Taiwan, still under the Kuomintang government, through the Chinese constitutional doctrine of “one country, two systems”, enunciated by Deng Xiaoping. The proposal formatted the delivery, in 1997, of Hong Kong to the Chinese government, by England, the colonial metropolis of the financial enclave since 1842.

In 1997, China was still in a situation of relative fragility and Hong Kong weighed heavily on its economy. The financial enclave's GDP was then 18% of China's – today, it's just 2,7%, and it's still falling. In 1999, the same solution framed the return of Macao by the former Portuguese metropolis. The Chinese constitutional principle guaranteed broad autonomy rights regarding administration and, above all, respect for the prevailing capitalist order. The accelerating capitalist restoration facilitated the rapprochement of the political leaderships of mainland China and Taiwan, which the Nationalist Party [Kuomintang] ruled for decades with an iron fist. The new Chinese order and the proposal of “one country, two systems” reassured the Taiwanese bourgeoisie and oligarchy. The rapprochement was strengthened with the advancement of integration of the island's economy to mainland China, in accelerated capitalist development. Everything pointed to an outcome without screams and gnashing of teeth. [MAESTRI, 2021.]

 

The Fall of the Wall

In the early 1990s, after the dissolution of the USSR and capitalist restoration in nations with nationalized and planned economies, the world entered three decades of undisputed hegemony of US imperialism and unbridled neoliberalism. In the context of the new US unipolar order, the great world capital continued to migrate to the former “Middle Kingdom”, which had once again become a “China business”, with its Amazonian market and multitudes of workers mercilessly exploited.

In turn, Russia had lost territories and populations, had its state-owned industry and natural wealth robbed, privatized, squandered. The population knew the pains of hell. The country became a veritable backyard of imperialism, under the subservient government of Boris Yeltsin and the national social strata that contributed to that historic hecatomb. The USA began to impose itself, by force of arms, on nations that would not submit without resistance: Yugoslavia, Serbia, Iraq, etc. The US imperialist envisioned a century of domination ahead of him, stepping ever harder on workers, populations, nations. But it was not what was inscribed in the stars.

With the end of the Yeltsin Era [1991-99], in Russia, a reaction was articulated mainly around a national bourgeoisie, in defense of its interests, supported by the restoration of some large state companies of the Soviet era - oil, gas, weaponry, aerospace industry, etc. The national-capitalist reconstruction government had Vladimir Putin as its main leader. The new order simply sought to integrate capitalist Russia into the international division of labor, above all within the European Union. Its membership in NATO was proposed on the occasion of Bill Clinton's last visit to Moscow.

A collaboration-integration of Russia, master of powerful nuclear weapons and immense natural resources, especially with Germany, a leading industrial nation, would transform Europe into an autonomous world power. The project was vetoed by the USA and continued the encirclement of Russia by NATO, started almost immediately after the destruction of the USSR. The historic project of European imperialism, now submitted to US capital, was resumed: the transformation of Eurasia, especially Russia, into a global colony. Project resumed, not created, by the Third Reich when the USSR invaded, on June 22, 1941. With no way out, the Russian State undertook a defensive reaction to the USA and NATO. [MAESTRI, 2022, 1.]

The Chinese dinner promoted by imperialism, in which the international capital had feasted with pantagruelian appetite, also turned out to be indigestible. In just a few decades, China has transformed itself from a producer of trinkets into a nation that exports increasingly technological products, with active public and private monopoly groups that export capital. [PROBSTING, 2014; SPERANCETE, 2019.] In the Leninist sense of the term, China emerged as an imperialist nation, which, due to its enormous dynamism, demanded the incessant expansion of its world markets, in order not to founder. [LÉNINE, 1984]. Movement organized by the Chinese state through the mega-initiative “One Belt – One Road”. The externalization of the world expansion of Chinese monopoly capital inevitably collided with US imperialism, as it disputed its space. Although hegemonic worldwide, the USA experienced a process of regression, mainly in manufacturing, due in large part to the relocation of its industries, in search of super-exploited labor in China, Thailand, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Mexico, etc.

