This morning’s Washington Post (31 January 2010) raised flags of concern over a change in China’s tone described as “triumphalist“ and “tough” in its response to US arms sales to Taiwan.
It would be almost amusing if not for the potentially serious nature of this conflict.
The US State Department justifies the sales saying “Such sales contribute to maintaining security and stability across the Taiwan Strait,”.
Oh, come now let us be frank. The arms are to support continuing America influence in the Pacific theatre and ensure Taiwan could eventually used as a base of operations in event of open conflict with China.
The US cannot seem to accept that the Pacific Ocean is no longer an off-shore American lake over which it has dominion. With the rise of China to its former glory after two centuries of exploitation by the West, China is resuming its role as one of the great nations of the world and the dominant force in the region.
Taiwan will, in the not distant future, revert to its former status as a province of China, otherwise it will find itself isolated economically, militarily and politically. Economically, because China is its major trading partner, militarily because Taiwan cannot stand up to China’s might and with America’s financial woes and multiple wars cannot expect to be propped up by the US. Politically, Taiwan is also being marginalised by the change in political climate in Japan where the new government led by Hatoyama is moving Japan out from under the wing of the US and toward closer relations with China. Again, as with Taiwan, China has replaced the US as Japan’s biggest trading partner. In fact, China’s dramatic recovery from the recent global economic downturn has served to rescue Japan from recession.
From the assumption of power by the communists in China in 1949 until recently, Taiwan could rely for support on both Japan and the US, but no longer. As Japan logically moves out of the US orbit, so will Taiwan be forced back into China’s fold, whether the US likes it or not.
The reaction and hand wringing concern expressed by Europe, as well as the US, is symptomatic of their inability and unwillingness to relinquish the colonial hold they held over China for two hundred years. The centre of gravity of global power is moving inexorably to the East and the sooner the European/Transatlantic alliance accepts and accommodates themselves to this the better for them and the world.