The US approach to dominate Taiwan | By Waheed-ur-Rehman


The US approach to dominate Taiwan

THE US accepts ‘One China’ policy, and it does accept Taiwan as part of China. But the US support for Taiwan, despite the island being officially accepted as the legitimate part of China, has been a cause of concern for China.

President Joe Biden in his visit to Japan in May 2022, stated that the US will adopt an assertive posture in case China intends to take Taiwan by force.

After confirming his intention to involve militarily in Taiwan conflict he added, “We agree with the One China policy.

We signed on to it, and all the attendant agreements made from there, but the idea that it can be taken by force, just taken by force, is (just not) appropriate.

” In response, China’s Defence Minister Gen. Wei Fenghe warned that China will not allow the independence of Taiwan.

Now, the world is once again witnessing the role of the US as an escalation dominator as was observed in the Cold War era against the former Soviet Union.

The concept of ‘escalation dominance’ is to escalate a conflict to an extent that it becomes disadvantageous for the adversary to hold a position in a conflict situation.

Robert S.Ross a Professor of Political Science at Boston College, US, describes that the US is and will continue to act as an escalation dominator.

He further argues that deterrence seeks to maintain the status quo of peace between states.

When a state feels threatened it exercises the option of escalation dominance to deter its adversary.

According to the White House Indo-Pacific action plan and under the Indo-Pacific strategy of the US (free and open Indo-Pacific), February 2022, the US wants to support Pacific Island countries.

This strategy is aimed at improving maritime security, capacity and resilience against the perils to the US multilateral strategic grouping in Indo-Pacific Seas.

To achieve the desired goal the US indulged in a 12-24 month action plan to implement this strategy.

It also seeks to expand meaningful diplomatic and military presence in Southeast Asia. Furthermore, it wants to increase the US Coast Guard presence and cooperation along with Pacific Islands in the region.

The geo-strategic position of Taiwan is equally important to the US and China with regards to the Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) in the region.

Due to its location and history, it has dual relevance as a ‘protected shield’ for China as well as a ‘strategic gateway’ to Southeast Asia.

This reason makes China involve in maritime operations and activities. However, the US has reservations about Chinese maritime claims and activities over the chain of islands.

As a result, the US is looking for alliances and partnerships in the region. According to the White House, US-Japan Joint Leaders’ Statement on April 2021, allies and partners such as QUAD are getting stronger.

It will help to pursue Washington’s policy of containment and to get a free and open access, while curbing the influence of China in the region.

Taiwan with its important geo-strategic location as mentioned earlier has a vital role to play in the US policies.

While the US-China conflict also demonstrates the apprehensions of Washington regarding credibility of its deterrence in Southeast Asia.

To address these apprehensions, the US is increasing military bases and personnel in the region.

To impede China from making a move towards Taiwan, the number of US military personnel stationed in Taiwan have been increased according to some reports.

Already there are two US aircraft carriers the Carl Vinson CSG and Abraham Lincoln CSG present in the region for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR).

Military exercises are instrument of deterrence. Recently, the US conducted its “freedom of navigation operation” using the US Navy warship, the guided-missile destroyer USS Benfold that sailed through the Taiwan Strait thrice in a week.

Moreover, the US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan on August 02, 2022. This is the first trip after 25 years by such an official to Taiwan.

To sum up, the US containment policy is narrowing the path of Chinese policy with its approach of escalation dominance.

There will be a great threat to global peace if the crisis intensifies, the US keeps intervening in Taiwan.

In the cold war era, the US came out as a victor, and it seems with its recent approach to China that the US is applying the same concept to Taiwan.

The arms race, military modernization, military bases and conventional and nuclear built-up are notably increasing in the region.

On the contrary, China is playing quite smartly, while having some lessons learnt from the USSR’s failed strategies.

It may try to resolve the conflicts peacefully, politically, economically and diplomatically. Subsequently, these measures including other common interest should be used by both the US and China for conflict resolution to keep the peace as a viable option for mankind.

—The writer is a political analyst having completed his MPhil from Quaid-i-Azam University in Defence and Strategic Studies.


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