US imperialism was required to respond to Russian and Chinese dissent, which threatened its hegemonic position and, thus, the foundations of its domination and parasitic prosperity. Supported by its military, financial and diplomatic supremacy, the USA had a window of time, which was narrowing, to disorganize the powerful Chinese Dragon that was constantly strengthening. The dominant proposition of establishment American aim was to advance first the destruction-disorganization of Russia, to then proceed in the same way with China, countries that strengthened their relations in a defensive sense. The reasons for starting the attack from Russia were many. Its siege and Russo-phobia started long before the destruction of the USSR. The European Union and NATO disciplined themselves to the US heel. The attack on China required further advances in regional alliances and military preparation in the Indo-Pacific. [MOSCATELLI, 2021; MAESTRI, 2022, 1; WHITE HOUSE, 2020.]

 

Russia delenda est – and China, too!

In a defensive reaction, the Russian State updated its nuclear weapons and modernized the land army, which was greatly reduced compared to the times of the USSR, perhaps too much. Priority was given to troops with high integration and technological advancement, with emphasis on land and air forces of rapid intervention, more agile and lighter, adapted to the confrontation of irregular antagonists and unevenly armed, characteristics of the world clashes in the last thirty years. Military reorganization that ensured success in Chechnya, Georgia, Ukraine in 2014, Syria, etc.

The possibility of NATO invasion of Russian territories was disregarded, to be deterred by the certainty that it would be faced with tactical nuclear weapons. Options that forced Russia to face Ukraine, backed by NATO, on February 24, 2022, with numerically inferior ground forces – around 160 Russian soldiers, against 700 Ukrainians. In some specific sectors, Russia technologically surpassed the US weaponry. [Kashin & Kramnik: 2022.] The Russian government prepared itself with singular diligence in the economic, financial, diplomatic, etc. areas. for the foreseeable NATO-US attack.

In turn, supported by its enormous economic dynamism, the government of Beijing undertook, at the drop of a hat, an ambitious modernization of its armed forces. Enormous emphasis was placed on the literal construction of a powerful war navy, non-existent at the time of Liberation, in 1949, considering that the imperialist attack on China would take place in the Pacific, with the eventual blockage of Chinese export-import routes. Today, the People's Liberation Army navy, with 360 warships, outnumbers the US navy, which has 300, in terms of number of warships, even though it has more combat experience and its ships have a higher average tonnage.

Even though it's 7a. The most powerful fleet, American ships are scattered across all seas. China has the largest fishing fleet in the world, which is also a military resource. [URBINA, 2020.] It has two aircraft carriers just built and the construction of two others is proposed. China has expanded its limited strategic atomic weaponry; its low-, medium-, and long-range missiles; its military aviation.

Its armed forces tend to outperform those of the United States more and more, in a necessarily regional confrontation. The accelerated rearmament and the defensive alliance of Moscow and Beijing contribute to the de facto international multipolarity, unacceptable by US imperialism, as it awakens worldwide feelings of national autonomy. The traditional “military games”, from the 13th to the 27th of August, with the participation of Venezuela, Iran, China, Russia and dozens of other nations, will be held this year in northwest Venezuela!

The decision to attack Russia and China directly, even if not frontally, would have been taken during the first Barak Obama administration [2010-2014]. To launch the offensive, Ukraine was prepared as a trigger of conclusive provocation against Russia, and Hong Kong and Taiwan, for the same purpose, in relation to China. The South China Sea was also selected, in a secondary way, as an eventual space for localized confrontation with China. The temporal discontinuity of the two offensives, the first against Russia, the second against China, is based on the awareness of Yankee strategists of the strong possibility of the USA and its allies to win a war against Russia or China, separately. And the certainty of the USA being defeated in a concurrent confrontation with the two nations.

EA Colby, former member of the US Department of Defense, declared recently, no rashes. “[…] we are certain that we will not be able to fight, let alone win, a war against Beijing and Moscow simultaneously.” [PETRONI. 2022, 7] We have seen that the campaign against Russia is based on the radicalization of conditions that have been under construction for more than a century, literally since 1917. The campaign against China is still in the articulation phase, as recorded by recent statements by G7, the Chinese Dragon being a strategic adversary and, soon after, the ten-year meeting of NATO, last July 30, with the presence of Japan, the need to extend the organization to the Pacific, to “contain China”, defined as the greatest enemy of the West. [MAESTRI, 2022, 2.]

