¿se puede evitar una Gran Guerra Mundial por Taiwan?

Further reading: Here’s my analysis on China’s border security concerns. My colleagues Saim Saeed and Christian Oliver explain how Pakistan and Iran are approaching their neighbor.

TAIWAN LOOKS ON 

CAN WASHINGTON BE TRUSTED? Taiwanese read the news about Afghanistan this week with a degree of discomfort. Many are questioning America’s commitment — even though the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan was part of a broader strategic focus on the China Question.

Rethinking U.S. commitment: “The global leadership of ‘America is Back’ is being questioned. In the eyes of the people of Taiwan, who have been drawn into the ‘alliance of values,’ wouldn’t it be deeply chilling to see this attitude of ‘dumping after use’?” an editorial of Taiwanese newspaper United Daily News read. (The publication is considered pro-Beijing.)

Same argument from Beijing: China didn’t waste any time before it started using the Afghan situation to send a warning to Taiwan. “The secessionist forces should reserve the ability to wake up from their dreams. From what happened in Afghanistan, they should perceive that once a war breaks out in the [Taiwan] Straits, the island’s defense will collapse in hours,” an editorial in the state-run Global Times said.

Others disagree: “US/NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan says nothing about US commitment to allies or Taiwan,” tweeted Bonnie Glaser, Asia director of the German Marshall Fund of the U.S., a think tank, and an expert on American thinking about Taiwan. Alessio Patalano, professor of war studies at King’s College London, called it “absolute madness” for Taliban and Taiwan to be compared side by side.

President Tsai stands in between: Taiwan’s Tsai Ing-wen, who is dependent on U.S. support as she takes a tough position on Beijing, weighed in and said the self-ruling island would also need to beef up self-defense and cannot only count on others’ protection. “The only option for Taiwan is to make itself stronger, more united, more resolute to defend itself,” she said.

WORDS OF COMFORT FROM WHITE HOUSE: “We believe that our commitments to our allies and partners are sacrosanct and always have been. We believe our commitment to Taiwan and to Israel remains as strong as it’s ever been,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said in a White House briefing while defending U.S. moves in Afghanistan. “When it comes to Taiwan, it is a fundamentally different question in a different context.”

‘High-water mark’: The new de facto American ambassador in Taiwan had a first meeting with Tsai last week. “The U.S.-Taiwan relationship is at a high-water mark, and I really do hope to be able to work directly with you, madam,” Sandra Oudkirk, director of the American Institute in Taiwan, said in a statement.

19-VIII-21, politico.eu

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