Let's look at the organization's articulated chronology of the increasing harassment of Russia and China. On November 21, 2013 to February 22, 2014, the coup d'état in Ukraine, followed by the acceleration of weaponry and the exacerbation of Russophobia in that country, marked the launch of active operations against Russia. They foresaw its conclusion with the assault of the People's Republics of Donbass, which would compel the Russian army to intervene. To this end, important troops and weapons were gathered and bunkers, forts and defensive-offensive positions were built in Donbass under Ukrainian control.

The successes of 2022, currently underway, register that that imperialist initiative achieved many desired results: the need for Russian military intervention against a well-armed and numerically superior army, firmly supported by NATO; strengthening of NATO and extreme Russophobia, especially in Europe; replacement of Russian gas with US gas, etc. However, the strategic results sought, such as the dismantling of the Russian economy; the devaluation of the ruble; Moscow's diplomatic isolation, etc., and, as a conclusion, Russian state disorganization, were hopelessly frustrated. Instead of Putin falling, two pillars of anti-Russian aggression fell: England's Boris Johnson and Italy's Mario Draghi. And the government of Olaf Scholz quickly and enormously discredited.

Instead of splitting, as expected, the BRIC has been strengthening. And the offensive against Russia gave rise to unexpected reactions, such as the European energy crisis; the acceleration of inflation and the devaluation of the euro; the growing regression of European popular and national support for the NATO war, etc. More and more, Ukraine rises like a Sword of Damocles over the aggressive and overbearing NATO, which will have to do, from guts, heart, to put an end to the conflict, before the landing in Ukraine of the terrible Russian general: winter.

 

Attacking China from the Edges

The offensive against China was concomitant with the campaign that resulted in the coup d'état in Ukraine. In March-April 2014, students occupied, for 24 days, under the spotlight of the international media, the parliament of Taiwan, to protest against government agreements (Kuomintang) that strengthened economic ties with the Chinese government. The mainstream media and US imperialism poetically christened the anti-Chinese movement the “Sunflower Revolution”. In a synchronized dance, just five months later, when the counter-revolution was consolidating in Ukraine, it was Hong Kong's turn, with its “Umbrella Revolution”. Movement also led by students, with some support from the population, due to the often horrible conditions of existence of workers in that financial center. The movement dragged on for long months, returning in 2019, with escalating violence.

Hong Kong's “democratic” campaign demanded the maintenance of the privileges enjoyed by the local community under the “one country, two systems” treaty, and the direct election of the government. Which meant, in fact, independence from China. Around 3,4 of the seven million inhabitants of Hong Kong hold English nationality. Protesters began to demand in front of the British and US embassies that those nations “liberate” the city. Clearly secessionist leaders and organizations emerged. Royally financed, the leaderships of the Hong Kong and Taiwan student movements traveled to meet, consult, coordinate their actions. It was the “Eastern Spring” under way, according to the big international media and imperialism. (MAESTRI, 2019.)

The main objective of Hong Kong's “color revolution” was more than seven hundred kilometers away. It was built with the main purpose of proving, for the Taiwanese population, that the “one country, two systems” doctrine did not work. Mainly as a result of the 2014 demonstrations in Hong Kong, the Liberal, anti-Chinese, pro-imperialist, independenceist Democratic Progressive Party took over the government in Formosa in 2016. The Hong Kong demonstrations, which dominated Taiwan's electoral debate , from 2016, would also have contributed to the re-election of President Chang Kai-Shrek (1956), an anti-Chinese secessionist, in 2020.

The Progressive Democratic Party, defender of independence, was founded in 1986, when the US unipolar order was installed, victorious in 1991, with the dissolution of the USSR and capitalist restoration in countries with nationalized and planned economies. In September 2007, shortly before the enthronement of the Democrat Barak Obama, the PDP approved a resolution rejecting the tradition and ideas of Chang Kai-Shrek, who defended the capitalist and anti-communist reunification of China.

The PDP and Tsai Ing-wen instead, they propose a Taiwanese national identity and bluntly claim independence, knowing that, for China, crossing this red line means reunification by arms. Tsai Ing-wen he declared a break with the principle of “one country, two systems” and, on July 16, 2020, he directed the maneuvers of the Taiwanese army in combat uniform, with immense worldwide media repercussions. The PDP even rehearsed a plebiscite on independence, which was disallowed by the US.

The rise of the PDP to government and power took place in the midst of a kind of “cultural revolution”, supported by a true reinvention of tradition. Statues of Chang Kai-Chek were destroyed in an attempt to erase the Chinese past, after 1949 and before the Japanese occupation, in 1895. Schools, universities, media, cinema, etc. emphasized the romanticized cultural and ethnic roots of Taiwanese indigenous communities, which have undergone secular symbiosis with the migration of populations of southern Chinese origin, culture, and ethnicity. From 1948 onwards, the island's population, especially the indigenous minority, had been repressed and despised by the Kuomintang dictatorship, accused of collaborating with the Japanese.

This return to roots essay has, as an Age of Another, the half century of Japanese colonization, from 1895 to 1945, which was confused with capitalist expansion and modernization in a semi-feudal socio-economic space. It was in those years that the first modern industries were established in Takasago, the Japanese name of the big island. In the 1930s thousands of Aborigines and Chinese people died cheering the Emperor and the banner of the rising sun.

Teruo Nakamura, the last Japanese to surrender, in 1974, was a Taiwanese, who bore the native name of Attun Palalin on his home island, to which he returned. Today, the dominant Taiwanese culture's ideal of life is Japan, not the United States. In a recent survey, 60% of the population of Taiwan declared that Japan would be the “best country on earth”, a kind of land of promise. With the transfer of government to the PDP, the abandonment by Kuomintang imperialism, necessary for the poisoning of Taiwan's relations with China, was concluded. [MAESTRI, 2019; HAILONG, 2021; CUSCITTO, 9, 21.]

 

Taiwan yesterday and today

Taiwan had been, for many decades, the unsinkable aircraft carrier facing China, where the United States had air bases, dismantled during the Mao-Nixon approach. A strengthening of relations that also suspended Taiwan's defense commitment, advanced during the Korean War. During this period, when Beijing strengthened ties with the Kuomintang, China was in no condition to invade the big island. The Chinese navy and air force were fragile and technologically backward. From the 2010s, when American imperialism abandoned the old Taiwanese political ally and transferred its chips to the independence-oriented PDP, returning to the strategic harassment of China, the People's Liberation Army knew strengthening and modernization that would accelerate in the following years.

So, the invasion of Taiwan – and its large islands in the strait – by China became an increasingly feasible operation, with voluminous but decreasing military losses, although difficult to calculate, also due to the important political determinations of the operation. : degree of resistance of the Taiwanese army; level of support from the United States, Japan, etc. [YOU, 2021.]

The island of Formosa is located some 180 kilometers off the Chinese coast. With a length of 400 km and a maximum width of 150 km, it covers approximately 36 km of surface. However, two thirds of its territory is occupied by a chain of mountains, with a maximum height of four thousand meters, which divides the island along its length. The western coastal strip – some 12 square kilometers -, facing China, is home to the vast majority of its 23 million inhabitants. Part of this patch of land is occupied by plantations of foodstuffs, imported in large quantities from abroad. On the west coast, only about forty kilometers separate the sea from the mountain slopes.

Taiwan has made increasing millionaire purchases of high-tech weapons in the United States. Initially, its policy was based on air, sea and opposition to landing superiority, which it maintained over China, due to the support of imperialism. Then, it began to be articulated around some central principles. High vigilance of the enemy's approach, to fight him when crossing the strait, attacking his ships and planes on the high seas. If this defense is insufficient, destruction of the bridgeheads of the Chinese troops on the western coast, stingy with good landing points. In the event of a successful landing, continuation of resistance in urban areas and in the mountains. A military effort limited more and more by the country's demographic decline, by the need to reduce military spending, by resorting, in 2017, to a professional army, today around 200 soldiers. [ DAUPHIN, 2017; CUSCITTO, 1, 2021; LI-SHIH, Lu.]

This doctrine, already based on the understanding of asymmetric combat, was reaffirmed in 2021, despite remaining anchored in the past and already outdated, as it ignored the growth and modernization of Chinese weapons. The Chinese navy is able to easily encircle Taiwan, while its batteries of naval and land missiles, of short, medium and long range, prevent the approach of hostile ships within a radius of hundreds of kilometers from Formosa. Extreme precision missiles allow airports; military ports; armament factories; radar stations; defense, quartering, communication centers; energy production and distribution centers, etc., concentrated in a very narrow territory, are strongly compromised, before the beginning of an eventual invasion.

The prediction of an eventual surprise attack is now an illusion. Since the worsening of the independence rhetoric of the PDP and the incessant visits of military, parliamentary and US government officials, Chinese planes overcome the so-called Taiwanese “air defense zone”, bordering the 22-kilometer sea and air range, over which the nations Independents have sovereignty. Current Chinese fighters and bombers overcome this distance in less than a minute. China responded harshly to the provocation posed by the visit of Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives and third US judge after the president and vice president, on 2 August.

Announcing military maneuvers at sea, air and missiles with live fire, in six areas of maneuvers, close to the territorial waters of Taiwan, which it does not recognize, it blocked the island for several days, after the departure of Nancy Pelosi. Following US provocations, with the sending of new delegations to Taiwan, the Chinese government announced that it “will organize regular combat patrols” around Taiwan. China can, therefore, bring its ships and planes to Taiwan's coasts, under the excuse of carrying out maneuvers or patrols, before starting an eventual general attack.

 

getting real

Western experts are currently skeptical of the possibility of Taiwan fighting and detaining China in the strait. It proposes a change in its defense policy, which should stop buying heavy, refined and very expensive weapons – tanks, helicopters, submarines, etc. – to invest in the acquisition of technological weapons for close defense, such as the one used in Ukraine, at the beginning of the Russian operation, with the example of the Javalin anti-tank bazookas. Which would allow to cause heavy losses to the Chinese armed forces, in the event of an invasion. However, guerrilla warfare in cities and mountains, the last line of defense, especially isolated from external support, is no longer war, but cleaning up a territory after combat. Comparisons with fighting in Eastern Europe are laughable: Ukraine has forty times the surface area of ​​Taiwan and receives incessant military supply across its borders.

The big question posed by the awareness of the indefensible character of Taiwan, even more isolated, is: would the island's troops resist in a block knowing that they will suffer inevitable defeat, with nowhere to retreat, after a deadly combat? Would they accept resistance to every last Taiwanese as a mere midpoint in the US campaign against China? The abandonment of allied and local troops in Afghanistan by the US caused strong agitation and unrest in the ranks of the PDP.

Nancy Pelosi's visits, followed by parliamentarians and officials, in the following days and weeks, were also certainly due to the need to regain the confidence of the Taiwanese government that it would not be abandoned in the event of a Chinese invasion. However, the lack of response to the Chinese blockade in August has certainly deepened this distrust. There is no US commitment to the direct defense of the increasingly “sinkable” “aircraft carrier” in the face of a Chinese attack. So why doesn't China invade Taiwan, despite provocations from the PDP and its overbearing mentor?

Taiwan's reintegration into the national territory is not a tantrum from the Chinese government. It is an imperative need for the country's military defense and the export and import routes on which it depends. It is, therefore, an unavoidable operation, which China prefers to carry out, if possible, by peaceful means. The Chinese would launch an attack on Taiwan only if they had to, as in the case of Russia in Ukraine. Today, the quantitative and qualitative superiority of its armed forces, in inexorable growth, guarantees a certain victory for this military operation. However, it is difficult to predict its military, political, economic, diplomatic price, as proposed.

 

Bunkers, tunnels, shelters, traps

For decades, Taiwan has been preparing for a Chinese landing. It has bunkers, tunnels, shelters, traps, strong anti-aircraft artillery, missiles, planes, etc. There are only fourteen possible landing beaches on the west coast. The military and infrastructural points of interest would be around a thousand, requiring great expenditure on expensive missiles with advanced technology. Even more serious. Experts estimate the loss of up to tens of thousands of Chinese troops in the conquest of Taiwan and the large islands in the strait. Which would have great internal repercussions in China. To mitigate these possible losses, the Chinese are investing in multiple types of drones, to carry out military actions previously carried out by combatants. A direct military confrontation with Taiwan would result in the death of a difficult to predict number of civilians, due to the housing density of the west coast. What would hinder, for decades, a later incorporation soft from the island's population to Chinese society.

At a minimum, the USA, Japan, Australia, etc. would help Taiwan in an indirect way, as NATO does today in Ukraine – interruption and protection of communications, selection of Chinese targets to attack, etc. US imperialism would organize a broad movement of sanctions and boycotts, by its eastern and western allies, hitting the dynamism of the Chinese economy, which has been falling lately, due to the pandemic and the difficulties of international trade. China is currently experiencing unemployment, especially among youth – 20%; drop in consumption; wage stagnation, etc. The US would above all seek to interrupt the production chain between China and the international economy. [OPOVO, 2021; LI-SHIH]

In the worst case scenario, faced with conditions deemed positive, including the decisive support of regional and European allies, the United States would promote the blockade of Chinese commercial naval lines in the Indo-Pacific, which would lead to a direct confrontation of the navy. China and the imperialist bloc. In truth, perhaps this is the extreme option considered by US imperialism, for which it does not yet have the necessary conditions: NATO's involvement in the region; strong support from Japan and Australia in particular. South Korea is prevented from participating in such an operation by the North's “brother”, with small but sharp atomic teeth. China has proposed the celebration of the 2049th anniversary of the country's liberation in XNUMX as a deadline for recovering its suzerainty over Taiwan. In other words, its priority option is to freeze the status quo of its relations with the rebel province, which the US will never allow. [PETRONI, 2021.]

Possibly, even in an extreme situation, such as Taiwan's declaration of independence, China will not undertake a direct assault on the island. It is believed that he would opt for an air and, above all, a naval blockade, preventing the supply of weapons and strategic products to Taiwan. It would make clear its suzerainty over the “strayed province” and the Taiwanese government, the onus of an eventual start of military confrontation, which could, in this situation, be modulated. That is, air or naval confrontation followed by truce and negotiations. The siege of Taiwan in August of this year would have been a dress rehearsal for this alternative.

Paradoxically, for the US, this is also not the best time for a confrontation in the Taiwan Strait, as proposed. They still haven't gathered secure associates for such a massive operation, even more so now, with the defeat of the conservatives in Australia; finds itself deeply involved in the indirect attack on Russia, while already weakening the support of its allies; Weapons that should be sent to the Pacific end up in Ukraine, delaying military preparation for operations against the main enemy. These reasons would explain the virtually absence of any response to the Chinese blockade of Taiwan after Nancy Pelosi's visit. (THE PEOPLE, 2021.)

Despite China's moderation, the dominant trend in US imperialism is the increasing exacerbation of harassment of China and Russia. In Ukraine, with the materialization of the possibility of an upcoming Russian victory, the US radicalizes the level of confrontation: providing information; deliver long-range weaponry; guide the attacks; encourage bombing of civilian targets on Russian territory; support terrorist acts. Attempts to involve Russia in a similar spiral of retaliation in order to create the conditions for NATO intervention, each time more problematic.

Despite the provocations, Russia moderated its military actions, concerned about desperate acts by the US, such as the bombing of the Zaporizhzhian nuclear complex, in case the Ukrainian defense collapsed. The defeat in Ukraine, after the one suffered in Syria and, above all, the disastrous withdrawal in Afghanistan, would be signs of structural weakness of the USA, with hard reflections on its world hegemony in crisis. They are therefore unacceptable. In Ukraine, as in Taiwan, the possibility of radicalization of US imperialism is a growing trend. In Taiwan, too, there was the sound of drums and the smell of gunpowder, ever closer and threatening.

* Mario Maestri is a historian. Author, among other books, of Awakening the Dragon: The Birth and Consolidation of Chinese Imperialism (1949-2021) (FCM Editora).

 

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